Phoenix Mercury playoff game scheduled for GCU
By Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
With Talking Stick Resort Arena unavailable, the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA needed a place to play what could be a critical playoff game Tuesday, Oct. 4. The team color is purple — the trademark hue of Grand Canyon University.
The result was serendipity: If Game 4 of the best-of-five semifinal series against the Minnesota Lynx is necessary, it will be at GCU Arena.
“Everything is already purple,” said Bryce Marsee, the Mercury’s basketball communications manager. “It’s the perfect location.”
The team’s downtown Phoenix arena is booked that night with a concert featuring Australian singer Sia. Mercury officials visited the GCU campus Monday for a walkthrough and to work out the details.
“Everyone here is extremely happy to have the game at GCU if we have a Game 4,” Marsee said. “It would be very cool. It would be very loud.”
Ticketing and seating availability still is being determined, as is the gametime. GCU Arena can seat 7,200, and the average announced attendance of the Mercury’s home games this season was 10,351.
But GCU basketball games are known for their noise, and the Mercury is eager to tap in to that. It has invited GCU’s Thundering Heard Pep Band to perform, Marsee said. The game would be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.
The only way it won’t be played at GCU is if one team sweeps the first three games. Games 1 and 2 are at Minnesota on Wednesday and Friday, and Game 3 is at 5 p.m. Sunday at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The Lynx are the defending WNBA champions and the No. 1 seed; the Mercury, which has six Olympians and features two of the biggest names in women’s basketball in guard Diana Taurasi and 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner, has won three WNBA titles and is seeded eighth this time. This will be the fourth straight year these two teams have met in the semifinals. The Mercury advanced to this round by winning at Indiana and then at New York in single-elimination games.
“It’s a great rivalry and going to be a great series,” Marsee said.
The Mercury won the title in 2007, 2009 and 2014, and the Lynx won in 2011, 2013 and 2015. The series winner plays Los Angeles or Chicago for the WNBA championship.
Information is not yet available on how many GCU fans and spirit groups will be able to attend the game. But Marsee said it would be fun if Thunder joined the Mercury mascot, the giant, purple Scorch.
Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.