THE ATHLETIC's Alexis Mansanarez noted the WNBA Phoenix Mercury are "leading the league in attendance and have boasted an average of 11,010 fans" at Talking Stick Resort Arena, a venue that holds 18,400. They are one of only two teams in the league who have "averaged over 10,000 fans this season began." The Mercury are still "without their leader and playmaker," G Diana Taurasi, but still, the "fans pile in." From '14-16 the Mercury "led the league in attendance and in seasons since they have finished with the third-best numbers" (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/1).
PROGRESS MADE: In St. Paul, Dane Mizutani wrote it is time to give Wild GM Paul Fenton "some credit." That "doesn’t mean he has atoned for his missteps to this point," but it "appears he at least has a plan for the Wild." Nothing the Wild have done this offseason has been "very sexy, but for Fenton that was never really the point." While there "remains work to be done before next season, Fenton appears to have the franchise moving in a positive direction" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/3).
SHATTERED GLASS: In Massachusetts, Matt Vautour writes the Celtics hiring Kara Lawson as an assistant coach is "significant." As hiring women coaches "becomes more common, college athletic directors and NBA front offices will be more open to hiring more women in the future." Each hire today "gives tomorrow’s candidates a better chance." Vautour: "The question now is no longer if a woman will ever be the head coach of a men’s team, it’s when will it happen and for what team?" (MASSLIVE.com, 7/3).