By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Phoenix Mercury get a lot of attention in the WNBA. With a roster that includes Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, they have some of the biggest names in recent women’s basketball history. But they also have a player who has put together a career of remarkable consistency in former Temple star Candice Dupree.
Dupree is in her 8th season in the league, her fourth in Phoenix, after being drafted in the first round by Chicago back in 2006.
“Still haven’t met my major goal, which is to win a WNBA championship, but the last seven years have been amazing,” Dupree told KYW Newsradio recently. “I’d take this any day over a regular 9-to-5 (job). Been a lot of fun and hopefully I have a few years left in me.”
A 6’2″ forward, Dupree is a three-time All-Star and this season she is doing what she always does, providing consistent production. She is averaging 14.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in 14 games this season. Numbers pretty much in line with her career averages of 15.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a contest (To point out her consistency, she has never averaged fewer than 13.2 ppg and never more than 16.5 ppg). While the numbers are about the same as they have always been, Dupree says she gets there in different ways now.
“Definitely don’t have to play on the low block as much anymore,” Dupree says. “Every now and then I have my touches down there, because I do still have that skill set in my repertoire. But I’ve been able to stay out of the paint, shoot some jumpers a lot more now, especially now that we have Griner on the team.”
Dupree had a wonderful career at Temple, she was a two-time Atlantic 10 Player and Defensive Player of the Year. She also led the Owls to three Atlantic 10 titles and she says her time at Temple helped get her ready for the grind of pro ball.
“Playing for (former Temple and current South Carolina head coach) Dawn Staley definitely helped,” Dupree says. “She was still playing in the league when I was in school playing for her. We’d have our little meetings and she’d talk to me and I’d have to put in extra work after practice and play against one of our male coaches, Darius Taylor. So I think she prepared me well for the professional game. It’s definitely more physical, a lot faster, but she did a great job of getting me ready.”
Dupree has already accomplished a lot on the floor and isn’t close to being done, but she has also transitioned into being a veteran leader.
“It’s interesting,” Dupree says. “It’s hard to believe that I’ll be 29 this summer and I’ve been around for seven years. I’m the one that gets called old now. But it’s been a lot of fun to be able to help some of the younger players, help coach them, talk to them. I enjoy it. ”
Dupree and the Mercury return to the court on Thursday night when they visit the Los Angeles Sparks.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.