Phoenix Mercury Star Diana Taurasi Breaks WNBA Scoring Record

Jun 19, 2017
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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Diana Taurasi is one of the best women's basketball players ever. She's got another record to prove it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Fans, let's hear it for the WNBA's new all-time scoring leader, Diana Taurasi.

(APPLAUSE, CHEERING)

MCEVERS: Taurasi set the record last night playing for the Phoenix Mercury. NPR's Tom Goldman reports that what's always stood out is how she has scored nearly 7,500 points.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: The basket that moved Diana Taurasi past Tina Thompson for the record was rather prosaic by Taurasi's standards, a right-handed layup. There was a barely discernible speed change at the end where Taurasi slowed and used her body to keep the defender from blocking the shot.

MECHELLE VOEPEL: She has such a great understanding of the sport and of the moment.

GOLDMAN: Mechelle Voepel covers women's basketball for espn.com. Voepel has seen so many of the Taurasi moments - the flick-of-the-wrist textbook jump shots, the slashing drives, the no-look passes. Taurasi has done it on the biggest stages - Final Fours with storied UConn, WNBA Finals, Olympics. But you can always envision her doing it as well on a playground or at the Y because, Voepel agrees, Diana Taurasi is as much gym rat as superstar.

VOEPEL: That's absolutely a great description of her. You know, college men, college women, NBA, WNBA - she knows it all. And if she's not playing, she's usually watching it.

GOLDMAN: On the court, Voepel has seen the combination of flair, intuition and fearlessness before in players like Lynette Woodard, Sheryl Swoopes, Nancy Lieberman. But Taurasi, Voepel says, came along when TV started paying attention to the women's game. Some more fans started paying attention to Taurasi, which apparently they'll get to do for a few more years. Taurasi just turned 35, but she says she still gets annoyed by a bad performance, meaning the passion's still there with more points and moments to follow. Tom Goldman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.