Diana Taurasi

Diana Taurasi
Diana Taurasi
WNBA's Phoenix Mercury  – No. 3
Born June 11, 1982 (1982-06-11) (age 29)
Chino, California
Nationality United States American
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 163 lb (74 kg)
College Connecticut
Draft 1st overall, 2004
Phoenix Mercury
Profile WNBA Info Page
WNBA Teams
Phoenix Mercury (2004-present)
Overseas Teams
Russia Spartak Moscow (2006-2010)
Turkey Fenerbahçe Istanbul (2010-2011)
Turkey Galatasaray Medical Park (2011-present)
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)
5× All-WNBA First Team (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
All-WNBA Second Team (2005)
5× WNBA All-Star (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011)
2× WNBA Champion (2007, 2009)
WNBA Most Valuable Player (2009)
WNBA Finals MVP (2009)

Diana Lorena Taurasi (born June 11, 1982 in Chino, California) is a professional basketball player who plays for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA and Galatasaray Medical Park from Turkey.[1][2] In 2011, she was voted in by fans as one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history.


Early career

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.[3] She was also named the 2000 Naismith and Parade Magazine National High School Player of the Year. Taurasi finished her prep career ranked third in state history with 3,047 points (behind Giuliana Mendiola's 3,069 and Cheryl Miller's 3,446). Taurasi was named a WBCA All-American.[4] She participated in the 2000 WBCA High School All-America Game, where she scored twelve points, and earned MVP honors.[5]

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.[6] He had logged several years as a goalie.


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 and a third 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."[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

WNBA career

Naismith Award

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. At times in her career, she had to play the 3 position or Forward (basketball) because there were shorter players in the starting five on her team. However, she mainly plays Guard (basketball).

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 at the White House

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.[10][11]

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.[12] In 2011, she was voted in by fans as one of the Top 15 players in the fifteen year history of the WNBA.[13]

International career

Taurasi was recruited to play for the European team Spartak Moscow. The team had finished in eleventh place in the Russian league when Shabtai von Kalmanovich decided to buy the team. Kalmanovich was a successful business man with various interests, including women's basketball. He had stopped in to see a local wome's basketball team in Yekaterinburg, and "literally fell in love with the point guard, Anna Arkhipova". He ended up buying that team, but later decided to buy the Spartak Moscow Region team, and turn it into a top team. He arranged to add a number of top-notch players, who had earned seven Olympic medals between them. Many of the players were European, but the team also included Australian born Lauren Jackson and USA born Sue Bird and Taurasi.[14]

The team would go on to win four consecutive Euroleague championships.[15]

On December 24, 2010, Taurasi's lawyers revealed that Taurasi had tested positive for a mild stimulant while playing in Turkish Champion Fenerbahçe professional basketball team. 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 from the Turkish league.[16] In its own statement, the Turkish basketball association revealed that the WADA-list banned substance was modafinil.[17]

On February 16, 2011, Diana Taurasi was cleared of doping allegations. ABC News indicated Taurasi was absolved from all doping allegations and can rejoin her Istanbul team following the retraction of the Turkish laboratory on its earlier finding on the former UConn star’s urine samples.[18]

USA Basketball

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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] Taurasi has also earned a bronze medal as a member of the 2001 USA Junior World Championship team,[22] and a gold medal as a member of the 2000 USA Basketball Women’s Junior World Championship Qualifying team.[23]

Taurasi was invited to the USA Basketball Women's National Team training camp in the fall of 2009.[24] 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.[24]

Taurasi was named as one of the National team members to represent the USA Basketball team in the WNBA versus USA Basketball.[25] 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 2010.[26]

Personal life

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.[27] The Phoenix Mercury responded to this news by suspending her for two games later that month.[28] She however was named a reserve for her fourth All-star appearance that summer.[29] 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.[30] The incident had a profound effect on Taurasi. [31]

Taurasi had a cameo role in the 2006 film Believe In Me.[32]

Awards and honors

  • 2005—WNBA All-Star Selection
  • 2007—WNBA All-Star Selection
  • 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[34]
  • Euroleague Winner 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Euroleague Women MVP 2009, 2010

University of Connecticut statistics

Diana Taurasi Statistics[35] at University of Connecticut
2000–01 33 127 286 0.444 71 184 0.386 36 41 0.878 106 3.2 109 72 29 39 791 361 10.9
2001–02 39 200 405 0.494 92 209 0.440 72 87 0.828 158 4.1 208 83 46 50 1131 564 14.6
2002–03 37 237 498 0.476 70 200 0.350 119 146 0.815 225 6.1 161 115 45 32 1181 663 17.9
2003–04 35 197 432 0.456 85 218 0.390 89 112 0.795 139 4.0 170 83 27 53 1115 568 16.2
Totals 144 761 1621 0.469 318 811 0.392 316 386 0.819 628 4.4 648 353 147 174 4218 2156 15.0

WNBA career statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game
 PPG  Points per game  TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage  Bold  Career high League leader

Regular season



  1. ^ Diana Taurasi Becomes Gala Woman
  2. ^ Diana Taurasi Signs with Turkey's Galatasaray - WNBA Official Website
  3. ^ "Diana Taurasi". WNBA. http://www.wnba.com/playerfile/diana_taurasi/bio.html. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  4. ^ "2000 WBCA High School All-Americans". WBCA. http://www.wbca.org/00-HSAA.asp. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  5. ^ "2000 WBCA High School All-America Game". WBCA. http://www.wbca.org/upload/2000HSAAG.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  6. ^ David L. Porter, ed (2005). Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0313309526. 
  7. ^ "UConn's Taurasi proves why she's best in nation". http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2004/03/03-30-04tdc/03-30-04dsports-column-01.asp. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  8. ^ "Senator nominates UConn's Taurasi for state heroine". CNN. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/college/women/2003/ncaa_tourney/news/2003/04/09/taurasi_stateheroine_ap/. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  9. ^ "Women's Basketball 1995 National Championship Team to be Recognized as "Huskies of Honor"". http://www.uconnhuskies.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/103008aaa.html. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  10. ^ "Games of the XXVIIIth Olympiad – 2004". http://www.usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=woly_2004. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  11. ^ "Games of the XXVIIIth Olympiad – 2008". http://www.usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=woly_2008. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  12. ^ "Taurasi, Pondexter lead Mercury to second title in three years". ESPN. October 9, 2009. http://sports.espn.go.com/wnba/recap?gameId=291009011. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  13. ^ http://www.wnba.com/allstar/2011/top15_072311.html
  14. ^ WOLFF, ALEXANDER (December 15, 2008). "To Russia With Love". Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1149632/1/index.htm. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  15. ^ Coward, Cheryl (12 April 2010). "Spartak Moscow EuroLeague champions again, Taurasi MVP again". Hoopfeed.com. http://www.hoopfeed.com/content/2010/04/12/spartak-moscow-euroleague-champions-again-taurasi-mvp-again/. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  16. ^ "Positive Test for Taurasi, Ex-UConn Star". The New York Times. 2010-12-24. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/24/sports/basketball/24taurasi.html. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  17. ^ "Taurasi tested positive for modafinil". Washington Post. 2010-12-25. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/24/AR2010122402993.html. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  18. ^ "WADA Could Suspend Turkish Lab in Taurasi Case". http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory?id=12941260. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  19. ^ "Games of the XXVIIIth Olympiad – 2004". USA basketball. http://www.usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=woly_2004. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  20. ^ "Games of the XXVIIIth Olympiad – 2008". USA Basketball. http://www.usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=woly_2008. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  21. ^ "FIFTEENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN – 2006". USA Basketball. http://www.usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=wwc_2006. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  22. ^ "FIFTH FIBA WOMEN'S U19/JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – 2001". USA Basketball. http://www.usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=wu19_2001. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  23. ^ "FOURTH WOMEN'S JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING TEAM – 2000". USA Basketball. http://www.usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=wu18_2000. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  24. ^ a b "USA Basketball Women's National Team To Tip-Off Training Tomorrow In D.C.". USA Basketball. http://usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=09_wnt_fall_invitees_add_rm. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  25. ^ "Six Olympic Gold Medalists Among 11-Member Team Set To Participate In WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun Game". USA Basketball. 30 June 2010. http://www.usabasketball.com/womens/national/10_wnt_sats_roster.html. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  26. ^ "FIBA World Championship for Women". FIBA. http://czechrepublic2010.fiba.com/. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  27. ^ "Taurasi faces 3 drunk driving charges". http://sports.espn.go.com/wnba/news/story?id=4327908. Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  28. ^ "Mercury Suspends Taurasi". http://www.wnba.com/mercury/news/taurasi_090716.html. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  29. ^ "Taurasi and Pondexter Named WNBA All-Stars". http://www.wnba.com/mercury/news/as09_release_090720.html. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  30. ^ "Taurasi serves day in jail". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/wnba/news/story?id=4606661. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  31. ^ Anderson, Kelli (September 12, 2011). "The Trials Of Diana Taurasi". Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1190262/2/index.htm. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  32. ^ Koehler, Robert (Mar. 5, 2006). "Believe in Me". Variety. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117929855/. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  33. ^ a b "Past Honda Sports Award Winners". Collegiate Women Sports Awards. http://www.collegiatewomensportsawards.com/past_honda_award_winners.html. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  34. ^ "All-WNBA 1st, 2nd teams announced". ESPN.com news services. 14 September 2010. http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/news/story?id=5569841. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  35. ^ "UConn Media Guide". p. 140. http://www.uconnhuskies.com/datadump/WBasketball/2009/Media%20Guide/129-160.pdf. Retrieved 03 September 2011. 

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