She may be 39 years old, but Diana Taurasi is one of those athletes capable of packing plenty into a 40-hour week. The heart of the franchise since the Phoenix Mercury made her the No. 1 pick of the 2004 WNBA Draft is in the midst of a whirlwind week that would wear down someone half her age.
If she can help Phoenix pull off a rally, however, she will end next week with her fourth WNBA championship ring.
Diana Taurasi became a mom last weekend for the second time
Two-time WNBA Finals MVP Diana Taurasi is now also a two-time mother. With the basketball league’s playoffs in progress, Taurasi scored 24 points on Oct. 8 to help the Phoenix Mercury beat the Las Vegas Aces, 87-84, in the fifth and deciding game of their semifinal series.
In a postgame TV interview, Taurasi pointed at the camera and said, “Hold it in babe, I’m coming,” in reference to wife Penny Taylor. Indeed, Taurasi made it home just in time to be with Taylor as she gave birth to a girl at 4:24 a.m. the following morning.
Taylor is a retired veteran of 13 WNBA seasons. She met Taurasi in 2004 when they were first-year players with the Mercury. They married in 2017 and also have a 3-year-old son.
Diana Taurasi is officially the GOAT of the WNBA
Topping off a whirlwind 48 hours, veteran guard Diana Taurasi accepted an award on Oct. 10 in conjunction with fans voting her the WNBA’s Greatest of All Time (i.e., “GOAT”) to celebrate the league’s 25th season.
The announcement came shortly before Game 1 of the WNBA title series between Taurasi’s Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky.
“This well-deserved recognition reflects her sustained excellence on the court and her leading role in advancing the WNBA and women’s basketball and being a role model for young athletes everywhere,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in the WNBA announcement.
The former UConn great is the league’s career leader in points, field goals, and 3-pointers in both the regular season and the playoffs. She holds the league record with 14 All-WNBA Team selections during a career spent entirely in Phoenix, where she has led the Mercury to three championships.
On top of everything else, Taurasi has helped Team USA to Olympic gold medals in Athens (2004), Beijing (’08), London (’12), Rio de Janeiro (’16), and Tokyo (’21).
The Mercury are two victories from the WNBA title
The Phoenix Mercury are in a must-win situation ahead of WNBA Finals Game 4 on Sunday at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Two nights after Phoenix tied the series, the Sky blew out the Mercury on Friday, 86-50, as Taurasi suffered through a 1-of-10 shooting performance.
Before the Game 3 tipoff, the WNBA announced it had levied a $2,500 fine against Taurasi stemming from “inappropriate contact” with an official during Game 2.
Midway through the second quarter, Sophie Cunningham of Phoenix collided with Kahleah Copper but secured the ball as an official whistled a foul on the Sky guard. Cunningham took offense to the physical nature of the foul and the Chicago playing lurking over her as Cunningham was prone on the court.
As a referee raced in to separate Copper from Cunningham, Taurasi also sped in and pushed the referee from behind. It had the look of Taurasi trying to get the official to move Copper off her teammate so that Taurasi could make sure Cunningham was OK. Though the contact wasn’t confrontational in nature, there was no disputing that Taurasi shoved the official.
The incident did not appear to be a big deal at the time and became lost in the excitement of the Mercury’s overtime victory. However, social media revved up the following day, and suddenly there was a push (no pun intended) to suspend Taurasi, who said she didn’t even realize at the time that she had made contact, for Game 3 and perhaps longer.
Sensibly, the league ruled that a fine would suffice, though Taurasi got in the last word.
“When Twitter speaks, the league has to make decisions, right?” Taurasi said, according to CBS Sports. “Yeah, that’s fine. I’m used to giving donations.”
The outcome was a good one for Taurasi. Still, she came close to going from GOAT to goat in the blink of an eye.