When the WNBA season began, the Phoenix Mercury apparently forgot they had a first-round draft pick, USF’s Courtney Williams. In the Mercury’s first 14 games, Williams only got to play in six of them. And none of those appearances were of any real significance. She played a total of 24 minutes (never more than nine in a game), and scored a grand total of three points.
Personally I gave up on Phoenix having any interest in what they had drafted when they played a triple overtime game against the Dallas Wings on June 19. The Mercury had four players foul out and the game lasted 55 minutes, but still only saw fit to give Williams four minutes. She was wasting away on the bench for a surprisingly bad team.
Things turned around when the Mercury, tired of getting pounded on the interior, made a trade for WNBA all-star Kelsey Bone. The deal sent Williams to the Connecticut Sun, who now have four of this year’s top eight draft picks on their roster. Things turned around almost immediately for Courtney. After a week getting up to speed, Williams started getting a regular shift in the Sun’s rotation and doing what she does best - score points.
The highlight of her season has been an overtime game against the Minnesota Lynx on July 7. Williams played 24 minutes and was on the floor during crunch time and the overtime period. She scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, grabbed five rebounds, and helped the Sun win 93-89. Courtney and the other three Connecticut rookies are all getting about the same amount of playing time, and her season averages are up to 5.9 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
The trade that sent Courtney Williams to Connecticut has been good for everyone. The Mercury fixed their defense and started climbing the WNBA standings, and Williams finally got to start her pro career. With the Sun not in the playoff hunt, there’s even more incentive for them to play their crop of rookies and see what they can do.