Gaines out; Ex-Cats boss Pennell in with Mercury

PHOENIX (AP) - The Phoenix Mercury have fired coach and general manager Corey Gaines after a five-year run that included a WNBA title but a disappointing 2013 season.

Former University of Arizona coach Russ Pennell ('08-'09) will serve as interim coach and President and CEO Amber Cox will be interim GM.

Phoenix went into this season with high expectations after adding No. 1 overall draft pick Brittney Griner to a roster that featured star players Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree.

Phoenix won eight of nine games after a slow start to the season, but has lost seven of nine to fall 7 1-2 games behind Minnesota in the Western Conference at 10-11.

Gaines led the Mercury to the 2009 WNBA title after serving as an assistant to Paul Westhead on the 2007 title team.

Pennell took over the Wildcats at the outset of the 2008-09 season when Lute Olsen retired unexpectedly. He led UA to a 21-14 record and a Sweet Sixteen appearance where the Cats lost to Louisville.

He then took over the program at Division II Grand Canyon where he went 72-44 in four seasons with two NCAA Tournament appearances, but with the program heading for Division I play the school opted not to retain Pennell after the 2012-13 season.

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David Kelly contributed to this story.