|WNBA's Phoenix Mercury – No. 3|
|Shooting Guard/Small Forward|
|Born||June 11, 1982 |
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight||172 lb (78 kg)|
|Draft||1st overall, 2004|
|2004-... Phoenix Mercury|
|2006-10 Spartak Moscow|
2010-12 Fenerbahçe Istanbul
|Awards and Honors|
|Big East Player of the Year (2003, 2004)|
Wade Trophy Winner (2003)
Naismith Award (2003, 2004)
Nancy Lieberman Award (2003, 2004)
NCAA National Championship (2002,2003,2004)
NCAA Tournament MVP (2003, 2004)
WNBA Rookie of the Year (2004)
All-WNBA First Team (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
All-WNBA Second Team (2005)
WNBA All-Star (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)
WNBA Championship (2007, 2009)
WNBA Most Valuable Player (2009)
WNBA Finals MVP (2009)
Diana Lurena Taurasi (born June 11, 1982 in Chino, California) is a professional basketball player who plays for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA and Fenerbahçe Istanbul in FIBA’s EuroLeague Women.
Taurasi grew up in Chino, California and attended Don Antonio Lugo High School where she was the recipient of the 2000 Cheryl Miller Award, presented by the Los Angeles Times to the best player in Southern California. She was also named the 2000 Naismith and Parade Magazine National High School Player of the Year. Taurasi finished her prep career ranked third (behind Giuliana Mendiola's 3,069 and Cheryl Miller's 3,446) in state history with 3,047 points. Taurasi was named a WBCA All-American. She participated in the 2000 WBCA High School All-America Game, where she scored twelve points, and earned MVP honors.
Taurasi was born to her parents Mario and Liliana. Taurasi has an older sister, Jessika. Her father was born in Italy and raised in Argentina, which is also the native land of her mother Liliana. Her parents moved to the U.S. before she was born. Diana's father was a professional soccer player in Italy. He had logged several years as a goalie.
She briefly appears in the 2006 film Believe In Me.
|Taurasi with President of the United States George W. Bush at a White House ceremony |
for, inter al., the national champion 2002–03 Connecticut Huskies.
Following a highly decorated high school career, Taurasi enrolled at the University of Connecticut (UConn) and began playing for the women's basketball team during the 2000–2001 season. Taking the court primarily at point guard and shooting guard, she led the team to three consecutive NCAA championships with the last one coming in the 2003–2004 season. Leading up to that final championship, her coach, Geno Auriemma, would declare his likelihood of winning with the claim, "We have Diana, and you don't."
Taurasi also received many personal accolades at UConn including the 2003 and 2004 Naismith College Player of the Year awards, the 2003 Wade Trophy, and the 2003 Associated Press Player of the Year award. In addition to the national recognition she received during her time at UConn, Taurasi was held in legendary status by many Connecticut fans. For example, state senator Thomas Gaffey nominated her to join Prudence Crandall as the state's heroine. She averaged 15.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in her collegiate career. During her time at UConn, her team compiled a record of 139 wins and 8 losses. Diana was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of inductees to the University of Connecticut women's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.
University of Connecticut statistics
|Diana Taurasi Statistics at University of Connecticut|
Taurasi in 2007
Following her collegiate career, Taurasi was selected first overall in the 2004 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury, a team that went 8–26 in the 2003 season.
In her WNBA debut, Taurasi netted 26 points and led the Mercury to an 84–76 victory over the Seattle Storm. For the season, the rookie averaged 17.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Although the Mercury did not qualify for the playoffs, the season was a personal success as Taurasi was named to the Western Conference All Star team and won the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award.
In 2005, Taurasi averaged 16.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while battling an ankle injury. She was an All Star for the second straight year, but the Mercury faded down the stretch and again missed the playoffs.
Former NBA coach Paul Westhead became the Mercury's head coach prior to the 2006 season and brought his up-tempo style to Phoenix. Their roster was further bolstered by the addition of rookie Cappie Pondexter, the #2 overall selection in the 2006 WNBA Draft.
Taurasi flourished under Westhead's system, leading the league in scoring and earning a third straight trip to the All Star Game. She broke Katie Smith's league records for points in a season (741 during the 2006 season) and is tied with Lauren Jackson for most points in a game (47 vs. Houston on August 10). In 2006, Taurasi averaged a record 25.3 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. The Mercury finished 18–16, but after losing a tie-breaker with Houston and Seattle, it missed the playoffs.
In 2007, Taurasi finally reached the WNBA playoffs. In the first round, the Mercury eliminated the Seattle Storm two games to none. Next, they took down the San Antonio Silver Stars in a hard fought two game series. Taurasi got to her first WNBA Finals, but had to face the defending champion Detroit Shock. In a hard-fought series, Taurasi and Pondexter led the Mercury to their first WNBA title. With this victory Taurasi became just the seventh player ever to win an NCAA title, a WNBA title, and an Olympic gold medal. The others to achieve this trifecta are Ruth Riley, Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, and fellow Huskies Swin Cash, Kara Wolters, and Sue Bird.
Taurasi was a member of both the Women's 2004 and 2008 Gold medal Olympic Basketball Teams.
In the 2009 season, Taurasi was named the WNBA MVP and later led the Phoenix Mercury to its second WNBA championship in 3 years by beating the Indiana Fever 3 games to 2. Taurasi was named the WNBA Finals MVP as well. Taurasi is one of only two players (the other being Cynthia Cooper), to win the season scoring title, the season MVP award, a WNBA Championship and the finals MVP in the same season.
2009 DUI arrest
On July 2, 2009, Phoenix police spokesman Luis Samudio says an officer stopped Taurasi at about 2:30 a.m. for allegedly speeding. A police statement says the officer smelled alcohol and gave her several field sobriety tests. Taurasi was then driven to a mobile DUI van where she gave a blood sample, then was cited and released. Authorities later said her blood alcohol level was 0.17.The Phoenix Mercury responded to this news by suspending her for two games later that month. She however was named a reserve for her fourth All-star appearance that summer. After extreme DUI and speeding charges were dropped, Taurasi pled guilty to DUI. She served one day in jail after a judge suspended nine days of the 10-day sentence.
2010 positive stimulant test
On December 24, 2010, Taurasi's lawyers revealed that Taurasi had tested positive for a mild stimulant while playing in Turkey's Fenerbahce professional basketball league. According to her lawyer, Howard Jacobs, the positive test came from an "A" sample, and that testing had been requested on a second "B" sample. Jacobs also was quick to point out that the substance Taurasi tested positive for "was not a steroid or recreational drug." Until the "B" sample can be tested, Taurasi has been provisionally suspended by the Fenerbahce league.
Awards and honors
2003—Nancy Lieberman Award
2003—Naismith College Player of the Year
2003—NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player
2004—Nancy Lieberman Award
2004—Naismith College Player of the Year
2004—NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player
2004—WNBA Rookie of the Year Award
2005—WNBA All-Star Selection
2006—WNBA All-Star Selection
2006—WNBA Peak Performer
2007—WNBA All-Star Selection
2008—WNBA Peak Performer
2009—WNBA Peak Performer
2009—WNBA All-Star Selection
2009—WNBA Most Valuable Player Award
2009—WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award
2010—All-WNBA First Team
Euroleague Winner 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Euroleague Women MVP 2009, 2010
Competitor for United States
Gold 2004 Athens National Team
Gold 2008 Beijing National Team
Bronze 2006 Brazil National Team
Gold 2010 Czech Rep. National Team
U18 and U19
Gold 2000 U18 National Team
Bronze 2001 U19 National Team
On May 12, 2004, Diana Taurasi was selected to represent the United States with the US Women's National Basketball team at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. She helped the United States capture the gold medal, defeating Australia in the championship game. Taurasi represented the United States as a member of the US Women's National Basketball team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, where she started all eight games and helped lead the USA team to win the gold medal. Taurasi was the second leading scorer on the USA Women's National Basketball team at the 2006 FIBA World Championship held in São Paulo, Brazil. The USA team earned the bronze medal. Taurasi has also earned a bronze medal as a member of the 2001 USA Junior World Championship team, and a gold medal as a member of the 2000 USA Basketball Women’s Junior World Championship Qualifying team.
Taurasi was invited to the USA Basketball Women's National Team training camp in the fall of 2009. The team selected to play for the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Olympics is usually chosen from these participants. At the conclusion of the training camp, the team will travel to Ekaterinburg, Russia, where they compete in the 2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg International Invitational.
Taurasi was named as one of the National team members to represent the USA Basketball team in the WNBA versus USA Basketball. This game replaces the normal WNBA All-Star game with WNBA All-Stars versus USA Basketball, as part of the preparation for the FIBA World Championship for Women to be held in the Czech Republic during September and October of 2010.