Austin’s hip issues began June 25, when she was carried off the court in New York with what was then announced as a hip strain. Austin missed nearly two months, returned for a short spell in late August and then was out for the remainder of the season.
grows, do does tension between players and the media
General Manager Mike Thibault said Wednesday’s procedure was a success and the team is optimistic she will make a
full return. He declined to say when the team knew the strain became a tear.
“We’ve known the general gist of the injury from the start,” Thibault said, “but in talking to the hip
specialists at the time, there was no reason to act rashly about it. We just took a timely, conservative approach. We
eventually just shut her down completely, and then the doctors wanted to wait and see how she did after the
The 6-foot-5 Austin, a former All-Met at Riverdale Baptist, averaged 10.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in
2023 — all career highs.
“I’m just trying to figure what’s best for me moving forward and continue to make the right decisions for my
career,” Austin said after the season ended. “I was on a pretty good run, if I must say. I was feeling really good,
confident in myself, and I was figuring stuff out. So for me, I still have a lot to prove.”
The Phoenix Mercury announced that Kristi Toliver, whose 14-year WNBA playing career includes four seasons with
the Mystics (over two tours), will become an associate head coach.
Toliver, 36, tore her ACL while playing with the Mystics in September and was likely to miss the upcoming
season while recovering. Though she has not announced her retirement, WNBA rules preclude players from also serving on
coaching staffs. A person with knowledge of Toliver’s thinking said she intends to retire.
Toliver, who was part of Maryland’s 2006 national championship team, also won two WNBA titles — one with Los
Angeles in 2016 and one with the Mystics in 2019.
She ranks seventh on the all-time WNBA list for career three-point field goals with 651 and 19th in career
assists with 1,300.
The Mercury named former NBA and G League assistant Nate Tibbetts head coach in October. Toliver has also
served two stints working as an NBA assistant — with the Wizards from 2018 to 2020 and the Mavericks from 2021 to
“I’m thrilled for her,” Thibault said. “This is a chance to go to a situation where I think she’ll be leaned upon
for her knowledge of the league. The fact that she has coached at the NBA level for two different teams and played
for three different teams in the WNBA kind of gives her a broad perspective on how things can work, what should
“I think that she’ll be a great resource for Nate acclimating himself to the W because she’s experienced every
part of it.”
Rachel Adams is your WNBA insider, delivering comprehensive coverage of women’s basketball. With a commitment to highlighting the talent and achievements of WNBA players, she provides game analysis, player profiles, and inspiring stories from the league.
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