AP source: Mercury hiring Nygaard as next head coach

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PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Mercury have hired former Las Vegas Aces assistant Vanessa Nygaard as their next head coach, a person familiar with the hire told The Associated Press on Friday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the hire won't be officially announced until Monday.

Nygaard replaces Sandy Brondello, who didn't have her contract renewed last month after eight seasons and taking the Mercury to the 2021 WNBA Finals.

A native of Scottsdale, Arizona, Nygaard was an assistant coach with the Las Vegas Aces in 2021. She's also been an assistant coach for USA Basketball and the WNBA's San Antonio Stars and Washington Mystics.

Nygaard went to the Final Four three times from 1995 to 1997 as a player with Stanford and played five WNBA seasons with multiple teams. She started her coaching career as an assistant at Long Beach State and Pepperdine, and also led Windward High School to three California state titles.

Nygaard takes over a team loaded with talent, including Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, that lost to the Chicago Sky in the 2021 WNBA Finals.


AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg in New York contributed to this story.


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