Diana Taurasi's ho-hum college career included three straight NCAA titles as a member of the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team and back-to-back Naismith National Player of the Year (2003-04) awards. Saturday, Taurasi will become the No. 1 overall selection in WNBA Draft 2004 and a member of the Phoenix Mercury. Taurasi recently spoke with WNBA News from Denver, where she is trying out for the USA basketball team that will compete in this summer's Olympics.
Q: What are your expectations for Saturdayís Draft?
Connecticut guard Diana Taurasi is set to become the top pick in the 2004 Draft.
"Going into the Draft, Iím just going to enjoy it, not count on anything. Hopefully, something good is going to happen. Whether I go one, five or in the second round, I really donít care. Iím just excited for the opportunity to play in the league."
Q: Phoenix has said it will select you first overall.
"Thatís just an honor. All the hard work is finally paying off a little bit."
Q: Are you familiar with the Mercury organization?
"I know they are looking for a new coach and have some pretty good candidates. I know they got Penny Taylor from the expansion draft, so I think they are putting together a good group of people to hopefully get back on the winning track."
Q: What are your expectations for your rookie season?
"As a rookie, Iím going to have to learn and at the same time, hopefully, give a little bit of what I have. Iím just going to try to go in with a lot of energy and try to make this team get back on the map."
Q: Have you thought about what the transition is going to like going from the college to the WNBA game?
"Itís a totally different game, different teammates. Itís a totally different situation. Thereís going to be an adjustment period. Iíve always been pretty good at relating to new people, and I think thatís what helps you out the most when you are on a new team. Iím not worried about that part. And the basketball part will take care of itself."
Q: At what point did you realize that playing in the WNBA was an attainable goal?
"After you see so many of your college teammates go and be so successful, I knew if I worked hard I could make it."
Q: You won three straight NCAA titles. How difficult will it be coming into a rebuilding situation?
"Thatís always something thatís hard to adjust to, but if you keep positive and keep working hard this will turn positive and go your way."
Q: What's it like playing on the USA Basketball team?
"Just being on the same team with players like Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, Sheryl Swoopes, these great players I grew up watching, and now to get an opportunity to play with them... that's satisfying on its own. And whether I make the team or not, it's been a great a experience."