Mercury superstar Taurasi makes WNBA history


By Patrick Ralph

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The fact that Phoenix outlasted Dallas in the league opener Friday was just a footnote to the real story of the game. Just like she has done for what seems like forever, the Mercury's Diana Taurasi, the greatest player in franchise history, stole the show.

Taurasi scored a game-high 26 points, including the 1,000th three-pointer in her WNBA career. She is the first player in league history to reach that milestone. It also landed her in pretty elite company with some NBA All-Stars. Taurasi joined Warriors’ guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, as well as Trail Blazers’ guard Damian Lillard, as the only players to make 1,000 career threes in less than 400 games played.

As Taurasi enters the twilight of her career, the argument against her being the greatest offensive player in league history is becoming more difficult to make.

Last season, she surpassed Hall of Famer Tina Thompson to become the all-time leading scorer in the WNBA. Taurasi has led the league in scoring five different times. She averaged a career-best 25.3 points per game in 2006, the most of any leading scorer in league history.

Taurasi has been named to nine All-WNBA First Teams and eight All-Star teams, not to mention capturing the 2009 MVP award.

And while Taurasi will be turning 36 this season, she is still one of the best, and most deadly, shooters in the game. Several other household names would certainly make the cut, but it would be hard not to choose Taurasi as the player you want with the ball in their hands with the game on the line.

Taurasi has not only been just a great scorer and offensive player in her career; she has been a winner, too. She has three WNBA championships on her resume, two of which resulted in her winning Finals MVP.

Of course, Taurasi’s critics will be quick to point out that she has never been a great defensive player. But her absolute and utter dominance on the offensive end has placed her in the conversation as being the greatest player in WNBA history.

Those who watch Taurasi play are witnessing greatness. Her swagger, on and off the court, has inspired an entire generation of young girls hoping to someday play in the WNBA.