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Penny Taylor steps away from Phoenix assistant coach job

By DOUG FEINBERG

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) Phoenix Mercury assistant coach Penny Taylor is stepping away to focus on being a full-time mother, the team announced Monday.

Taylor, who married Mercury star Diana Taurasi in 2017, played 10 seasons for the Mercury from 2004-16 before retiring. She and Taurasi have a 2-year old son, Leo.

The Mercury replaced Taylor with former WNBA player Chasity Melvin. Melvin spent time as a coach for the Charlotte Hornets' G-League affiliate and most recently was an assistant for the Loyola University women's basketball team.

"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," Mercury general manager Jim Pitman said. "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 was a longtime national team player for her native Australia. After retiring in 2016, Taylor was the team's director of player development and performance for a season. She gave birth to Leo in 2018 and then was an assistant last year.

Melvin played 12 seasons in the WNBA before retiring in 2010. She was an All-Star in 2001 while playing for the Cleveland Rockers. She was a teammate of Taylor's with the Rockers from 2001-03.

"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."

The Mercury were one of 11 WNBA teams that traveled to IMG Academy in Florida on Monday to prepare for the league's shortened season. The Indiana Fever had two of the seven WNBA players to test positive for the coronavirus and will travel later this week.

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Updated July 6, 2020

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