The Peddy cure: Guard’s game-winning shot is antidote in Mercury victory

Phoenix Mercury Shey Peddy is surrounded by teammates after hitting a 3-point buzzer beater to defeat the Washington Mystics. The shot has thrust the 30-year-old into the WNBA spotlight. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – After stepping out from being backstage for years, Shey Peddy finally got the center stage spotlight Tuesday night. With all eyes on her, the Phoenix Mercury guard hit a buzzer-beater 3-pointer that knocked her former team out of the playoffs.

Peddy’s shot gave the Mercury an 85-84 win and a second-round playoff berth while eliminating the Washington Mystics, who had cut Peddy earlier this season.

This defining moment in Peddy’s career is something that she has spent years working for after not making her WNBA debut until seven years after being drafted out of Temple University.

Since she was young, Peddy was surrounded by basketball. Her mom, aunt, cousins and uncles all played the game. Peddy watched her mom play in local leagues and dreamed of one day making the WNBA.

Temple coach Tonya Cardoza grew up in the same town as Peddy and played against Peddy’s mother. Cardoza knew that Peddy had grown up with the right tools to become a solid player that could offer a lot to her team and on the court.

“She’s the type of player, if she knows that you need her she’s going to definitely step up to the plate,” Cardozza said. “If you just give her a role then that’s the role that she’s going to play. But if you let her know she’s needed, and she needs to play a big role, then that’s what she’s gonna do, and she puts that pressure on herself to make sure that she delivers for you.”

In her two years at Temple, Peddy stepped up and became one of the best players in school history. In 2012, she won both the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards. She twice was Big 5 Player of the Year.

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After college, the Chicago Sky drafted Peddy 23rd overall in 2012. After attending training camps with some of her role models, Peddy was cut and went to play overseas in Israel. She then found herself in a back-and-forth situation of being called to the training camp for the Mystics and being cut, to doing jobs that would help build her up to be on the coaching staff, to finally making her WNBA debut with the Mystics in 2019 at the age of 30.

After being released again, with the chance of returning to Mystics or finding a different team, Peddy decided to join the Mercury on Aug. 19.

“It’s honestly a bittersweet moment. I love and keep in contact with all the players. They’re like my sisters,” Peddy said. “They released me, and so for me to hit that against them, it’s like a fairytale moment. I don’t think you could write it up better than that.”

The Mercury have made a spot for Peddy but the game-winning 3-pointer was not of their expectations. Mercury coach Sandy Brondello knew that with the experience Peddy had, she was capable of playing in a crucial game.

“She’s a veteran. She’s 31 years of age. She’s not young,” Brondello said. “(She) took the moment and made the shot cause she had to take the shot. But that’s a really great story. She’s just a really humble person. I love having her around and she’s been a great addition to our team.”

From watching her mom play, to hours in the gym practicing and dreaming of the WNBA, to stepping on the court, Peddy at 31 years old, finally had the moment she often imagined.

“That was a dream come true shot right there.” Peddy said. “That was my first ever game-winning shot. To make it on this stage at this moment, man it’s a great feeling.”

Cardoza was ecstatic to see her former player perform on a big stage and finish the game the way she did.

“This is the ultimate now,” she said. “To be able to make a game-winning shot. This is a moment that she lived for that so many people dream about. And she actually gets to live it.
“And to know her story and all the hours that she spent in the gym and for it to pay off in that moment, is something incredible.”

Sports Reporter, Phoenix

Averi Roberts expects to graduate in spring 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism.