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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Mercury can't get caught up in hype

By Samantha Prahalis

Samantha Prahalis
Mercury guard Samantha Prahalis came to training camp in peak shape, and she can feel the difference both physically and mentally.

Training camp, in my opinion, is the best possible time to jell with your teammates. It really brings everyone together, and I can already feel the bond we are creating as a team on the Mercury. Everyone understands what our goal is and how hard we have to work to get there. We all get along so well and are having fun as we truly learn how each other plays and the roles we'll each have.

Having said that, this year's training camp has a different (but good) feel to it for a few reasons.

First, I already feel more comfortable having gone through a Phoenix Mercury training camp last year so I knew what to expect (hint: a lot of running). I spent a lot of time in the offseason getting my mind and body right to prepare for the season. I knew that having players healthy and motivated would make practice even more intense. That's why I made the decision to enter training camp in the best possible shape I could be in -- and I can already feel the difference from a physical and mental standpoint.

Second, I know a lot is riding on my shoulders. It has been really helpful to have Diana Taurasi in camp along with all of the veterans. DT is always encouraging and helpful -- she makes me want to be a better player. Corey Gaines has also worked with me one-on-one to help increase my leadership as a point guard for this team. With all of the injuries we had last year, there are many players who never really had the chance to practice together. It's still early, but I see a lot of potential when we click on the offensive end of the floor.

Last, but not least, having Brittney Griner here has been amazing. We've already developed chemistry between the two of us, which will really help heading into our first game May 27 against the Chicago Sky. I've even thrown her a few alley-oops -- the way she makes dunking look so easy is unreal. I've never played with someone like her and from a point guard perspective, it is super exciting.

The hype around us as a team has been amazing. The key, for us, is to not get caught up in it and remain focused on getting better every single day. We understand that nothing comes easy in the WNBA, and we'll have a target on our back.

We're ready for the challenge.