Diana Lorena Taurasi (born June 11, 1982) is an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). She was drafted by Phoenix first overall in the 2004 WNBA draft. Taurasi has won the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award (2004), three WNBA championships (2007, 2009, and 2014), one WNBA Most Valuable Player Award (2009), two WNBA Finals MVP Awards (2009 and 2014), a historic five Olympic gold medals, (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020), five scoring titles (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011), and three FIBA World Cups (2010, 2014, and 2018). She has also been selected to nine WNBA All-Star teams and ten All-WNBA teams. In 2011, she was voted by fans as one of the WNBA's Top 15 Players of All Time. On June 18, 2017, Taurasi became the WNBA all-time leading scorer and on June 27, 2021, became the first player to surpass 9000 points.
Taurasi was a member of the USA Women's U18 team which won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. The event was held in July 2000, when the USA team defeated Cuba to win the championship. In the closest match of the tournament, the semifinal game against Brazil, Taurasi connected on seven of her eleven three-point attempts and ended the game with 26 points. She averaged 12.6 points per game and led the team with assists with 5.46 per game.
On May 12, 2004, Taurasi was selected to represent the United States with the US Women's National Basketball team at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. 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. 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.
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.
Taurasi's international career began in 2005 when she played for Dynamo Moscow, a team that had been dominant in the Russian league until the late 90s, and even the 2005 runner-up, but was slowly declining at that time. The Euroleague tournament ended in the quarter-finals, where Dynamo was eliminated by former champions CSKA Samara. In 2006 Taurasi was recruited to play for the Russian 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 women'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.
2006 would be an historic season for Taurasi as she 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). In 2006, Taurasi averaged a WNBA record 25.3 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game, including a career-high 47 points in a triple overtime regular season victory against the Houston Comets (a then league record). During that game she made a WNBA record 8 three-pointers (which has since been tied by Riquna Williams). Taurasi 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.
Taurasi also received many personal accolades at UConn including the 2003 and 2004 Naismith College Player of the Year awards, the 2003 Wade Trophy, the 2003 and 2004 Honda Sports Award and the 2003 Associated Press Player of the Year award. In addition to the national recognition she received while 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. 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. In 2006, Taurasi was a member of the inaugural class of inductees to the University of Connecticut women's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.
In 2007, Taurasi 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 Taurasi advanced to her first WNBA Finals, against the defending champion Detroit Shock. Taurasi, Pondexter and Taylor led the Mercury to their first WNBA title. With this victory Taurasi became the seventh player ever to win an NCAA title, a WNBA title, and an Olympic gold medal. Others who had achieved this were Ruth Riley, Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, and fellow Huskies Swin Cash, Kara Wolters, and Sue Bird, with further players added to the list in following years.
The team would go on to win four consecutive Euroleague championships from 2007 to 2010, and Taurasi was named Final Four MVP in 2009 and 2010.
Entering the 2014 season, Taurasi reached the number two spot in career points per game, fifth place in career points, and ninth in career assists. In the 2014 season, with a supporting cast of all-star power forward Candice Dupree (who was traded to the Mercury in 2010), rising star Brittney Griner (who was drafted 1st overall in the 2013 WNBA Draft) and the arrival of new head coach Sandy Brondello, the Phoenix Mercury finished 29–5, setting the record for most wins in a regular season, earning the top seed in the western conference. In the playoffs they advanced all the way to the WNBA Finals where they would sweep the Chicago Sky earning Taurasi her 3rd championship. Taurasi also won the WNBA Finals MVP for the second time in her career.
In 2010 Taurasi played for Turkish champion Fenerbahçe, helping the team to repeat winning the national league. On December 24, 2010, Taurasi's lawyers revealed that she had tested positive for a mild stimulant; 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 could be tested, Taurasi was provisionally suspended from the Turkish league. In a statement, the Turkish basketball association revealed that the WADA-list banned substance was modafinil. On February 16, 2011, Taurasi was finally cleared of doping allegations. ABC News indicated Taurasi was absolved from all doping allegations and could rejoin her Istanbul team following the retraction of the Turkish laboratory on its earlier finding on the former UConn star's urine samples.
Taurasi was named as one of the National team members to represent the USA Basketball team in the WNBA versus USA Basketball. 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. Taurasi was selected to be a member of the National team representing the US at the World Championships held in September and October 2010. The team was coached by Geno Auriemma. Because many team members were still playing in the WNBA until just prior to the event, the team had only one day of practice with the entire team before leaving for Ostrava and Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Even with limited practice, the team managed to win its first games against Greece by 26 points. The team continued to dominate with victory margins exceeding 20 points in the first five games. Several players shared scoring honors, with Swin Cash, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Taurasi, Lindsay Whalen, and Sylvia Fowles all ending as high scorer in the first few games. The sixth game was against undefeated Australia — the USA jumped out to a 24-point lead and the USA prevailed 83–75. The USA won its next two games by over 30 points, before facing the host team, the Czech Republic, in the championship game. The USA team had a five-point lead at halftime, which the Czech team cut to three points, but never got closer. Team USA went on to win the championship and gold medal. Taurasi led the team in scoring with 12.0 points per game and was second on the team with 23 assists.
In 2011, alongside being selected to her 7th All-WNBA First Team, she was voted one of the Top 15 players in the fifteen-year history of the WNBA by fans.
In 2012, Taurasi had an injury-riddled season, playing only eight games. She had to sit out the rest of the season with a strained left hip flexor. The Mercury proceeded to finish the season 7–27 as the second worst team in the league.
On May 16, 2012, Taurasi signed a contract with UMMC Ekaterinburg, joining fellow WNBA star Candace Parker. The team dominated national and international competitions, winning the 2012–13 EuroLeague (second time for the club), Russian Championship and Russian Cup.
In 2013, Taurasi returned healthy for the season, she played 32 games and averaged 20+ ppg for the sixth time in her career. The Mercury finished 3rd in the western conference with a 19–15. They defeated the Los Angeles Sparks 2–1 in the first round, advancing to the conference finals, but would lose to the Minnesota Lynx in a 2-game sweep.
Season 2013–2014 saw the UMMC team repeating in winning Russian Championship and Cup, but falling short in Eurolegue competition, losing in the semifinal game against eventual champion Galatasaray; these occurrences repeated in 2014–2015 season with UMMC losing in the Euroleague final against Czech's USK Praha, in a game where Taurasi had to sit out with a broken hand.
In 2015–2016 Taurasi was back to UMMC, leading the team to its third (and her sixth personal) Euroleague title, while also earning MVP honors.
On February 3, 2015, Taurasi announced that she would sit out the 2015 WNBA season at the request of her Russian Premier League team, UMMC Ekaterinburg. The team offered to pay Taurasi more than her WNBA salary to skip the 2015 WNBA season. For the 2014 WNBA season, Taurasi made just under the league maximum of $107,000. But she makes 14 times that – approximately $1.5 million – playing overseas.
In 2016–2017 Taurasi would once again return to UMMC, helping the team to its eleventh league championship. Though expected to play through the end of the 2017–2018 season with the team, Taurasi announced her retirement from Russian competition in December 2017.
The injury and the consequent loss in the Euroleague final had a big role in the decision of UMMC club to offer Taurasi a deal to skip her 2015 WNBA season to rest. Taurasi chose to accept the deal, giving up the WNBA title defense and returning to Phoenix Mercury only in 2016; her decision spread a big debate in the USA about salary policies in women's professional sports compared to Europe and China.
In May 2017, Taurasi signed a multi-year contract extension with the Mercury. Later that month, Taurasi 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, Taurasi became the WNBA's all-time leading scorer, passing Tina Thompson's old record. Taurasi would be selected into the 2017 WNBA All-Star Game, making it her eighth career all-star game appearance. The Mercury would finish with an 18–16 record as the fifth seed in the league. In the first round elimination game, Taurasi 14 points in a 79–69 win over the Seattle Storm. In the second round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Connecticut Sun 88–83, Taurasi scored 23 points in the win. The Mercury advanced past the second round for the second season in a row, but were eliminated by the Los Angeles Sparks in a 3-game sweep.
Taurasi is married to former teammate Penny Taylor. After 8 years of dating, Taurasi wed her former teammate, who at the time was the Phoenix Mercury Director of Player Development and Performance on May 13, 2017. She later told People Magazine in an interview “It was the most amazing and beautiful day of our lives. To be able to share our love with family and close friends meant the world to us.”
On March 1, 2018, Taylor gave birth to the couple's son, Leo Michael Taurasi-Taylor.
In the 2018 season-opener on May 18, 2018, against the Dallas Wings, Taurasi became the first player in WNBA history to make 1,000 3-pointers. On June 5, 2018, Taurasi became the first player in WNBA history to score 8,000 points in an 80–74 victory against the Liberty. On July 8, 2018, Taurasi became the league's all-time leader in field goals made in an 84–77 victory against the Connecticut Sun, surpassing Tina Thompson. Taurasi would also earn her ninth career all-star appearance after being voted into the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game. On August 1, 2018, Taurasi scored a season-high 37 points in a 104–93 victory against the Las Vegas Aces. The Mercury finished off the season 20–14 with the number 5 seed in the league. In the first round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Dallas Wings 101–83. Taurasi scored 26 points in the win. In the second round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Connecticut Sun 96–86, advancing to the semi-finals for the third year in a row, they would face off against the Seattle Storm. Down 2–0, the Mercury came back to tie up the series 2–2. In game 5, the Mercury lost 94–84, ending their season.
In April 2019, the Mercury announced that Taurasi's spouse, Penny Taylor, had been hired as an assistant coach.
In September 2019, Taurasi—who remained under contract with the Mercury—confirmed that she intended to play for the team in 2020.
In 2020, the season was delayed and shortened to 22 games in a bubble at IMG Academy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Taurasi would comeback healthy for the season and played 19 of the 22 games, on August 23, 2020, Taurasi scored a season-high 34 points in an 88–87 victory over the Washington Mystics while honoring the late Kobe Bryant on his birthday by wearing number 8 along with his last name on her jersey. The Mercury had finished 13–9 as the number 5 seed, they defeated the Washington Mystics 85–84 in the first round elimination game, however they would get eliminated by the Minnesota Lynx in the second round elimination game by a final score of 80–79.
In February 2021, Taurasi re-signed with the Mercury on a 2-year deal.
Taylor expected to give birth to the couple's second child on October 6, 2021, but the baby did not come, and after a Game 4 loss, Taurasi was forced to leave to play in a winner-take-all Game 5 to decide whether or not her team, the Phoenix Mercury, would play in the 2021 WNBA finals. After a Game 5 semi-finals win on October 8, 2021, Taurasi had a message for Taylor in her post-game interview, closing it with "Hold it in babe, I'm coming". Taurasi then flew from Las Vegas, where the game took place, back to Phoenix, arriving in time to witness Taylor give birth on October 9, 2021, at 4:24am to the couple's first daughter.