August 4, 2023
Diana Taurasi becomes first player in WNBA history to score 10,000 points
Third-quarter 3-pointer gets it done
PHOENIX — Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi achieved a first-of-its-kind WNBA milestone on Thursday by scoring her 10,000th career point. The record came on a 3-pointer with 8:23 remaining in the third quarter off of an assist from guard Moriah Jefferson.
Ahead of Thursday’s home game against the Atlanta Dream, the Mercury put a placard on every seat preemptively congratulating Taurasi. The placard also noted that she scored every one of those points in a Mercury uniform. The team also brought in baby goats — a play on the acronym G.O.A.T., for “greatest of all time” — for players and fans to interact with.
Many fans wore Taurasi’s Mercury and Team USA jerseys and shirts in the stands, and a few held a poster that counted down the points she needed to score to reach 10,000. The audience erupted in thunderous applause when the Mercury’s public address announcer uttered Taurasi’s name in the starting lineup.
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Fans cheered again when Taurasi made her first 3-pointer of the game in the first quarter. She scored 10 points in the first half to give the Mercury a seven-point lead at halftime.
In the second half, Taurasi scored eight points in less than two minutes to reach the vaunted milestone. After her clinching 3-pointer swished through the net, she turned back downcourt and stretched her arms out wide.
Play was stopped, and her teammates flooded the court to celebrate with her. Confetti fell in Phoenix’s purple and orange, and the videoboard flashed a graphic highlighting Taurasi’s 10,000 points.
Mercury general manager Jim Pitman gave the game ball to Taurasi moments later, and the public address announcer said that there would be a full presentation in her honor after the game.
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“On behalf of the WNBA and basketball fans worldwide, I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Diana on reaching the incredible milestone of 10,000 points as she continues to author new chapters in an illustrious WNBA career,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “I have had the pleasure of watching her play first as a fan and now as Commissioner of the WNBA. Diana’s achievement stands as a testament to her skill, determination, and unwavering dedication to the game, which along with her competitive nature, has captivated fans with her incredible scoring ability, clutch performances, and unparalleled basketball IQ. We are honored to witness this milestone.”
At 41 years old, Taurasi is in her 19th season in the WNBA, all with the Mercury. She has been known for her impressive scoring skills since she was the first overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft out of UConn. She has led the WNBA in scoring five times (2006, 2008-2011), won league MVP in 2009, been named to 14 All-WNBA teams, and been an All-Star 10 times.
Taurasi also led the Mercury to championships in 2007, 2009 and 2014 and won two Finals MVP awards. WNBA fans voted her as the greatest player of all time during the league’s 25th season in 2021.
Related reading: Diana Taurasi’s legacy: the WNBA villain we all deserve
In 2017, Taurasi surpassed Tina Thompson’s 7,488 career points to become the league’s all-time leading scorer. In response, then-Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton renamed a street after her: 7489 Taurasi Way, near the Mercury’s home arena, Footprint Center.
Taurasi also holds WNBA records for career 3-pointers (1,341) and points per game in a season (25.3 in 2006).
She has continued to be a prolific scorer in her 40s, averaging 16.1 points per game this season entering Thursday. Fittingly, she scored above that average to clinch the milestone, delivering on the placards’ promise and leaving the Footprint Center fans jubilant.
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Written by Aya Abdeen
Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next Hoops since December 2022. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.