A Decade of Diana: No. 2
By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: April 4, 2013
In celebration of Diana Taurasi being named as the X-Factor’s Favorite Mercury Player of All-Time, and coinciding with the superstar entering her 10th year with the Mercury in 2013, PhoenixMercury.com has launched a special tribute series entitled, “A Decade of Diana.” Every Thursday starting Feb. 7 for 10 weeks, we’ll relive Taurasi’s 10 best moments with the team since her arrival in 2004.
Taurasi Moment No. 2: August 10, 2006
On August 10, 2006 against the Houston Comets, Diana Taurasi scored 47 points.
At the time, it was a WNBA single game record (Lauren Jackson would later tie the mark in 2007).
Incredibly, Taurasi reached the plateau on 17-33 shooting (52 percent) and 8-16 from 3-point range (50 percent). In addition to her scoring, she dished out nine assists, grabbed six rebounds and turned the ball over only two times in 44 minutes of action.
The Mercury ended up winning the game 111-110 in triple-overtime.
Perhaps even more amazing, had she not fouled out of the game with three minutes left in the second overtime, it’s entirely reasonable to assume that Diana Taurasi would’ve passed the 50-point mark with ease.
If I’m honest, I could end the commentary now and it would still be exceedingly obvious why this game is No. 2 on the list of Diana Taurasi’s Top 10 moments in Phoenix Mercury history.
But then you’d miss this (hopefully) thought-provoking story.
Forty-seven points is a lot of points. Duh. Pretty straightforward, no? Still, the way Taurasi tallied those points has always fascinated me.
So, a couple of years ago I asked her about it.
I knew she was “in the zone,” but I felt like there had to be more to it than that. I mean, I’ve played basketball all my life, and I’ve never once experienced being in such a fluid rhythm where scoring that many points would be a realistic possibility – and I’m light-years removed from Taurasi’s skill level.
Heck, I’m not sure I could score 47 points playing against second-graders.
“It’s just a feeling you get,” Taurasi said about being in the proverbial zone. “I don’t really know how else to describe it. You put in the work for months in practice to be as prepared as you possibly can be when you step out onto the floor. It doesn’t matter how many points you get, how many assists, rebounds, whatever. You do what you need to do to get the win.”
True, but scoring 47 points is ridiculous – in a good way.
Thus, I prodded a little further. Doesn’t she see how remarkable that accomplishment was?
But Taurasi wasn’t having any of it.
“Nah,” she said with assurance. “Other people had great games that night. Penny [Taylor] hit some big shots, too. I don’t care about individual stats and I never have. If we didn’t win that game, it wouldn’t have meant anything.”
Taurasi does make a good point. Yet, on August 10, 2006, the Mercury needed her to score 47 points to get the win. They also needed her nine assists -- the perennial All-Star accounted for over 64 percent of the Mercury’s offense that night.
“I get what you’re saying,” Taurasi said after I relayed those numbers. She continued, trying to make a point. “But if [Kristen] Rasmussen doesn’t get 10 boards, we don’t have as many opportunities to score. Plus, everyone took care of the ball. I think we only had 11 or 12 turnovers that game. That’s pretty good with our style of play and in a game that went into three overtimes.”
My first thought was, “How in the world did Taurasi remember that Kristen Rasmussen reached double-digits in rebounds on August 10, 2006?”
But that’s Diana for you.
Even on a night where she scored nearly 50 points in what many people described as one of the greatest games in WNBA history at the time, it’s her teammates whom Taurasi still feels deserved the most praise.
A Decade of Diana
Visit PhoenixMercury.com on Thursday, April 11 for the No. 1 moment in “A Decade of Diana.”