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Aussie star Taylor set for WNBA swansong

  • Aussie star Taylor set for WNBA swansong

    Australian basketballer Penny Taylor has re-signed with WNBA side the Phoenix Mercury.

Australian basketball star Penny Taylor looks set to end her illustrious WNBA career at the Phoenix Mercury after signing a new deal for 2016.

Taylor took last year off but on Tuesday announced she will return for a 10th season with the franchise - coached by Australian Sandy Brondello.

While no details of the deal were released, it'll likely be the 34-year-old's last in the American women's league.

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The Opals forward - drafted in 2001 - has won three championships with the Mercury since joining them in 2004, and ranks No.2 on their all-time list of career points, assists, steals and games played.

General manager Jim Pitman labelled Taylor - also a three-time WNBA All-Star - the "soul" of the club.

"Not only is she one of the greatest players in the history of the women's game, she is a great teammate, a leader, a calming force on the floor and in the locker room," said Pitman.

"She has overcome injuries and setbacks, and she relentlessly persevered as the ultimate professional to get back on the court and help lead us to the title in 2014."

The deal comes on the back of a successful stint in China, where she averaged 23.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists for the Shanxi Flame.

With the 2016 WNBA season starting in May, Taylor - as well as LA Sparks star Erin Phillips - will miss some of the Opals' Rio Olympic build-up including tours of Japan and Europe.

But both have committed to attending two camps in Australia in March and April.

National coach Brendan Joyce said Taylor and Phillips, both Olympic silver medallists, were experienced campaigners and he was not worried about a potentially limited preparation.

"I'm comfortable with those veterans playing in the WNBA," Joyce told AAP.

"They know how to manage their bodies, and I've had communication with both coaches to assist with managing them through the season so that they can get to the Olympics injury-free."

Taylor joins fellow 2014 titlewinner Diana Taurasi at the Mercury for 2016, as they chase a league-record tying fourth WNBA crown.

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