Mercury rookie Destiny Harden: “I’m here for the challenge.”

By Dalanie Todd

PHOENIX – “Don’t mess up twice,” Diana Taurasi’s advice to Phoenix Mercury rookie Destiny Harden.

“If you mess up, try not to mess up again with that same thing,” Harden said. “Do a different ‘mess-up.'”

Harden was chosen as the 27th overall pick of the 2023 WNBA Draft out of the University of Miami.

She earned that selection by playing a crucial role in the nine-seed Hurricanes’ first-ever Elite Eight appearance during March Madness.

“I’m excited to be here,” Harden said.

Who wouldn’t be?

Imagine looking around the gym in your first professional training camp and seeing the likes of Taurasi and Brittney Griner as your teammates.

“Those are great players,” Harden said. “Some of the best players in the league right now. One of the greatest players of all-time.”

Harden plans on picking Griner’s brain and continuing to work hard for when her time arrives on game day.

As a newcomer to the team, Harden has had to adjust, but she is “ready for competition. I’m here for the challenge.”

Learning the in’s and out’s as a professional is never easy, but the program in Miami prepared her for the pros.

“They built us really well,” Harden said. “Mentally, they built us really well…I feel like I got a pro body and pro mentality.”

Harden hasn’t shied away from learning as much as she can

“I’ve been asking coaches questions all day long,” Harden said. “Just being a sponge.”

One of her main focuses is to add a spark of energy.

“I think effort is big on rookies or just any player,” Harden said.

She’ll have a chance to show that effort in the Mercury’s first preseason game on Tuesday, May 9, at 7 pm against the Seattle Storm.