Work hard. Get your new coach on your side. Get some support from the greatest player in the sport's history. And have some fun on the way.
That was the recipe former Arizona Wildcat Sam Thomas used to try to get a spot on the final roster of the Phoenix Mercury. With every day and every cut that does not include her, it appears that she has made it.
Thomas went undrafted in the April draft, but she signed a training camp contract with the Mercury just afterward. While the team did not issue a press release naming its final roster, the online roster was cut to 12 active players and Brittney Griner on May 3. One of the 12 active players is Thomas.
Although the roster limit in the WNBA is 12, in the past the Mercury have carried 11 or fewer players for salary cap reasons. Going into this season, that does not appear to be an issue due to the unsettled nature of Griner’s arrest in Russia. The WNBA granted the team an exception for Griner. Her contract will be honored but she does not count against the player limit.
As of now, Thomas is still in the mix to become one of two Arizona players to suit up with a WNBA team this season, joining former teammate Aari McDonald.
The former Arizona standout made a strong impression on her new head coach, Vanessa Nygaard. Thomas was the first player Nygaard mentioned after the team’s initial preseason game. She also seems to have made a good impression on the team’s leader, Diana Taurasi.
The Mercury are not expected to issue a press release naming the final roster until May 5. If Thomas is still on the roster when that happens, she will join the team on May 6 as they host the Las Vegas Aces at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. The game starts at 7 p.m. MST and will air on NBA TV.