The Phoenix Mercury have parted ways with coach Vanessa Nygaard after their 2-10 start, which is tied for their worst 12-game start in franchise history, per a press release. Lead assistant Nikki Blue has been elevated to interim head coach for the remainder of the 2023 season.

Mercury general manager Jim Pitman explained the team's decision in the release.

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“We have chosen to make a change at head coach,” he said. “We thank Vanessa Nygaard for the way she endured and managed the adversity of the last year-plus. Our organization and our fans have high expectations for this team, and we have not reached those with our performance this year. We have confidence in the job Nikki Blue will do as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2023 season.

Nygaard spent the last year-and-a-half as Phoenix's coach. She got the job after she spent the 2021 season as an assistant for the Las Vegas Aces, who the Mercury defeated in the Western Conference semifinals that season. The Mercury advanced to the WNBA Finals and lost to the Chicago Sky.

Blue joined Phoenix's staff last season and has 15 years of coaching experience in college and the WNBA. She has local ties, as she coached at Arizona State under Charli Turner-Thorne from 2019 to 2022. Blue was also the head assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Grand Canyon University from 2017 to 2019.

Nikki Blue played five seasons in the WNBA for the Washington Mystics (2006 to 2010) and New York Liberty (2011). She played college basketball at UCLA and was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection in each of her four years in Westwood.

The Mercury play their next game Tuesday at home versus the Dallas Wings. They are in the midst of a five-game losing streak in which they have lost by an average of 18.8 points per game.