Mercury fire head coach Vanessa Nygaard after 2-10 start to season

Nikki Blue takes over on an interim basis

Amid a frustrating season, the Phoenix Mercury announced Sunday that they're doing the one thing a floundering team can do to try to change their fortunes: fire someone.

And that someone is head coach Vanessa Nygaard.

"We have chosen to make a change at head coach,” said Mercury general manager Jim Pitman in a release. "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."

Assistant coach Nikki Blue, who has coached in the NBA and WNBA for 15 years, has been appointed interim head coach.

"We have confidence in the job Nikki Blue will do as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2023 season,” Pitman said.

The Mercury have had a miserable season, and currently own a WNBA-worst 2-10 record. That's tied for the worst record through 12 games in Mercury history — and since the Mercury are one of the WNBA's original teams, that history goes back to 1997.

Phoenix Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard
The Mercury fired head coach Vanessa Nygaard. Nikki Blue will replace her as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. (Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Nygaard was hired in January 2022 to replace longtime head coach Sandy Brondello, whose contract wasn't renewed. Nygaard had a 15-21 coaching record in 2022, which got the Mercury to the playoffs, but not any farther as they lost in the first round. Her firing comes one day after the Mercury lost 97-74 to the Seattle Storm, their fifth straight loss and their second straight loss by 20 points or more.

Brondello was hired by the New York Liberty after her time with the Mercury ended. The Liberty are 8-3 in 2023, third in the WNBA, and Brondello is coaching a super-team laden with stars, including Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones and Courtney Vandersloot.

Blue's first game at the helm will be Tuesday when the Mercury take on the Dallas Wings.