Women's basketball: UConn great Diana Taurasi becomes WNBA's
all-time leading scorer
When Diana Taurasi passed Tina Thompson Sunday to become the WNBA's all-time leading scorer, it was just the latest of many statistical milestones that define the career of the one of the greatest women's basketball players in history.
The highlights? Taurasi has won three WNBA championships, an MVP, two WNBA Finals MVP awards, four Olympic gold medals and five WNBA scoring titles.
She won the WNBA's Rookie of the Year in 2004, has also been selected to seven WNBA all-star teams and nine All-WNBA teams.
She won three national championships at UConn and is one of nine women to win an Olympic gold medal, an NCAA championship, and a WNBA championship.
In Taurasi's senior year, UConn coach Geno Auriemma was moved to say, "We've got Diana and you don't." That 2004 team lost four games, one of them in the Big East Tournament, but won the national title, largely because of Taurasi.
Here's a brief look at her career, step-by-step:
Taurasi attended Don Lugo High in Chino, Calif., where she won the 2000 Cheryl Miller Award as the best player in Southern California. She was also named the 2000 Naismith and Parade Magazine national high school player of the year and the 1999, and 2000 Ms. Basketball state player of the year. Taurasi finished high school fifth in state history with 2,156 points and was named a WBCA All-American. She participated in the 2000 WBCA high school All-America game in Hartford where she scored 12 points and earned the MVP.
Taurasi led the Huskies to three consecutive NCAA championships from 2002-04. She also received many individual awards, including the 2003 and 2004 Naismith College Player of the Year (the first Husky ever to win two), the 2003 Wade Trophy and the 2003 Associated Press player of the year.
She was a three-time Kodak All-America selection, a two-time Associated Press first team All-America. And she was the first player in UConn history to total 2,000 points, 600 assists and 600 rebounds in a career.
She averaged 15.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists in her collegiate career and finished with 2,156 points. During her time at UConn, her team was 139-8. She was a member of the inaugural class (2006) of inductees to UConn's "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.
"I am lucky that I got to coach her since she was 18," Auriemma said.
USA National Team
In 2004, Taurasi was selected to represent the United States at the Summer Olympics in Athens. She helped the USA win the gold medal, the Americans defeating Australia in the championship game. Taurasi also represented the U.S. at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, where she started all eight games and helped lead the USA team to win the gold medal. Her third gold medal came in 2012 in London and her fourth in 2016 in Brazil. Taurasi played for Auriemma in 2012 and 2016.
Will there be a fifth in 2020?
"As long as I'm playing at a high level, and I deserve to be out there, then I'll always put that USA jersey on," Taurasi said when Phoenix visited New York on June 4. "There's nothing better than that, no matter how many times you've done it."
Taurasi was the first overall selection in the 2004 WNBA draft by the Phoenix Mercury. In her rookie season she averaged 17.0 points and was the WNBA Rookie of the Year.
Her pro career began to soar in 2006. She led the league in scoring and earned a third straight trip to the All-Star Game, breaking Katie Smith's record for points in a season (741) by averaging 25.3 points, including a career-high 47 points in a triple-overtime regular season victory against Houston.
During that 2006 game she set a WNBA record with eight three-pointers and she set a WNBA record with 121 three-pointers made in a single season
In 2007, Taurasi led the Mercury to their first WNBA title. With this victory Taurasi became the seventh player to win an NCAA title, a WNBA title, and an Olympic gold medal.
In the 2009, Taurasi was named the WNBA MVP and later led the Phoenix Mercury to its second WNBA championship in three years. Taurasi was named the WNBA Finals MVP. Taurasi is one of only two players to win the season scoring title, the season MVP award, a WNBA championship and the finals MVP in the same season.
In 2011, the Mercury finished 29-5, setting the record for most wins in a regular season and Taurasi won her third championship. Taurasi also won the WNBA Finals MVP for the second time in her career.
On Feb. 3, 2015, Taurasi announced that she would sit out the 2015 WNBA season at the request of her Russian Premier League team. The team offered to pay Taurasi a lot more than her WNBA salary to do so. Taurasi made just under the league maximum of $107,000, but approximately $1.5 million playing overseas.
In May 2017, Taurasi became the first player in league history reach 7,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 1,500 assists.
On June 18, Taurasi became the WNBA's all-time leading scorer, passing Tina Thompson. She has 7,494 points.
This article is written by John Altavilla from The Hartford Courant and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.