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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona WBB’s Sam Thomas signs training camp contract with the Phoenix Mercury

Nathanial Stenchever

Sam Thomas a guard on the Arizona women’s basketball team sends kisses into the crowd after her final wildcat game on March 21 in McKale Center. This unfortunately would be the game that would drop the wildcats out of the women’s bracket as they would loose 63-45.

Former Arizona women’s basketball star Sam Thomas has signed a traning camp contract with the Phoenix Mercury after the WNBA draft concluded on Monday night. 

Thomas declared for the draft after 5 years with Arizona women’s basketball. During that time, she helped build the program and was crucial in reaching the 2021 National Championship game and the NCAA Tournament this year.

With limited spots in the WNBA draft, 88 spots with 108 players eligible to be drafted, many players go undrafted but Thomas was quickly able to get her chance to continue her basketball career. 

“We felt that Phoenix was the best for her. You know, Diana Taurasi really liked her and Vanessa Nygaard is the new coach, I’ve known her since we were 15. And she really liked it, liked what [Thomas] does, and they need a shooter. So we thought it’s perfect down the road. If she makes it to exhibition, then you’ll have still have a lot of Tucson fans,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said. 

Thomas quote tweeted the Arizona women’s basketball team’s announcement on Twitter, saying “Couldn’t leave AZ, super excited for this opportunity.” 

Thomas has worked hard her entire career and will have to continue to do that to make the Mercury’s final roster that made the finals last season and runs deep with many veterans such as Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Tina Charles and others. 

“[Thomas is] really happy with it. So regardless of what happens, it only benefits her. It’s a great experience … she wants to go overseas anyway, so she makes it to the WNBA, it’s a great, plus she’s living out her dream. If not, she can go overseas, she can always try to go back to the WNBA. But either way, it’s a win win and I think it’s a tremendous experience,” Barnes said. 

Thomas finished her career as the active leader in career steals in the Pac-12 as well as starting in all 154 games she played in. She can showcase her abilities on defense and very high basketball IQ as well as her ability to shoot the basketball, which she shot 37.2% from deep in her career. 

She is also Arizona’s leader in games, starts and minutes. Thomas ended her career at the University of Arizona with 1,382 points, 630 rebounds, 266 assists, 198 blocks and 264 steals. 

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