The good news keeps rolling in for the Phoenix Mercury off the court. Once the season ended -- the worst in franchise history -- recognition for the individual players came out. After the long grueling season rookie Samantha Prahalis finished second in the WNBA Rookie of the Year voting behind winner, Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks.
Coming into the year it was clear that the Mercury drafted another personality as she chose to wear No. 99 for the simple reason that nobody else wore it. She wanted to be different and over the course of the season proved to be different in the best possible ways.
This was a foregone conclusion for those who watched Sammy P all season. Outside of an injury that derailed her for six games, Prahalis was a dynamic force in the Mercury line-up. No question Ogwumike was the better overall player, but Sammy was not far behind.
The All-Rookie team consisted of Prahalis, Ogwumike, Glory Johnson (Shock), Tiffany Haynes (Dream), and Riquna Williams (Shock).
As a rookie she was able to not only start, but also gain invaluable experience in the tougher, stronger WNBA. For the season Prahalis finished averaging 4.50 APG (7th in the WNBA) and 11.6 PPG. The way she started and ended the season though were a clear indication of how good the flashy point guard can be with all the weapons around her. In the first seven games she averaged 9.7 PPG and 6.1 APG, then in the final five games she stepped up again averaging 9.8 PPG and 5.0 APG.
For a small period of the season the debate could be made that Prahalis, no matter the teams difference in wins and losses, was the better rookie. As the season progressed and the Mercury regressed it was clear she was going to have to settle for a consolation prize.
For the Mercury this was the highest finish since DeWanna Bonner took sole possession of second place in 2009. Looking into the future with young guns in Bonner and Prahalis, veterans in Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor, and Candice Dupree welcoming the top pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft it only gets better.