Watch: Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi Becomes WNBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer
Diana Taurasi’s team may have lost on Sunday night, but she managed to accomplish a major personal feat.
Diana Taurassi Passes Tina Thompson With 7,494 Career Points In Loss to Sparks
The Phoenix Mercury guard scored 19 points in a 90-59 road defeat to the Los Angeles Sparks to break the all-time record for scoring in the WNBA.
Taurasi, 35, passed Tina Thomspon as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 7,494 career points in less than 13 complete seasons. Thompson scored 7,488 points in 17 seasons. The Mercury star broke the record in the final minute of the first half on Sunday, moving around a screen by Emma Cannon near the top of the key and cutting into the lane past Nneka Ogwumike for a layup. Taurasi scored 14 of her points in the first half.
“It’s pretty special I got to do it in front of my family on Father’s Day in LA,” said Taurasi.
Ogwumike led the Sparks (8-3) with 18 points and added seven rebounds, and Candace Parker contributed 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
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After Taurasi recorded the incredible statistic with 45 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the game was momentarily stopped and the crowd at Staples Center gave her a standing ovation. Among the famous faces in attendance was former Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who was one of several NBA players to congratulate Taurasi.
“Once I got the basket it was pretty cool,” she said. “I was trying not to think about, wanted it to happen and do it organically. It did. You think about all the great players you played with, all the games.”
During halftime, Bryant spoke with ESPN’s Holly Rowe about Taurasi’s big record and joked about her nickname, which is similar to his own.
— WNBA (@WNBA) June 18, 2017
“She came up to me during the tournament, and said, ‘I’m the White Mamba,'” Bryant — whose nickname is “the Black Mamba” — said, adding that he responded, “‘Yes, you are — you’ve got every bit the temperament.'”
LeBron James and Kevin Durant also congratulated Taurasi, though they did it on Twitter:
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) June 18, 2017
Yep, DT gets buckets. Any way you want em
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) June 18, 2017
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) June 18, 2017
— NBA (@NBA) June 18, 2017
Even Thompson praised Taurasi for surpassing her record.
“Congratulations to Diana on becoming the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer. I am excited that it is Diana and it is my absolute pleasure to pass the torch on to her,” Thompson said in a statement. “Diana is one of the best players to ever play the game and definitely one of my favorites. She has done amazing things and I am so grateful that I’ve been able to share many of those with her.”
Taurasi has averaged 18.1 points per game this season, and beat Tamika Catchings (7,380 points) for second on the WNBA scoring list early this year.
“When you’re on superteams, it’s easy to score,” Taurasi said on Friday before scoring 15 points against the Chicago Sky that evening.
Taurasi also broke the league record for most career 3-pointers scored two weeks ago: she beat Katie Smith’s mark of 906 points.
Following Sunday’s loss, Taurasi boasts 927 all-time career 3-pointers.
Despite turning 35 this month, Taurasi plans to continue playing basketball for quite some time: she recently signed an extension through 2020.
Taurasi — who was WNBA MVP in 2009 and has won three league championships with the Mercury (2007, 2009 and 2014) — is also a two-time Finals MVP (2009, 2014) and helped the U.S. National Women’s Basketball Team win four Olympic gold medals (2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016).
PHOENIX, AZ – SEPTEMBER 09: Diana Taurasi #3 of the Phoenix Mercury during game two of the WNBA Finals against the Chicago Sky at US Airways Center on September 9, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.
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