October 17, 2021 

Diana Taurasi breaks Phoenix Mercury locker room door after Game 4 loss

Tension runs high after the conclusion of WNBA Finals

CHICAGO — The frustration of losing in the WNBA Finals – the first of her career — appears to have gotten to Diana Taurasi.

Taurasi and all players of the Phoenix Mercury declined to talk to media after losing Game 4 of the WNBA Finals 80-74 to the Chicago Sky, and Taurasi in particular took out that frustration on the door into the visiting locker room, per an eyewitness.

The door was severely cracked through the middle, which an eyewitness said came from Taurasi slamming the door multiple times. Neither the WNBA nor the Phoenix Mercury commented by time of publication.

It looked, for most of the game, like the Mercury were going to force the series to head back to Phoenix for Game 5. But after a Brittney Griner jumper gave the Mercury a 72-65 lead with 4:42 to go in Game 4, Phoenix didn’t make another basket and only scored two points the rest of the game, when Taurasi made 2-of-3 free throws.

During that shooting slump, The Sky took over the game, going on a 15-2 run to capture the game and the WNBA championship. 

It appeared to be a particularly exasperating day, at times, for Taurasi, who picked up a technical foul early in the first quarter. After missing a layup on a drive where she received contact but did not get a foul called against her defender, Taurasi clapped aggressively in the face of referee Tiara Cruse — the same official Taurasi pushed over in Game 2 in an attempt to get Cruse off of Sophie Cunningham. Taurasi did not get any foul for that push back on Wednesday, but later was fined $2,500 for “inappropriate contact with an official,” per the league.

“I didn’t even know if was the ref though,” Taurasi said before Friday’s game when speaking to a small assembly of media that included The Next about the incident from Game 2. “I just saw legs on top of Sophie and I tried to get everyone off Sophie.”

In addition to the early technical foul during Sunday’s Game 4, Taurasi was whistled for three personal fouls in the first half: a defensive foul on the offensive end with 3:13 left in the first half, an offensive foul with 8:41 left in the second quarter and a charging foul with 3:51 left in the second quarter. She was subbed out and remained out of the game for the remaining of the first half after the third foul.

Taurasi didn’t commit another foul until there were 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter, a final attempt at staving off the season-ending loss. She would finish the game with 16 points on 4-for-16 shooting from the field, 3-for-9 shooting from 3-point range and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line.

It’s the first time in her WNBA career that Taurasi has lost in the WNBA Finals, after winning thrice before (2007, 2009, 2014). In talking with media on Saturday, Taurasi couldn’t specifically recall when she last lost in a championship, but said it likely last occurred “in high school.”

Taurasi was gracious in the moments immediately after the loss, fighting through the large crowds on the court to give congratulations to multiple players on the Sky. But it’s clear, in the hour between the final buzzer ending the game at 4:12 p.m. Central time and the Mercury’s bus leaving at 5:12 p.m. Central for the chartered flight back to Phoenix, that the missed chance at a fourth championship was not taken lightly.

Written by Alex Simon

SF Bay Area native, 2x grad (Elon, ASU), adjunct professor at ASU's Cronkite School, editor & journalist always looking to tell unique stories.

33 Comments

  1. Adrianne Carr on October 17, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    Poor sportsmanship from Dirty Diana and her team.

    • dreszy on October 18, 2021 at 12:45 am

      Passion expressed badly
      It was. SKY time, SKY court, SKY TITLE🏀🏆

    • Jodi on October 18, 2021 at 1:27 am

      Want to talk about Sportsmanship? The Sky fans “boo’d” the Mercury players as they came and out were being introduced. That was so disrespectful…..

      • Raymond Holland on October 19, 2021 at 2:54 am

        Not disrespectful to boo opposing team player’s

    • Louis on October 18, 2021 at 10:32 pm

      I agree with you 💯

    • Lisa Moor on October 19, 2021 at 12:50 pm

      Exactly!!

  2. Debbi on October 17, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Disappointing to see this, for sure.

    • KC on October 17, 2021 at 10:31 pm

      Not surprised at all.

  3. Dennis on October 17, 2021 at 11:52 pm

    It’s obvious that the WNBA has one BOOK of rules for the Phoenix Mercury and a different BOOK of Rules for the rest of the Teams. What happened in this series, not not enforcing their on Rule Book is going to hurt the WNBA in years to come. They let Diana get away with to much.

    • Andre Godfrey on October 19, 2021 at 4:38 am

      Facts!!

  4. Val Carr on October 18, 2021 at 6:01 am

    I was at the game. This is super sad. Chicago played to win. It was such a good game.

  5. Marla on October 18, 2021 at 7:12 am

    oh, hush she kept composure in front of those women and their families that’s sportsmanship she could’ve lost it on the court.

    • Deb Schaefer on October 19, 2021 at 3:05 am

      That’s what I was thinking, if it were really poor sportsmanship she wouldn’t have gone over and congratulated the winning players. How many men have lost their temper on and off the court but there’s a double standard for women.

  6. Aya Abdeen on October 18, 2021 at 7:47 am

    It’s painful to see Diana Taurasi having to end her season like that after all of her hard work. She’ll be back with a vengeance next season and the Mercury will run it back! Diana Taurasi and the Mercury will use this loss as a fuel for the next season!🧡💜

  7. Monica on October 18, 2021 at 8:21 am

    I understand the door, but show up for the dang press conference. Win or lose. The WNBA better fine them as they would others.

    • Dan I on October 18, 2021 at 9:47 pm

      Go mercury , I am your ride or die fan I know it is hard I couldn’t sleep but next season will be here soon.My teams are mercury and Storm Win, Lose or Draw

    • Luis on October 18, 2021 at 10:50 pm

      100 💯 I agree with you

  8. Nell on October 18, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Let women have emotions.

    • Debra Schaefer on October 19, 2021 at 3:06 am

      Right? Tired of the double standards for women in so many aspects of sports and life in general.

    • Andre Godfrey on October 19, 2021 at 4:43 am

      Yeah, but not bumping an official or damaging property of the other teams arena. She gets away with way to much dirty play and I am glad the refs didn’t allow her to get away with it. She kicked her legs out during a 3 point attempt which isn’t her normal shooting motion. Refs study players shooting form during warm ups and new She doesn’t normally do that. She’s lucky they didn’t give her the foul.

  9. Ronald Turner on October 18, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    Hey there folks blame the damn refs for not calling the fouls in the first place!

  10. MacGanesha on October 18, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    Don Lugo Diana T The Shooting Guard from Chino is The Greatest to ever grace The Court

  11. SharonnaD on October 18, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    So sad to hear this. Some respect has been lost. The team should be fined! Not a good look ladies!!

  12. Jerry Harrigan on October 18, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    Tauresi has always been a class athlete I am certain that this loss has hit home and she has realized her career is going to close She has a strong following with young girls looking to emulate her strengths by praising her accomplishments. Wanting to win is the quality of champions and having bad calls in fouling should not bring her years of quality play as a indicator of her professional career

  13. Suzanne Hughes on October 18, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    The players dont owe ish. If they dont want 2 do press who cares. We need stop being in everyone’s business ad mind our own.

    • Kay on October 19, 2021 at 8:23 am

      Well-said

  14. Rob Lair on October 18, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    This is very poor sportsmanship. They Sky deserved the win and there is no excuse to decline the interview and then damage Sky property. She is too old for this childish behavior. Little girls look up to these women and what message does this send? If you lose a game you can be a rude and nasty person.
    Diana has always been a trash talker and borderline dirty player. Followed her career since college and I am very disappointed in her actions and those of the entire team.

    • Debra Schaefer on October 19, 2021 at 3:08 am

      Poor sportsmanship is not shaking hands with the winning opponents.

  15. Vikki on October 18, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    Is this how the goat should be acting?

  16. Luis on October 18, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    I hope WNBA FINE AND CORRECT this kind of attitude!

  17. Pamela Beahan on October 19, 2021 at 8:48 am

    The game was good. A lot of contact on both sides. I say Diana needs to stop and think about her actions. Yes she is a good player but she has kids now and she needs to set an example of good sportsmanship for them. Candice Parker showed she has class. She always plays for pat summit memory which is good. I wish more people would support the women in the WNBA and in college. Their games are just as good as the guys. But they need to be treated the same. I am a fan of college and WNBA and this game was a hard fought game. It came down to who wanted it the most. Both teams played good game. Just do not ruin it by acting up as sore losers. Show respect for yourselfs and the game.

  18. Logical Lettie on October 19, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    I understand why people are upset about the door, but skipping a press conference has nothing to do with sportsmanship. They played the game and lost. And several of the Mercury players, including the big three, stayed after to congratulate and say kind words to Candace Parker and other members of the Sky team. Yes damaging the door is a bad look. But not doing a press conference has nothing to do with sportsmanship. Speaking to the media is not part of the game. That’s just for the fan’s benefit. They congratulated the Sky. Y’all just seem upset that you didn’t get to hear it.

  19. Terri Norton on October 26, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    People have feelings, and DT was able to control hers in public. Why do the press have to expose every thing done behind the scenes. I don’t think the broken door is a good look, but why tell the world about it?
    Can’t we just let some things remain private, and be taken care of in private without pretending that everyone is always perfect all the time? One of the reasons DT is admired is because of her passion. When you take a tough loss, that passion is still there, and sometimes just needs an escape valve. We are all just people in the end.

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