By Scott Mammoser
In search of a power forward to replace the injured Sancho Lyttle, the Phoenix Mercury signed Devereaux Peters with the hopes to salvage a season that once saw the team in first place.
The Mercury won eight-consecutive games to begin June and 12 over a 14-game stretch, but beginning on July 8, Phoenix lost seven of eight, with the sole win coming over last-place Indiana. Peters, who the Minnesota Lynx selected third overall in 2012 from Notre Dame- and a two-time WNBA champion- was at home in Chicago when the Mercury called.
“I was just excited to be picked up,” Peters said. “Everyone has been awesome. This is what I love to do and where I want to be, so I’m just happy to have another opportunity to play. The league is crazy right now, there is a lot going on, a lot of the teams, from top to bottom, are playing well. Anybody could be tired any given night, and that adds to the drama of the season. Hopefully, this team can make a deep run in the playoffs.”
The 6-foot-2 Peters last appeared in the WNBA in 2016 with the Indiana Fever. Since then, she has battled injuries, in addition to playing professionally in Europe.
“It’s always hard to come in halfway through a season, you have to learn all those new plays and players,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. “She’s someone we need as a backup in that four spot. She’s played in the league before and won a championship. There’s not a lot of depth out there, so I thought it was important to bring in a veteran because they pick up things a little quicker than a rookie. She has experience, so I thought why not give her a look and see how we do.”
Peters said she has created controversy over the years on social media, sparking conversations of average-Joe men who think they could beat female WNBA players one on one.
“I don’t know what it is about us, why we are so disrespected,” Peters said. “It’s not even people who are good at basketball; it’s people who are trash.”
Peters continued that the likes of LeBron James would never challenge her with chauvinistic attitudes. Meanwhile, 6-foot-9 center Brittney Griner overheard the interview and chimed in.
“Nobody is going up to Serena, saying they are going to beat her in tennis,” Griner added. “It’s only women’s basketball, I don’t know what it is?”
Peters, who lost to Griner’s Baylor team in the 2012 NCAA title game, also commented on the new video game feature that allows fans to create women’s players.
“I think representation is awesome, it’s so good for little girls to be able to see,” Peters said. “For it to get to that point (where women dunk every game), little girls need to see it’s possible. This kind of stuff is extremely important, and I think it’s awesome they are taking that next step to include us in the video game. It’s 2018, and we should have been here already.”