September 12, 2023 

Diana Taurasi returning for 20th season with Phoenix Mercury

'She has no choice. I told her she can't retire until I retire'

Another WNBA season will begin in 2024 and Diana Taurasi will be on the court for the Phoenix Mercury.

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On Monday, the 41-year-old guard confirmed to reporters during Mercury exit interviews that she indeed will fulfill the second year of the two-year contract she signed in the offseason.

“I’ve got another year (on) my contract and I’m definitely going to fulfill that,” Taurasi said.

The Mercury’s season ended Sunday, but Taurasi was already preparing for next season on Monday.

“I’m just excited,” Taurasi said. “I’m ready to go. I already worked out this morning and the (offseason’s) started for me already.”

Taurasi had an up-and-down season in 2023. The year started out slow for her, but Taurasi picked her play up as she neared the milestone of becoming the first player in WNBA history to reach 10,000 career points. She even had 42 points, her career-high for a regulation game, on the night she reached 10,000. While aspects of her game, such as defense, have depreciated, she showed she is still valuable to the success of the Mercury, appearing in eight of the team’s nine victories this season.

Taurasi has dealt with numerous injuries over the past few seasons dating back to 2019. In 2023, she missed 14 games due to injury. In 26 appearances, she averaged 16 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Her field goal percentage of 40.3% was her highest since the 2020 season. Her 3-point percentage of 34.2% was a tick above where it was in 2021 and 2022 as well.

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Mercury center Brittney Griner, who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, said she has no plans of going anywhere but Phoenix. She was her typical, jovial self when discussing her longtime colleagues’s decision to play at least one more season.

“I’m looking forward to next year and (Diana) better come back,” Griner said. “She has no choice. I told her she can’t retire until I retire.”

Interim head coach Nikki Blue was also grateful Taurasi decided to return.

“Amazing,” Blue said. “Thank goodness. The (greatest of all time) is back. Never have to question Diana’s offseason and her training. She has this incredible work ethic. And the reason why she’s able to last so long in this league is just her being able to preserve her body. She takes care of her body really well and she has a work ethic like none other. And so I’m actually excited to see what is to come for this next year. … Is this the retirement year? I don’t know.”

Written by Jesse Morrison

Jesse Morrison covers the Phoenix Mercury for The Next. A native of Roanoke, Va., Jesse moved to Arizona in 2017 to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, graduating in 2021 with a degree in sports journalism. Outside of The Next, Jesse works for Arizona Sports, co-hosting an Arizona State podcast, producing a radio show and writing for their website.

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