Sancho Lyttle signs with Phoenix Mercury

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 3: Sancho Lyttle
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 3: Sancho Lyttle /

The Phoenix Mercury addressed a key need right away on day one of WNBA free agency, inking unrestricted free agent Sancho Lyttle to a deal.

Mercury general manager Jim Pitman said Lyttle “was our top free-agent target outside our own roster,” in Thursday’s release.

Lyttle, 34, spent her last nine seasons with the Atlanta Dream. She spent her first four pro seasons as a member of the Houston Comets. The Comets selected Lyttle with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft.

Lyttle was an All-Star in 2009 and a key contributor to three runs to the WNBA Finals in four years for the Dream. Lyttle is a six-time WNBA All-Defense selection. Lyttle will be especially valuable on that end to the Mercury, one of the hopeful challengers to the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks.

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“I was fortunate to coach Sancho in Russia for several years and she is a true pro,” said Mercury Head Coach Sandy Brondello. “I’ve seen her play with Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner and I know how well she will fit in with our team and how much better she will make us.”

Lyttle would likely match up with the likes of Candace Parker of the Sparks, Elena Delle Donne of the Mystics or Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm in a potential playoff matchup. The Mercury had no answer for Parker in the 2017 WNBA semifinals, where they were swept by the Sparks in the best-of-five series.

It now appears unlikely that we will see an immediate on court reunion of Candice Dupree and DeWanna Bonner in Phoenix. The married couple just celebrated the birth of twins, and both were members of the Mercury in 2016. Dupree was an All-Star in 2017 for the Indiana Fever and has been cored by the Fever.

Bonner has been cored by the Mercury, and is set to return after missing the 2017 season. Perhaps an update on Bonner’s situation will be the next bit of news to come out of Phoenix.