Mercury replace assistant coach Penny Taylor with Chasity Melvin

The Phoenix Mercury made one final coaching change before the team enters the WNBA bubble, replacing assistant coach Penny Taylor with Chasity Melvin.

Taylor — who married Diana Taurasi in 2017 — is stepping away to focus on being a full-time mother, the team announced. Taurasi arrived at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, on Monday as the Mercury began training camp for the revised 22-game WNBA season.

Mercury GM Jim Pitman said in a statement, “Part of being a family and working toward equality in this space is supporting working moms. We fully understand and support Penny’s decision to focus on her role as a mother. Whether through our game-day nanny services in Phoenix, the new WNBA CBA’s commitment to family planning and childcare, or our work in the community, we will continue to be an ally to moms in our league and in the Valley.”

Taylor played for the Mercury from 2004 to 2016. Taurasi was drafted by the team in 2004 and spent her entire career in Phoenix.

Melvin played seven years in the WNBA with Cleveland, Washington and Chicago, averaging 9.7 points and 5.4 rebounds. After retiring, Melvin, 44, spent time as a coach for the Charlotte Hornets’ G League affiliate and most recently for Loyola University’s women’s basketball program.

“Creating opportunities for former players to grow in our game is central to our mission, and an important part of that is ensuring that we are replacing a former WNBA player on our coaching staff with another former player,” Pitman said of Melvin. “Chasity knows what it takes to compete at the highest levels, thanks to her time in the WNBA, and already has experience coaching both the women’s and men’s games. We are excited to welcome her to the Valley and the Mercury family.”

On Monday, the WNBA announced that seven players had tested positive for the coronavirus over the past week, out of a total of 137 players in a seven-day period that concluded on July 5.

Games are scheduled to begin on July 24 without fans in attendance.

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