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ASU’s Sophie Brunner among 12 to make the Phoenix Mercury roster

Arizona State forward Sophie Brunner (21) drives to the hoop against Michigan State during a first-round game in the women's NCAA college basketball tournament Friday, March 17, 2017, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

It was always going to be a special week for Arizona State women’s basketball star Sophie Brunner. After four years of hard work in the classroom, she was going to hear her name called as she received her undergraduate degree.

Now her week just got a little bit sweeter.

The Phoenix Mercury announced Friday afternoon that Brunner was one of the 12 players who made their Opening Night roster.

Brunner went undrafted in April but signed a training camp contract with Phoenix, joining 15 other women already with the team. In reality, there were only a handful of spots to play for, as esteemed veterans like Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner were guarantees.

The 6-foot 1-inch forward impressed in Phoenix’s first preseason game on May 3, recording nine points on 3-of-6 shooting with five rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes at the Seattle Storm. She followed it up on Sunday by getting two points and four rebounds in 13 minutes against the same team, in the Mercury’s final preseason game.

Also on the Mercury roster are Emma Cannon, Cayla George, Camille Little, Leilani Mitchell, Shay Murphy, Alexis Prince, Danielle Robinson, Stephanie Talbot, Yvonne Turner, Griner and Taurasi, who is just 178 points away from becoming the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer.

Brunner will likely come off the bench to begin her rookie season, doing so in the same area where she made her mark at the collegiate level.

She is the second player in ASU women’s basketball history named to an All-Pac-12 team three times in a career, joining Emily Westerberg, as Brunner finished her four years averaging 11.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. She led the Sun Devils to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, leaving the program third on the all-time list in scoring with 1,405 points and second in rebounds with 921 of them.

The Mercury start their 21st season on Sunday at Talking Stick Resort Arena, with tip off slated for 3 p.m. against the Dallas Wings.


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