With the first overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft, the Phoenix
Mercury selected guard Diana Taurasi. Taurasi made an immediate impact for the team, scoring 26 points in her WNBA debut versus the Seattle
Storm. She kept on that torrid pace, averaging 17 points for the season and collecting the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award, as well as being a member of the Western Conference All-Star team.
Diana Lurena Taurasi was born in Chino, CA on June 11, 1982. She was destined to be an athlete, as sports are in her blood. Taurasi’s father Mario was a professional soccer player, and sister Jessica was Diana’s high school basketball teammate.
While a student-athlete at Don Lugo High School, Diana Taurasi garnered many accolades. She was twice named Parade Magazine All-American and Gatorade’s California Player of the Year. Taurasi also won the 2000 Naismith Female Prep National Player of the Year and ESPN’s Scholastic Sports America Player of the Year. Her career topped out at over 3,000 total points, making her only one of five players to achieve that feat.
THE COLLEGE YEARS
Diana Taurasi made a seemless transition into college hoops. She enrolled at the University of Connecticut (UCONN), a school known for its excellence in women’s basketball. During her freshman campaign Taurasi made her presence known right away and was named to the Big East All-Rookie Team, averaging just under 11 points per game.
After her freshman year, Taurasi’s career really took off, and she began to pile up awards including being named a 2-time Kodak All American and a 2-time Naismith National Player of the Year. Taurasi finished her career at UCONN with 1,583 points, which put her in seventh place all-time career points list at the school.
Taurasi didn’t just pile up personal milestones while at UCONN. She was a member of three NCAA championship teams, only failing to win during her freshman year. The Huskies finished as Big East Regular Season champions in all four of Taurasi’s seasons, and were three time Conference Champions as well.
On May 12, 2004, Taurasi was named to the women’s basketball team that would play in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Taurasi was the youngest member a team that would go on to win the gold medal. Team USA beat Australia in the final game. That was not Taurasi’s first gold medal however, as she won one as a member of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior World Championship Qualifying team in 2000. Gold is not the only color Taurasi has worn though, she captured a bronze medal while playing for the 2001 USA Junior World Championship team.
THE BIG STAGE
Most recently Diana Taurasi was named to the WNBA All-Decade Team, along with fellow UCONN alum Sue Bird. This is a great feat considering Taurasi has only been in the league for two full years. If she continues her success – already she’s a 2 time All Star – then Taurasi will be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.