Mercury sign Ashley Joens to hardship contract with Griner, Peddy out vs. Liberty

Aug 18, 2023, 6:15 PM | Updated: 6:38 pm

Ashley Joens...

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and Ashley Joens pose for photos after Joens was drafted 19th overall by the Dallas Wings during the 2023 WNBA Draft at Spring Studios on April 10, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Mercury signed former Iowa State standout Ashley Joens to a hardship contract ahead of Friday’s home game against the New York Liberty, the team announced.

The Mercury will be down bigs Brittney Griner and Megan Gustafson, who are in the WNBA’s health and safety protocol. Guard Shey Peddy, meanwhile, remains in concussion protocol after getting stretchered off the court on Aug. 5.

Phoenix also added forward Liz Dixon to a hardship contract on Thursday to fill in the roster.

Joens was a second-round pick during the 2023 draft by the Dallas Wings but only played 14 minutes across nine games. She was let go and picked up by the Las Vegas Aces for two games earlier this month.

The guard was the Big 12 Player of the Year in 2022-23 for the Cyclones and an AP Third Team All-American after scoring 21.6 points per game with 9.7 rebounds. She finished her tenure as Iowa State’s all-time leading scorer, and the program made four NCAA Tournament appearances in her five seasons.

A hardship contract allows WNBA organizations to find short-term fill-ins when their roster falls below 10 active players due to injury or illness.

“Our message to our players is just next woman up, this is an opportunity for someone to step up and show what they have,” interim head coach Nikki Blue said pregame. “I’m very confident in everyone on our team … Now, we just have to go out there and execute.”

The Mercury face the Liberty at 7 p.m. Friday night at Footprint Center and then host the Indiana Fever Sunday at 3 p.m.

Phoenix has won three of its last five games entering the weekend slate.

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