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Aussie Graf fired as coach of Women's NBA Mercury



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PHOENIX, Arizona, Sept 2 (AFP) - Australian Carrie Graf was fired as coach of the Phoenix Mercury here Friday after the team failed to qualify for the Women's National Basketball Association playoffs.

The Mercury dropped its final three games of the season to finish 16-18 and finish a game behind Los Angeles for the final Western Conference playoff spot. An 85-74 loss to Seattle on the last day of the season denied them a berth.

"I'm proud of what I accomplished with the Mercury the last two seasons and I'm leaving the team in a strong position for the future, but we didn't achieve our goal of getting this team to the playoffs," Graf said.

"Although we had many unfortunate events this year, such as late player arrivals and injuries to our key players, we couldn't get it done down the stretch."

The Mercury were 17-17 last year, also missing the playoffs by a game.

Graf will return to Australia and coach the Canberra Capitals of the Women's National Basketball League - a position she held from 2000 through 2002.

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COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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