All-Star to make first WNBA Playoff appearance

One-on-One with Diana Taurasi

By Steven J. Koek,
Posted: Aug. 5, 2007

The wait is over for Diana Taurasi. With the Sparks loss at Houston on Friday night, the Mercury clinched their first appearance in the WNBA Playoffs since 2000 and ensuring Tauariís first postseason as a pro. caught up with the All-Star guard from the team bus in Los Angeles, where the Mercury will face the Sparks on Tuesday night. Taurasi talked about the excitement of securing a postseason spot, what to expect the rest of the way and her plans while in her hometown of L.A. Congratulations on making the playoffs. How excited are you about making your first postseason appearance?

Mercury guard Diana Taurasi: Weíre all pretty excited. Itís something we all thought we could achieve. Now itís not just making the playoffs, but finishing the season on a strong note so when we do start the playoffs we have a good feeling about ourselves. Tough loss to the Storm in Seattle on Saturday night. How much of a factor was clinching the postseason berth the night before without having to play a game?

Taurasi: I donít know. Seattle played really well. We fought hard the whole game. We fell behind pretty big in the beginning and then chipped away at it every quarter, we won the last two quarters. Sometimes a lead is too big at the beginning, which is hard to overcome.

Now, weíre excited to be here in L.A. and play the Sparks on Tuesday. How do you approach the final five games of the regular season as you jockey for playoff seeding in the West?

Taurasi: Now weíre playing for home court advantage. We have an opportunity to grab one of those top spots and home court is so important in the playoffs. Weíll still show up very hungry and very excited for each game. The last couple of seasons the Mercury barely missed out on the postseason. What is the difference in this yearís team that got you over the hump?

Taurasi: Without a doubt it was the fact that we got off to a good start. The last couple of seasons we played well after the (All-Star) break, so definitely getting off to a good start helped us this year. Did it take a while to adjust to Paul Westheadís game and the running style?

Taurasi: With anything it takes a little bit of getting used to. Now weíre in our second year. Heís comfortable with us; weíre comfortable with him so things are going along a little easier and quicker in picking up things. Where are your emotions at now that you know you will be participating in the WNBA Playoffs?

Taurasi: Itís going to be exciting. This is my four year and I never got to play in the postseason until now. But weíre not looking at it as just happy to make the playoffs. I think we have bigger sights in our future. This is just the tip of the iceberg. You donít often get to spend much time in Los Angeles during the regular season. Do you have any special plans before facing the Sparks on Tuesday?

Taurasi: Yeah, itís going to be really nice. Iíll get to see the folks tonight and spend the night at my house, which I havenít done for a while. So, it will be nice to see friends and family here.