Diana Taurasi’s accomplishments on the college, international, and professional court are unrivaled — by any man or woman — in world history. The 6-foot 38 year-old is the WNBA’s all-time leader in points, field goals, three-pointers, and free throws. And, incredibly, she’s still dominating today.
Plus, she doesn’t just break records: she wins. When push comes to shove, that’s what really counts. She holds a career record of 13-1 in deciding Game 3’s in best-of-three series, Game 5’s in best-of-five series, and single elimination games the WNBA Playoffs.
Stats like that are something many players only dream of. They are earned over time: long nights and early mornings, and through an undying commitment to every moment. That’s why on the court, Diana is competitive, driven, and chattering non-stop.
In fact, she’s so dedicated, Kobe Bryant bestowed the mamba name on her: “She came up to me … and said, ‘I’m the White Mamba,'” Kobe Bryant once recounted. “I said, ‘Yes you are,’ and she has every bit the temperament.”
But despite being widely considered the league’s greatest player of all time, Diana has only earned MVP honors once — her 2009 WNBA championship year. Even she acknowledged she thinks she was slighted at least twice. “I should have won in 2014,” Diana said. “We had the best team ever. The year I averaged, like 40, I should have won.”
So here we’ll take a look at Diana’s basketball evolution, revealing how she got into the game. And how she improved her game throughout high school and college to land a spot at the #1 WNBA draft pick. We’ll explore her storied WNBA career (the good and the bad), and see what patterns her stats show.
Plus, we’ll break down her skillset including her strengths and her weaknesses. And finally, we’ll cover what’s next for Diana. Which you might find a little surprising (she doesn’t want to be a coach by the way!). So let’s get after it.
Explore Diana Taurasi’s basketball evolution
Diana Taurasi grew up in the small, hardworking town of Chino, California – the result of her father, Mario, and her mother, Liliana, emigrating from Argentina to the United States before she was born. As a second-generation immigrant in the US, she really grew up in a world where her parents had no idea what she was doing all the time or what it really meant. As a result, from a young age she ended up being very independent, and mostly got to do her own thing.
She built her own life, beginning with sport. From an early age, Diana was a standout soccer player. The sport was a passion of her Italian-born father who played as a professional goalkeeper in Italy for several years. However, she also developed a knack for basketball. So the first big decision of her athletic career was choosing which sport to really go after, starting in middle school – because the practice schedules started conflicting.
“That was actually probably one of the toughest times for D,” said her older sister, Jessika. “She really just knew she had to make a choice, and she just wasn’t ready to give up soccer yet. She didn’t want to let my dad down.” Ultimately, though, Diana went with basketball. “Soccer was becoming really popular, but I think there was more of a future in basketball,” Diana shared.
Luckily her experience with soccer paid off even on the basketball court. “When you watched her play as a sixth grader, seventh grader, right in that age group, her feet were unbelievable,” said Lou Zylstra, her AAU coach. “She played basketball like she was a soccer player.”
From there Diana never looked back at the beautiful game, and the rest is basketball history. Including the offer she got in 8th grade to play for Walla Walla Washington Community College, which at the time she believed was going to be her school!
Diana continued her basketball pursuit at Don Antonio Lugo High School, where she earned 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. As well as the 1999 and 2000 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, every single day she’d go to the mailbox, and get 10-12 more college letters. Eventually, Geno Auriemma, Head Coach of the UConn program, tracked her down. Of the encounter Diana shared, “Oh it was frightening. I’d only seen him on TV, in his environment. And at the time they were just taking off.”
Geno challenged her with the idea that if she wanted to become something completely different she needed to be in Connecticut. The match was instantaneous, and her father immediately endorsed UConn as the place she should go.
With her college decision finally made, Diana finished her high school career ranked fourth in state history with 3,047 points. Plus, she was named a WBCA All-American. And participated in the 2000 WBCA High School All-America Game, where she scored twelve points, and earned the MVP award.
As a young player, she already had a sense of determination about her, and a dedication to getting better every year. Her college career would soon show she was willing and able to do anything to win.
Diana Taurasi’s college basketball career
“My transition from high school to college was really difficult,” Diana reflected. At times during her freshman year she questioned why she was there: “What am I doing here? I’m in the middle of nowhere. I go to practice and get killed every day. I don’t feel like I’m any good. Why am I here?”
Coach Geno explained that one of the opportunities for improvement that year was that Diana did whatever she felt like doing. “You want to dribble by me? Go ahead. And after you dribble by me, I’m going to smack you in the back of the head. And get my fourth foul with 10 minutes left in the game. Why? Because I don’t care. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, the way I want to do it.”
As Diana recalls it: “We got to the Final Four (my freshman year) and played Notre Dame. We were up by 18 at halftime, and we ended up losing that game. Personally, that was probably my worst game of all time. We all walked out of that locker room so angry that we just started the mission for the next year right there.”
Coach Geno felt badly for her after that game at the time, because she played so poorly. And she was really the reason they got the chance to be there to begin with. So when they got back home, he made it a point to tell her: “We’re not going to win any games next year with you as our leader. Impossible. Because you’re immature, you don’t care enough about the little things. you’re undisciplined.” And as a result, she set out to prove him wrong. Which was the whole point of the conversation. Ultimately that mission paid off.
Though while things looked great for her from the outside the next year as the team went undefeated and won the Championship, she admitted on the inside things weren’t so rosy. In fact she called her sophomore year her hardest year.
“You go undefeated, people think it must have been an easy year. You guys won every game by 25 points. You’d go into the game and win. But you’d go every single day into the office, and you’d just get ripped. You would lose every day in practice to [Geno]. That’s how hard he made it in practice. Because we were that good.”
By the time she got to her senior year, she had spent her junior year carrying a bunch of guys that had no business winning a championship. And against all odds they won. And now her senior year she was expected to do it again, and it just all caught up to her. Geno found Diana sitting, shaking, crying, overcome by the thought of it.
As Geno recalled, “She had to be the best point guard, the best shooter, the best rebounder, the best passer, and had to guard the other team’s best player every night. And it just sort of overwhelmed her. And came to a head and came crashing out.”
After reassuring her that it was going to be alright, he held a team meeting to share with the team that this is how personally Diana takes it – taking winning. His point was that he wanted them to feel the same.
As a result of hard work and learning with Coach Geno, Diana eventually led UConn to three consecutive NCAA championships and 70-game win streak to become a household name. In her four years, running the team from the point guard and shooting guard spots, she helped Connecticut to a 139-8 (.946) overall record. Including a 22-1 (.957) mark in NCAA tournaments, winning four Big East Conference regular season and two Big East Tournament crowns, too.
Astoundingly, it wasn’t just the results she delivered that were amazing, but also it was how she did it. Diana dominated with a dazzling intensity, a certain competitiveness. And she boasted a skillset yet seen in the women’s game: no look passes; full-court passes; incredible jumper range; and visible emotion.
She became such a dominant force that leading up to the final championship, Geno would declare his likelihood of winning with the claim, “We have Diana, and you don’t.”
Diana was named Naismith Player of the Year three times (2002, 2003, 2004). And UConn’s first two-time National Player of the Year in 2004. She became a three-time Kodak All America selection, and a two-time Associated Press First Team All-America choice. Plus, she earned Big East Player of the Year twice (2003, 2004). As well as became the first rookie to earn All-Big East Tournament MVP honors (2001).
She was also the first player in UConn history to total 2,000 points, 600 assists, and 600 rebounds in a career. Plus, she ranks fifth all-time on UConn’s scoring list with 2,156 career points.
As Coach Geno so eloquently summarized, “What she did her junior year and her senior year, there’s no one that started a whole new starting lineup from the year before. And has taken their team and won a national championship. And she did it twice. That is as great a feat as has ever happened in college basketball.”
Diana Taurasi WNBA evolution
After her remarkable college career, Diana was selected as the #1 pick in the 2004 WNBA draft by the Phoenix Mercury, joining a slew of other UConn players in the WNBA. In her very first WNBA game, Diana netted 56 points in a 72–66 Mercury loss to the Sacramento Monarchs.
So it’s no surprise that for her rookie season she averaged 17.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. Although the Mercury did not qualify for the playoffs, Diana was named to the Western Conference All Star team and won the WNBA Rookie of the Year. It was a fitting start for a player who would be so special that she was soon named to the WNBA All-Decade team after just two seasons in the league.
By 2006, Diana was flourishing under Coach Paul Westhead’s system, leading the league in scoring and earning a third straight trip to the All-Star Game. She broke the record for points in a season (741), averaging another WNBA record 25.3 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game.
Which included a career-high 47 points in a triple overtime regular season victory against the Houston Comets (a then league record). She also set a WNBA record with 121 three-pointers made in a single season. The Mercury finished 18–16, but after losing a tie-breaker with Houston and Seattle, missed the playoffs yet again.
In 2007, Diana finally reached the WNBA playoffs. In the first round, the Mercury eliminated the Seattle Storm two games to none. Next, they swept the San Antonio Silver Stars in a hard-fought two game series and Diana advanced to her first WNBA Finals, against the defending champion Detroit Shock. Finally, Diana led the Mercury to their first WNBA title, becoming the seventh player ever to win an NCAA title, a WNBA title, and an Olympic gold medal.
In 2009, for the third time in her career, Diana led the WNBA in scoring with 20.4 points per game. Plus, she secured her team’s second WNBA Finals title, defeating the Indiana Fever 3 games to 2.
As a result, was voted as the league’s Most Valuable Player. “In the decisive Game 5 finale,” Sports Illustrated’s Jackie McCallum wrote in her Nov. 2009 piece. “Taurasi scored a game-high 26 points and made four of her last five three-point attempts. Why? Because that’s what she does. It’s part of the cutthroat brio that defines her.”
Though, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. In October 2009, Diana pleaded guilty to driving under the influence after having been pulled over that July and serving a day in jail.
“It really made me more careful in life,” she said. “It made me look into the mirror and think about what I was doing, and how I wanted the next five or six years to go. I’ve always had good people around me, but there was something in me then that was driving me the other way. And I didn’t want that.”
Unfortunately, things continued to be rocky for a while for the star. In fact, Diana has called her 2012 season “embarrassing,” because of the team’s 7-27 record, the worst in franchise history.
However by 2014, things appeared to be back on track – in a big way! That year, she repeated her Finals win feat yet again. This time, after going scoreless in the third quarter of the Finals, Diana went 5-for-6 in the fourth quarter for 14 points. Including an and-1 with 14 seconds left to put the Mercury ahead for good. She ended the game with 24 points, as Finals MVP and as the leading scorer in WNBA Finals History.
After the game ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel wrote on Twitter, “Big moments do not find Taurasi. Its most definitely the other way around. She hunts them down relentlessly and seizes them.”
Though 2015 brought disappointment for her WNBA fans. As she announced she would sit out at the request of her Russian Premier League team, UMMC Ekaterinburg who offered to significantly top her WNBA salary.
But luckily by May 2017, Diana had signed a multi-year contract extension with the Mercury. Later that month, she became the first player in league history reach 7,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 1,500 assists following an 85–62 victory over the Indiana Fever. On June 18, 2017, Diana became the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, passing Tina Thompson’s old record. Though the Mercury finished with an 18–16 record as the fifth seed in the league.
Due to a back surgery and hamstring injury, Diana mostly sat out the 2019 WNBA season, and the Mercury barely made the playoffs as the number 8 seed with a 15-19 record. But she made it back onto the court, and ensured her presence was known, in 2020.
She’s still playing with her signature competitive fire, all at 38 years old. And her 2020 regular-season numbers — 18.7 points (fifth in the league), 4.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists per game — reminded everybody that when they see her, they are still watching a legend in real time.
After Brittney Griner left the bubble mid-way through the season, Diana averaged 21.2 points over those nine games out of necessity. “You have to get it done, or we won’t win.” she explained. She led with a free-flowing style that allowed her to use the additional space to attack the basket, shoot from deep, and create for others.
“It just confirmed everything that I thought about her,” said Skylar Diggins-Smith, a four-time All-Star. “She has a work ethic. She’s competitive. She’s a great leader, and she’s a winner. So it’s cool being able to play alongside of her. She definitely challenges me and pushes me.”
However, despite years of practice, the game hasn’t necessarily gotten easier for her. For every bit more it comes naturally strategically, physically it’s a struggle. It now takes Diana about two hours of preparation, with assistance from the medical and strength and conditioning staffs, just to get on the court for practices and games.
Nonetheless, today finds Diana as the Phoenix Mercury’s all-time leading scorer, a seven time WNBA all-star team and a nine time All-WNBA team award winner. Furthermore, Diana has won three WNBA championship rings: 2007, 2009, and 2014. And has earned the WNBA scoring title five times and has the most 30+ point scoring games in league history.
In short, her impact on the game has been nothing less than remarkable. As for her playing future, she hopes to go to the 2021 Olympics, which is “motivation in itself” to keep going.
Diana Taurasi overseas
Diana Taurasi won gold medals with Team USA at the Olympics in 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016. She’s also a six-time Euroleague Champion, and was named European Player of the Year three straight seasons.
Diana’s overseas career began in 2005 with Moscow Dynamo. A year later she signed with Spartak Moscow Region Vidnoje, where she helped Spartak claim four-straight EuroLeague titles. She then played seven EuroLeague contests for Fenerbache (Turkey) in 2010, during which time Fener went undefeated; and played for Galatasaray (Turkey) in 2011.
Before spending five seasons helping lead UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russia) to the 2013 and 2016 EuroLeague crowns, the 2013-17 Russian Premier League titles, and the 2013, 2014 and 2017 Russian Cup championships.
Diana Taurasi salary & net worth
Diana Taurasi has a net worth of $1.5 million and annual salary of $500,000 according to Celebrity Networth. But we crunched the numbers and came up with her peak pay year by combining the pieces of her best years together: WNBA, UMMC Ekaterinburg of Russia, USA basketball and sponsorships. Which put her at $3.2 million using her 2020 WNBA salary as the base, making her one of the highest paid WNBA players.
Her WNBA salary is $215,000. Her award money is $106,953 because her team made it to the second round of the playoffs, she was selected to the 2020 All-WNBA Second Team, and she earns $100,000 for training as part of USA Basketball. Then, add in her overseas money of $1.5 million per season with the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg. Plus, her endorsements with BodyArmor, LeBron James’ signature line, and more, add another $1.35 million.
See Diana Taurasi stats
Here are some of Diana Taurasi’s most remarkable stats and awards:
- Is one of only 11 players to have earned a World Championship gold medal, Olympic gold medal, an NCAA title and WNBA championship. Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Brittney Griner, Asjha Jones, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Sheryl Swoopes and Kara Wolters round out the list
- Ranks tied for first among all-time U.S. Olympic career record holders for games played (32), second for points (379), third for 3-point field goal percentage (.464), fourth for free throw percentage (.931) and assists (76) and ninth for rebounds (96)
- Six-time ESPY award winner: Best WNBA Player (2010, 2011, 2012), Best Female College Athlete (2003, 2004) and Best Female Athlete (2004)
- In 2013, became the first player in WNBA history to finish in the top two in scoring and assists in the same season (Becky Hammon, 2009, is lone player to finish in the top three)…only NBA players who have finished in top two in scoring and assists in the same season: James Harden (2016-17), Nate Archibald (1972), Oscar Robertson (1963, 1966) and Bob Cousy (1953)
- WNBA Peak performer in 2015 in assists averaging 5.6 and became the first player in WNBA history to lead the league in scoring and assists for a season in their career
Diana Taurasi’s stats show a consistent shooter: 14 seasons in the top 10 for three-point shots, and 10 seasons in the top 10 for field goals. They also reveal a thoughtful facilitator: she’s spent nine seasons in the top 10 for assists.
On the defensive end, she’s rocked three seasons in the top 10 for blocks. And that kind of play is extra important because it can easily shift an entire team’s momentum.
Plus, with a player efficiency rating that’s been in the top 10 for 10 seasons and offensive win shares in the top 10 for 11 seasons, it’s clear she’s a game changer. Furthermore, she’s stayed remarkably consistent over her 16 years.
Diana’s highlight videos
Diana Taurasi is one of the most dynamic and interesting players to watch in the WNBA. Let’s check out some of her greatest highlights below to see how she makes the magic happen.
1. Diana Taurasi WNBA top 10 career plays highlights video
Here Diana hits them with a smooth behind the back pass. Takes the defense for a ride with a hesi, spin, drive. Nails a half-court shot, and blocks a shot down the block. She plays through contact, hits two no-look feeds into the lane, and sneaks in an and-one. Basically, she does it all.
2. Diana’s best of the 2020 season highlights video
In this video, Diana buries beautiful deep threes, often making good use of the Brittney Griner screen or catching the defense off-guard in transition.
3. Diana Taurasi’s record breaking 3 point game highlights vs Chicago Sky video
In this video Diana Taurasi shows how effortlessly (even with outstretched arms in her face!) she tied a career high with eight 3-pointers. And broke a tie for the WNBA’s career record, leading the Phoenix Mercury to a 99-91 victory over the Chicago Sky.
4. Diana Taurasi breaks WNBA’s all-time scoring record highlight video
Diana fights through a screen, secures the ball, outdrives the defense, and slips into the lane to get the two. As well as the bucket that makes her the No. 1 scorer in WNBA history!
5. Diana Taurasi’s best of FIBA/EuroLeague highlights video
Diana hits a corner three, a Kobe Bryant turn around fadeaway shot, a speedy drive, and another three with an arms flying in her face for Team USA. In the Euroleague, she knocks down a turn around two, a right-handed roller, and even more no-look passes. Classic Taurasi stuff.
6. Diana Taurasi’s UConn college years highlights
All the way back in college, Diana shows off her high basketball IQ and competitiveness. Check out how swift and concise her moves are. Plus her confidence…she doesn’t even look back to see if she got it in!
Diana Taurasi WNBA go-to moves
Diana’s got plenty of tricks in her bag — the shooting, quick and lethal once defenders give her even an inch of space, obviously ranks high among them. The handle, the elite ability to finish through contact, 360-degree view of the court at all times and the corresponding passing skills to maximize that vision, all play into making her the GOAT. Let’s take a look at some of her go-to moves.
1. The transition three
For this one, Diana brings the ball up during the transition, slows around the three, and fires. So many defenses still to this day get caught off guard by it. They think she’s setting up the offense, and all she’s really looking for is an inch to get off the shot. Sometimes she’ll do it off a same-foot stop and pound, step back. Easy money!
2. The under-hand reverse layup
Diana’s great at getting low enough and squeezing her shoulders past her defender to break away to the basket. Once she has them on her back she makes the read for the standard layup, or if they’re on her neck she goes for the reverse.
3. The mid-lane floater
On this one she drive straights down the lane and hits the floater in the open space before the big help defense can get to her.
4. The block
Diana is lethal at hitting the ball out of this planet when players try to sneak in easy twos in the low paint.
5. The Euro
This Euroleague Champion is also great at using the euro-step. She throws the big off in the wrong direction with a step one way, and then a quick step back the other. And critically, she sinks the shot.
6. The no look pass
Diana can hit this from the three, from the foul line – really anywhere on the court. If there’s a big open, she’s going to find them. And get them the ball on the basket side of their body, to protect it from the defense.
7. Step back jump shot
Diana bends over to create space, jabs forward, steps back, and explodes with the shot.
8. Kobe’s signature fadeaway
When she doesn’t have enough space but knows she needs to deliver, Diana will hit the fadeaway jumper. She often does it in the low post by the corner or by the sides of the foul line.
9. Spin drive
Diana’s great at creating space and losing the defense with her spin. She’s used this as far up as the three, but generally hits them with it in the paint. Her footwork on these makes her one of the best guards in the league to watch to learn the move.
Diana Taurasi WNBA strengths
In terms of Diana Taurasi’s basketball strengths, well, she’s the GOAT. So where do you even begin?
1. A true floor general
Strategically, Diana has seen it all – she knows the plays unfolding as she defends, and she knows how to hit the clutch buzzer shot. And she has the experience to guide her team through it with her. Her head coach Sandy Brondello has said for years that Diana is most valuable as a floor general who can galvanize the Mercury in tight spots. Based on her and her team’s performance after Brittney left the bubble, that holds particularly true this past year.
Living legend and current Mercury Vice President, Annie Meyers also believes it’s her ability to lift up the entire team that makes her so critical: “Her shooting, her all-around game, her will to win, her clutch shots, teamwork, and leadership. She makes everyone around her better and gives her team the credit.”
2. Change of pace
Diana uses change of pace to her advantage, maybe better than any other guard in the league. She’s lulled countless defenders to sleep, allowing her to knock down threes. She also uses the hesi on the drive to throw defenders off her further. In short, her ability to change speeds on a dime opens up her playmaking.
3. Constant chatter
In games she’s rides her teammates, the coaches, the refs – talking all the time. “Oh yeah i’m in it,” she admits on The Grantland Basketball hour. Diana talks all the time, so her teammates know they need to be in the moment, right there with her. She basically keeps everyone focused, engaged, and involved in what’s going on. Because she knows the game is mental.
This was something she picked up during her time at UConn, where if she wasn’t talking in practice, Geno would throw her out. Though she admits that as she’s gotten older she’s let it go a little bit because she needs all her energy to play.
4. The will to win
She’s incredibly committed and has a non-stop drive to win. Like literally every single thing she has to win. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a shooting drill, or Ping-Pong in the garage. It doesn’t matter. Her mindset is ‘It doesn’t matter what it is, I have to beat you. And I have to prove that I’m better than you are. And that carries over onto the court.’
“So that burning desire to have to win. And that drive to get better, get better, and get better. And then being able to pull it off. Having the ball in your hands at crunch time. And being able to pull that off, you know. Being able to go on a five-minute stretch where you just dominated the game against the best players in the world. Because why? Because you can and because you have to. That abrasive kind of personality.” said Geno, is what makes Diana similar to Michael Jordan.
Diana is always ready to go out and play and prove something. Basically you can rely on her to want to take the game winning shot and to hit that shot. First because she’s had so many reps at it, and second because she believes she’s going to hit it. “The other thing that’s interesting about her is she is so confident in her ability, but also really lovable. That’s a really rare combination,” shared writer Kelli Anderson.
“And she has that knack for being one of the greatest shotmakers of all time under pressure. When they do that survey of the GMs and ask, ‘Who would you want taking the last shot?’ there’s a reason they’re all going to say ‘Diana Taurasi.'” said Minnesota Lynx Cheryl Reeve.
6. The three pointer
Diana and Steph Curry are on the same page about fundamentals. If you can hit a three-point shot with consistency, you can win games. “And, you know, shooting the three — anyone can tell you, when you can shoot, you can shoot.” “Nobody shoots the ball as well as Diana Taurasi,” Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello said after Diana dropped 27 points in a win over the Indiana Fever.
“Sometimes I’m just like ‘Okay, that’s ridiculous how great a shooter she is and how far she can shoot out’ but she’s done this her whole career… I think everyone knows she’s going to take threes but she still gets so many threes a game. It’s mind boggling.”
Diana’s greatness on the court may be best illustrated by her ability to pick apart defenses by passing the ball. Though beyond her long list of scoring records, she’s also among the best in the game when it comes to assists.
In 2013, she became the first player in WNBA history to finish in the top two in scoring and assists. For comparison, only four NBA players have ever accomplished that feat: James Harden (2017), Nate Archibald (1972), Oscar Robertson (1963, ’66) and Bob Cousy (1952). And in 2015, she led the league in assists at 5.2 per game, becoming the first player ever to claim both single-season scoring and assist titles.
8. Arms up defense
Look y’all – it’s the details that matter. And Diana is one of the best players at using her wingspan. Diana does a great job of getting both her arms up and out as wide as possible on the defensive end. Not sort of out, we’re talking straight out. This immediately shuts down all sorts of opportunities.
9. Physical contact
Diana uses physical contact on the offensive end, and is one of the best at getting the and-one. She understands spacing, and knows when the defender might just touch her. Plus, she’s strong enough to finish through contact.
Diana Taurasi WNBA weaknesses
Diana has a need to constantly keep proving herself. She’s known to have said, “I just have this inner insecurity that I’m never good enough.” For example on a night where Diana hit 31 points, had seven assists and five rebounds, she expressed, “I missed three free throws tonight. Those are going to kill me until I get back into the gym and make a hundred.” So what exactly is there for her to work on? Here are a few potential opportunities for the queen of scoring.
1. Her technicals
Diana’s passion for the game has resulted in a reputation for outbursts on the court that often have led to confrontations with officials and opponents. Her propensity for racking up technical fouls led to suspensions in 2013 and 2016. The thing is, at thing point she’s trained the refs to expect it – so she almost has to be extra careful.
Diana admits that her temper can often get the best of her, listing the trait as the one she dislikes most about herself. “I’m hot blooded. I live in the moment,” she said. “Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness.”
2. Her fitness
On the one hand, she’s dropped 20 pounds off her frame, is eating more healthily than ever before, and is focused on recovery with massage and acupuncture. On the other hand, she’s undeniably physically in a different place from her early years in the league. While her experience has certainly made her strategically stronger, she can’t quite go for as hard for as long as before.
3. Keeping the team in it
Throughout a game, to be locked in for 40 minutes is the biggest challenge, especially in an empty Wubble warehouse. And sometimes, when you’ve got a star like Diana on the roster, you might just rest a little easier. Which means you’re not making yourself a threat every second of the game, which makes everyone’s job harder. Diana’s been doing a good job of keeping her team in the moment, but she can get even better at it.
4. Left shoulder shooting
Diana’s great at finishing the drive on both the left and right side. She’s also strong at running the floor from either side. One area where she could change up her game a little is to make herself a threat over both shoulders.
Basically be able to shoot over either shoulder equally well. Right now, it seems like she prefers her right by a bit. Which means when she fakes to the left, the defense should be slightly less likely to bite. Ideally, she’d be able to sell both sides convincingly, giving herself more options. It’s probably more of a comfort thing at this point, but putting in some reps on the left shoulder couldn’t hurt.
5. Looking active
On the one hand, having Diana at the top side of the court, where a man has to stick on her is great. Because it opens up the court for the rest of her team. On the other hand, if she’s not at least faking the threat, the other defenders won’t have their eyes on her and be as distracted as they could be. It also means the looks she’s getting keep getting further and further from the basket, taking more energy. More top of the key hand-offs could help.
Now you know how Diana built up her game over time, a few of her best strengths and weaknesses, and the impact she’s had on the WNBA and the next generation. So what are her future plans?
What’s next for Diana Taurasi?
“I never played for…fame,” Diana said. “..never played for the money…literally played for the love of the game…played because I love to compete. I love being on the court.” And because that love runs so strong, it’s likely we’ll see Diana on the court next season.
She reflected even during a pandemic-struck season on just how strong her love still is for the women’s sport she helped build: “Every time I see my life without basketball, I get a little scared, and I try to put a little more into it,” said Diana. “I try to savor all these moments. Even being here in Bradenton, with less-than-ideal conditions, and I’m still finding the beauty in the struggle of being here and playing basketball.”
Though when it comes to her playing future, she’s realistic that she’s getting older and things might not always go her way. “Who knows? A year from now, a month from now, I might not be playing basketball. I just don’t know,” Diana told Geno in an Instagram Live chat in May of 2020.
“When you get to my age, when things get put on hold, it makes it tougher to stay ready for when it will happen. And it sounds like [the Olympics] won’t even happen next year, from what I hear. I just don’t think anyone is going to be able to handle that many people coming in.”
However, at least one person is already counting on her being back again for next season: Phoenix Mercury coach Sandy Brondello. “Without a doubt, she’s coming back,” Sandy said. “I have no doubt about that. I think with the cherry of playing the Olympics next year, I mean why wouldn’t she? And as long as she’s healthy, age is just a number for me.”
Though Diana does have an idea of what life after basketball may entail. She is interested in owning a team, she said on an Instagram Live with Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe. “It’s funny. Everyone’s like, ‘Do you want to be a coach? Do you want to be a GM?’ No, I want to own it,” said Diana. “I want to own a team!”
She elaborated, “There comes a point where you have to take initiative in the wealth and everything you’ve built, and it’s not to be a coach, it’s not to be under anyone, and I think that’s what we do as women: We always want to be under someone. Even the NBA, which I love, the NBA to me is not the pinnacle of all, which even to all the coaches that we’ve praised and have done amazing things, we’re always a stepping stone. I don’t want to be a stepping stone.”
By owning a team and betting her money on women, Diana also hopes to buck a trend of women with means not putting their money behind women’s sports. “Where are the rich women? I’m so disappointed in the women that have a lot of money,” Diana said. “Sometimes you invest in things that don’t make money yet, but you want to make them better.”
One thing is certain: Diana will be as much a pioneer off the court, as on the court. Not only has she taken the women’s game to a new level. But she’ll soon be playing a key role in reversing the trend of the world historically under-investing in women’s sports. And we couldn’t be more enamored with her!
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Everything else you want to know about Diana Taurasi
From Diana’s family life to how to follow her on social media, and cop her shoes and shirts, get the answers to frequently asked questions about Diana Taurasi.
Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor (and their son)
Off the court, Diana has been busy too. Diana married former teammate Penny Taylor on May 13, 2017. Though she wasn’t always sure a relationship like that was in the cards for her: “I actually was of the thinking that I was never going to get married and never have a family, to tell you the truth,” Diana told Deadspin. “I was just always kind of a free spirit with a wild side, but when you a meet a person that just makes you better and makes you better at life, your mindset changes.
Later in 2018, the two welcomed their first child, Leo. And together they tackled the uncertainties of motherhood. As Diana recalled, “The day that we went to the hospital was just a day of the unknown. When you get into that car and you’re driving home and you have a little human being in the backseat, you’re just like life has completely changed in so many ways and it makes everything else kind of secondary. You know, you have to care for this little child. And it’s been really great.”
She also found parenthood renewed her focus on making the best use of her time, always. She explained, “It just makes you focus that much more on what’s ahead of you. I know when I’m in the gym, I only have this amount of time to get everything done. So I have to be more organized, more focused on what I’m doing. And then the rest of the time I have to be a good parent. It’s definitely a balance that I’ve enjoyed.”
In April 2019, the Mercury announced that Penny, a former Mercury forward and Director of Player Development and Performance, had been hired as an assistant coach. Over her 13-year WNBA career, Penny averaged 13 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
Of the moment Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman said, “Penny understands the game as well as anyone associated with our league from an X-and-O standpoint and from the perspective of a player who competed at the highest levels for nearly two decades. We are excited about the opportunity to add another strong female voice, and to grow the pool of former WNBA players in the coaching ranks.” Though she later stepped away from her role to focus on parenting Leo.
Diana Taurasi Instagram
Diana Taurasi’s Instagram is @dianataurasi and she has over 100,000 followers (be one!). She doesn’t post frequently, but when she does, it’s about what really matters to her: justice, her family, and basketball.
Diana Taurasi shoes & jersey
Diana has worn one sneaker for most of her career and it’s been LeBron James’ signature shoe. She’s rocked LeBron 10s for the majority of her career, but has more recently fallen in love with the LeBron 15s. She told WNBA.com, “I think these by far have eclipsed comfort level of any basketball shoe I’ve ever worn.”
As for threads that rep DT the GOAT, you can find Diana Taursi’s jersey and USA basketball T-shirt in the WNBA shop. And you can find her GOAT shirt, showcasing a purple goat with a No. 3 on the chest, here.
Which debuted on the N.B.A. All-Star Damian Lillard as he walked into Game 1 of the Portland Trail Blazers’ first-round playoff series in 2020. (And Diana had no idea it was being designed!) When the shirt went on sale about two weeks later, the website struggled to handle the influx of traffic before selling out its inventory within hours.
Diana Taurasi attended University of Connecticut.
Diana Taurasi’s wife is Penny Taylor.
Diana Taurasi is the goat. And she has the shirt to prove it!
Diana Taurasi speaks English and Spanish, which is the language spoken in Diana Taurasi’s childhood home.