After Diana Taurasi splashed a career-high eight 3-pointers on her way to a playoff career-high 37 points to lead Phoenix to a 117-91 win over Las Vegas in Game 2 of their semifinals, Mercury teammate Brianna Turner had this to say on Twitter:
Hey @WNBA I’m going to save y’all some time. Go ahead and award Diana Taurasi with the wnba goat award 🤩🐐
— Brianna Turner (@_Breezy_Briii) October 1, 2021
Fast forward two weeks – add another instant classic performance in the fourth quarter of Game 5 of Phoenix’s semifinal win over Las Vegas to send the Mercury to the WNBA Finals – and Turner’s words were proven correct. Prior to Game 1 between the Mercury and Sky, the WNBA announced that Taurasi was voted as the Greatest Of All Time by the league’s fans in the culmination of the WNBA’s 25th anniversary season celebration.
To celebrate Taurasi and the anniversary, here are 25 numbers you need to know about the WNBA’s GOAT.
Note: All stats are regular season numbers, unless indicated. All playoff stats are through games play in the 2021 semifinals and do not include the 2021 WNBA Finals.
9,174: Career Regular Season Points, 1st All-Time
Not only has Taurasi scored more points than any player in WNBA history, the margin between Taurasi and the field is staggering. She has scored 1,686 more points than any other player in league history (Tina Thompson, 7,488) and 2,279 more than any other active player (Candice Dupree, 6,895).
19.4: Career Regular Season Scoring Average, 5th All-Time
Among players that have played at least 80 career games, Taurasi ranks fifth in career scoring average at 19.4 points over the course of 472 games. She trails Cynthia Cooper (21.0 PPG in 124 games), Elena Delle Donne (20.2 in 193 games), Breanna Stewart (20.0 in 149 games) and Arike Ogunbowale (19.9 PPG in 87 career games).
What separates Taurasi from this elite group of scorers is her longevity. We’ll have to wait and see if EDD, Stewie and Arike can maintain this scoring pace for another 200+ games like Taurasi has. Of the 86 players that have played at least 300 career games, Taurasi’s 19.4 leads the way, followed by Lauren Jackson (18.9 PPG in 317 games), Angel McCoughtry (18.7 PPG in 309 games), Tina Charles (18.5 PPG in 357 games) and Lisa Leslie (17.3 PPG in 363 games).
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) October 10, 2021
1,397: Career Playoff Points, 1st All-Time
Since the GOAT title was awarded to Taurasi prior to Game 1 of the 2021 WNBA Finals, we will only count her playoff stats through the 2021 semifinals, knowing that she will add to this record with every game of this year’s championship series. Taurasi is one of only three players in WNBA history to reach at least 1,000 career playoff points, along with Tamika Catchings (1,141) and Maya Moore (1,077). Candace Parker is getting set to join that trio as she enters the Finals with 973 career playoff points.
20.9: Career Playoff Scoring Average, 4th All-Time
Among players that have played at least 10 career playoff games, Taurasi’s 20.9 points per game average in 67 career playoff games ranks fourth all-time behind Breanna Stewart (24.6 PPG in 16 games), Cynthia Cooper (23.3 PPG in 19 games) and Angel McCoughtry (21.3 PPG in 41 games). That quartet are the only players to average over 20 points per game in the postseason and all are members of the W25 squad.
5: Career Regular Season Scoring Titles, 1st All-Time
Taurasi led the WNBA in scoring in 2006 (25.0 PPG), finished third in 2007, then rattled off four straight scoring titles from 2008-2011. No other player has more than three scoring titles – Cynthia Cooper (1997-99) and Lauren Jackson (2003, 2004, 2007). Among active players, Angel McCoughtry, Brittney Griner and Tina Charles each have two scoring titles.
25.3: Points Per Game, 2006 Season
Taurasi owns the WNBA record for the highest single-season scoring average at 25.3 points per game in the 2006 season, as she scored 860 points over 34 games for the Mercury. No other player has broken the 24 points per game average in league history, with Maya Moore coming the closest (23.9 PPG in 2014).
2,032: Career Regular Season Assists, 5th All-Time
In addition to being the greatest scorer in the history of the WNBA, Taurasi is also one of the game’s best playmakers. She is the only player to rank in the top five all-time in both career points and career assists and is the only player to have led the league for a season in both scoring (five times) and assists (in 2014). The only other players to rank in the top 10 all-time in both categories are Sue Bird (7th scoring, 1st assists), Tamika Catchings (3rd scoring, 8th assists), and Cappie Pondexter (5th scoring, 7th assists).
1,205: Career Regular Season 3-Pointers Made, 1st All-Time
Once again, the advantage over all other players is enormous as Taurasi has a lead of 260 3-pointers made over second-ranked Sue Bird (945). Taurasi has led the league in 3-pointers made in 10 of her 17 seasons in the league. She also owns the top six seasons ever in 3-pointers made.
121: 3-Pointers Made, 2006 Season
Taurasi began a run of leading the WNBA in 3-pointers made for six straight seasons with a WNBA single-season record of 121 3-pointers made in 2006. Taurasi averaged career highs of 3.6 3-pointers made and 9.0 3-pointers attempted over 34 games that season. Her 39.7 3-point percentage ranked eighth in the league that season and is the second-highest mark of Taurasi’s career.
.@dianataurasi receives the GOAT ball 🏀
..and of course, we had to hook her up with a special W gift for her new 👶
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 10, 2021
1,033: Career Regular Season Points vs. Las Vegas Aces / San Antonio Stars Franchise
Taurasi has scored more points against the Las Vegas Aces/San Antonio Stars (or Silver Stars) franchise than any other team in league history. The Aces/Stars are followed closely by a pair of fellow Western Conference opponents – the Seattle Storm (1,011) and Los Angeles Sparks (1,006).
47: Single Game Career High in Points
Taurasi scored a career-high 47 points in a 111-110 win over the Houston Comets in triple-overtime on Aug. 10, 2006. Taurasi shot 17-33 from the field, 8-16 from 3-point range, and 5-7 from the free throw line. The 47 points set a WNBA single-game record at the time; it was tied a year later by Lauren Jackson, but was not broken until 2013 (Riquna Williams, 51 points). Maya Moore posted a 48-point game in 2014 and the current record holder, Liz Cambage, dropped 53 points in July 2018.
3: Career Regular Season 40-Point Games
Taurasi is tied with Maya Moore for the most 40-point games in WNBA history with three apiece. There have been 22 40-point games ever recorded, Diana and Maya each account for 13.6% of those games.
49: Career Regular Season 30-Point Games
There have been 598 30-point games in league history and Taurasi accounts for 8.2% of those games. Las Vegas’ Angel McCoughtry ranks second in 30-point games with 32 for her career.
231: Career Regular Season 20-Point Games
Taurasi leads all players in 20-point games, with a commanding lead over second-ranked Tina Charles with 157 such games. Taurasi has played 472 career regular season games (which ranks 8th all-time) and has scored at least 20 points in 48.9% of those games.
14: Taurasi’s Single Game Career High in Assists
There are 13 players in WNBA history to dish out at least 14 assists in a game. Taurasi is one of only three of those players to have done it more than once, joining two of the best passers in league history – Courtney Vandersloot (10x) and Ticha Penicheiro (8x).
8: Taurasi’s Single Game Career High in 3-Pointers Made
Taurasi set the WNBA record for 3-pointers made in a game when she made eight 3s in the same game that she scored her career high 47 points. Taurasi’s mark would be tied by four other players before it was broken by Indiana’s Kelsey Mitchell in 2019. There have been nine games in WNBA history in which a player has made at least eight 3-pointers. Taurasi accounts for four of those games and is the only player to have multiple games with at least eight threes.
Getting the flowers they deserve 💐
The #W25 are honored at Game 1 🧡
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 10, 2021
4: WNBA Finals Appearances
Taurasi led the Phoenix Mercury to their fourth WNBA Finals appearance in her 17th WNBA season. Taurasi and the Mercury have won the championship in each of their first three Finals appearances – 2007, 2009 and 2014. Can they keep that streak alive against the Sky in 2021 in a rematch of the 2014 Finals?
3: WNBA Championships
As mentioned above, the Mercury are 3-0 when advancing to the WNBA Finals, capturing titles in 2007 (five games vs. Detroit), in 2009 (five games vs. Indiana) and 2014 (three-game sweep vs. Chicago). Taurasi is 9-4 in 13 WNBA Finals games with averages of 20.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks, with 45-37-80 shooting splits. In her 430 minutes on the court during the Finals, the Mercury have outscored their opponents by a total of 114 points.
2: WNBA Finals MVPs
Taurasi (2009, 2014) is one of five players in league history to be awarded WNBA Finals MVP more than once, joining the only four-time winner Cynthia Cooper (1997-2000) as well as fellow two-time winners Lisa Leslie (2001, 2002), Sylvia Fowles (2015, 2017) and Breanna Stewart (2018, 2020).
1: Regular Season MVP
This may be the most surprising number on this entire list – that the Greatest Of All Time was only named the league’s Most Valuable Player once, when she captured the award in 2009 prior to her second title run. Taurasi’s breakthrough in 2009 came after four top five-finishes in the voting beginning in her rookie season. Taurasi has seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes in the MVP voting over the course of her career.
14: All-WNBA Selections
Taurasi has been named to the All-WNBA Team a record 14 times in her 17 seasons. And considering two of her seasons were cut short due to injury (eight games played in 2012, six games played in 2019) and the 2021 team has yet to be announced, so far the only thing that has kept Diana from being named one of the league’s top 10 players each season has been injury. Taurasi’s 10 First Team selections (2018, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2004) are also the most in league history.
88.9%: Taurasi’s Win Percentage in Winner-Take-All Games
Taurasi hit three 3-pointers, scored 14 points and had a clutch block in the closing minutes to lead Phoenix to a Game 5 win over Las Vegas to send the Mercury back to the WNBA Finals. It was the 18th time that Taurasi has played in a win-or-go-home game and she improved to 16-2 in those games. Not only does Taurasi own the best record in these games, but she also has the highest scoring average at 22.6 points per game.
2,187: Career Regular Season Free Throws Made, 1st All-Time
No player has earned more trips to the free throw line (2,513 career free throw attempts) and no player has made more free throws than Taurasi. She has 183 more free throws made than any other player (Tamika Catchings, 2nd at 2,004) and has 681 more than any other active player (Angel McCoughtry, 3rd at 1,506).
Taurasi made the most of her trips to the free throw line as her 87.0% career free throw percentage ranks second all-time behind fellow W25 honoree Becky Hammon (89.7%). Taurasi’s wife Penny Taylor ranks third all-time at 86.8%. For future reference, do not get into a free throw shooting contest with that family.
58.62%: Career Regular Season True Shooting Percentage
A sign of a truly great scorer is the ability to score on all levels – in the paint, in the mid-range, from beyond the arc, and at the free throw line – and Taurasi checks all four of those boxes. True shooting percentage adjusts a player’s traditional field goal percentage to account for the value of 3-point shots and free throws. For her career, Taurasi scored 39.4% of her points from 3-point range, 36.8% from 2-point range, and 23.8% from the free throw line.
621: Career Regular Season Clutch Points (Dating Back to 2006)
Clutch data – which measures team and player performance in games when the score is within five points in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime – is available since 2006 when the WNBA switch from two halves to four quarters. During that time, Taurasi led the league in clutch scoring three times (2006, 2013, 2017), finished in the top five four other times (2008, 2010, 2011, 2014), and has never finished outside the top 12 in a season in which she played over half of the season’s games.