Nakia Sanford has left the Washington Mystics to sign with the Phoenix Mercury as a free agent. Sanford, a 6-foot-4 center/forward, spent eight seasons with the Mystics. No player on the current roster had been with the club longer.

Sanford, 34, started 22 games last season for the Mystics, averaging 6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. During her WNBA career, she has averaged 6.6 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 49.3 percent from the floor.

Sanford signed with Washington as a free agent in 2003 after not being drafted out of the University of Kansas.

“Sanford is a physical post presence that does all of the dirty work that doesn’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet,” Mercury Coach Corey Gaines said.

Sanford’s departure is a blow to the Mystics’ already thin front court. Crystal Langhorne and Chasity Melvin are the only two reliable post players left on the roster. Jacinta Monroe played only 17 games as a rookie last season.