When the Opals played their first game in the FIBA World Championship in 2006, teammates Erin Phillips and Penny Taylor had barely known each other for a week. Eight years on from the championship they would go on to win, they are heading into the WNBA playoffs with a record-breaking season with Phoenix Mercury. "It's an exciting time. It's what you play for," said Phillips, who was feeling confident about this weekend's clash with the Los Angeles Sparks. "Today was the first practice we've had in preparation for the playoffs and everyone was pretty normal. There's just a lot more excitement, and a lot more at stake, but we're feeling confident." As the 2014 WNBA season began, Phillips was traded by the Indiana Fever to the Mercury, to join Taylor on the roster. The trade has clearly been a good fit for the South Australian Olympic silver medallist, who has averaged 12.8 points in the final four games of the regular season – up from her regular mark of 5.6 points per game. The 29-year-old said her season with Phoenix could be a career highlight, on one condition. "As long as we win the championship," she said, adding that winning the trophy with Indiana in 2012 was probably the highlight of her WNBA career. "In Indiana we were definitely the underdogs and no one picked us to win, or to go as far as the first round. So, that was nice to surprise people, and even ourselves at a point, and win it all." In contrast, this year Phoenix enter the post-season as the top seed in the Western Conference with the best record in the WNBA. "I would love to have that out here in Phoenix, especially with Penny [Taylor] and Sandy [Brondello]. That would be great." Phillips has shone under the hand of Australian coach Brondello, a four-time Olympian with the Opals. When the WNBA wraps up, Phillips will turn her attention to the Opals for the FIBA World Championship in Turkey in late September. "Penny and I, if we're selected, won't have a lot of preparation time. There's not a lot of time inbetween seasons," Phillips said. "So, we just have to stay focused and try and win the WBNA championships here and then basically straight after swap hats and meet up with the girls and try to get some rhythm and chemistry with them straight away." Phillips said it was never difficult getting back on the court with the national team. "Penny and I love playing over here, but of course we do love it when we get to put on the green and gold," she said.