Phoenix Mercury's Sandy Brondello named WNBA Coach of the Year

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

After leading the Phoenix Mercury to a WNBA-record 29 wins this season, first-year head coach Sandy Brondello today was named the 2014 WNBA Coach of the Year, the league announced. She becomes the first Coach of the Year award-winner in the franchise's 18-year history.

"Sandy was the best offseason addition made by any WNBA team in 2014," said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman.  "While we could never have predicted winning a WNBA-record 29 games, we knew the kind of thorough, detail-oriented preparation Sandy would bring to our team, and much of our success has been a result of her hard work and valuable leadership."

In addition to setting the league record for regular-season wins, Brondello led her team to the second-longest win streak in WNBA history, a 16-game stretch from June 15 – July 29. The Mercury also established franchise records for the highest winning percentage in a season (29-5, .853), best home record (16-1), longest home winning streak (15 games, active), best road record (13-4), and longest road winning streak (7 games, June 15 – July 24).

In her first year with the Mercury, Brondello's leadership helped the Mercury to a 10-win improvement over the 2013 season—the largest in the WNBA this season. Brondello became the first coach to win WNBA Coach of the Year honors in the first year of a head coaching tenure since Michael Cooper won the award with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2000.

Brondello was named the ninth head coach in Mercury history on November 15, 2013. This is her second WNBA head coaching position after serving in the same capacity with the 2010 San Antonio Silver Stars. In her 10 years in the WNBA coaching ranks (head coach and assistant coach), her teams have made seven playoff appearances.

Including 2014, Brondello has been involved in the WNBA for 15 of the league's 18 seasons either as a player, head coach or assistant coach. The Australian native played professionally for 17 years, including five years in the WNBA with Detroit (1998-99), Miami (2001-02) and Seattle (2003). She also is a four-time Olympian with Australia who won two Olympic silver medals (2000 and 2004).

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