Taurasi Wins Fifth EuroLeague Title

By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: March 25, 2013

Most women’s basketball fans know that WNBA players head overseas for, literally, more than half the year once the WNBA season is finished. And, in turn, that they arrive back in the States typically just days before the next WNBA season begins.

Life as a professional basketball player is vastly different overseas than it is here in America. Players may practice 2-3 times per day, use translators to understand their fellow teammates and coaches and rarely see their families (if ever).

It’s a tough grind both mentally and physically, and it takes a special person to continually play at such a high level for nearly 12 months of the year.

Therefore, it’s equally as important that in addition to what they’ve achieved in the WNBA, we also recognize and honor their accomplishments in other countries.

That said, Diana Taurasi (now a member of UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia) won her fifth EuroLeague Championship this past weekend.

Fifth.

The win came against a Fenerbahce team consisting of Cappie Pondexter and Angel McCoughtry. UMMC held Pondexter and McCoughtry to a combined 9/35 shooting en route to an 82-56 blowout.

Perhaps more moving, since 2007, Diana Taurasi has won five of the past seven EuroLeague Championships (07, 08, 09, 10 and 13 -- the previous four with Sparta&K MR Vidnoje). During the same span, she has won two WNBA Championships with the Phoenix Mercury (2007, 2009), two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012) and a FIBA World Championship (2010).

Ten championships in seven years.

Amazing.

To her credit, not only has Taurasi won everywhere she’s went, she’s adapted her game to fit each team’s respective identity. When she played for Sparta&K MR Vidnoje, she averaged close to 30 points per game because they needed her to. At UMMC this year, with a roster featuring Candace Parker, Sue Bird, Deanna Nolan and other stars, she willingly took a step back and became more of a playmaker – her 5.0 assists per game this season was fourth in the EuroLeague and she tallied five or more assists in nine games.

Below, relive Taurasi’s fifth EuroLeague Championship through her post-game interview with FIBA, along with several angles of one of Taurasi’s most incredible plays of her overseas career (which ranked No. 1 on FIBA’s Plays of the Week).

Taurasi Post-Game Interview

Taurasi No. 1 on FIBA’s Plays of the Week