Aussie center played for Mercury in 2015, missed 2016 season to train with Australian National Team
PHOENIX – The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury today announced the signing of Australian center Cayla George (formerly Cayla Francis). George, whose WNBA debut came with Phoenix in 2015, did not play in 2016 in order to train for and compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics with the Australian National Team.
“Cayla was an important part of our 20-win team in 2015 and we are excited to have her back in Phoenix,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. “She’s a 6-foot-4 center with three-point range who spreads the floor on offense and can rebound and protect the paint on defense. She’s an Olympian, a very positive presence in the locker room, and we look forward to her playing a big role for us this season.”
The 6-foot-4 George is a versatile frontcourt player whose range makes her one of the best-shooting post players in the women’s game and earned her a spot in the 2016 Summer Olympics with her native Australia. As a WNBA rookie in 2015, George appeared in all 34 games for the Mercury, averaging 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in a reserve role. She ranked sixth among WNBA rookies in field goal percentage (.467) and eighth in rebounds. The Aussie turned in what was her best all-around performance on September 13 at Tulsa with her first career double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
George currently plays overseas in Hungary for Uniqa Sopron, where she ranks third on the team in scoring (11.8 ppg) and second in rebounding (6.5 rpg) through eight games in EuroLeague play. The Aussie has posted four double-digit scoring efforts in EuroLeague action this season, including a 17-point, nine-rebound outing on December 15 against EuroLeague power UMMC Ekaterinburg.
The 27-year-old began her professional career in 2007 in Australia’s WNBL. In her most recent season Down Under, she ranked fourth in the league in scoring (17.4 ppg) and third in the league in rebounding (10.4 rpg) while playing with the Townsville Fire. Her impressive play in the WNBL helped land her a spot on the Australian national team alongside Mercury great Penny Taylor in Rio. George was also a member of the 2014 Team Australia squad that earned the bronze medal at the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.
Get a front-row seat for history this summer! Diana Taurasi will open the 2017 regular season just 178 points shy of becoming the all-time leading scorer in WNBA history, as she attempts to lead the Mercury to a WNBA-record tying fourth championship. Tickets for the Fry’s Food Stores Home Opener on Sunday, May 14, and the other 16 regular-season Mercury home games can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting PhoenixMercury.com.