Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Diana Lurena Taurasi (born June 11, 1982 in Chino, California), is a WNBA basketball player who plays for the Phoenix Mercury. Taurasi's father is a native of Italy, while her mother is from Argentina.
After having a notable high school career, Taurasi began to play for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team during the 2000-2001 season. She helped her team win three straight national championships, the last one coming in the 2003-2004 season. In Connecticut, Taurasi was admired by many fans. Taurasi won the 2003 Naismith Award and College Player of the Year Awards.
In April 2004, Taurasi was the first pick in the WNBA Draft to the Phoenix Mercury, a team that had earned the first selection at the draft with an 8-26 record in the 2003 season. Soon after, she began to build a supportive fan base in Phoenix as she had in Connecticut. She had 26 points and led the Mercury to an 84-76 victory over the Seattle Storm in her debut as a WNBA player.
In her first season as a WNBA player, Taurasi led her team past the number of victories that the Mercury posted the year before, and she ranked the league's leaders in a number of categories.
Taurasi wears number 3, the number she wore at UConn, with the Mercury. Her jersey has replaced Michele Timms' number 7 jersey as the best-selling Mercury jersey.
On June 19, 2004, she was selected to represent the United States with the United States women's national basketball team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. She scored 22 points that night against fellow national team member Lisa Leslie and the Los Angeles Sparks, but could not prevent a 76-74 Mercury defeat.
Taurasi helped the United States women's national basketball team win the Olympic gold medal in 2004.
In September of 2004, she was awarded with the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award.
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