Diana Taurasi has seeked to have a redemption season after missing most of last season due to injury. The struggling Mercury team could have really used Taurasi’s presence last year as the team finished the season 15-19. But with a fresh new season in front of them, Taurasi is seeking yet another championship, hopefully leading this Phoenix team to the promise land.
Everyone for Phoenix was ready for war heading into the Wubble. The team was able to trade for sensational Point Guard Skylar Diggins-Smith to run the backcourt alongside Taurasi. Also, Brittney Griner has also worked hard over the summer to take a step forward heading into this season. It’s honest to say that the Mercury understood that the world was going to have them off the radar as far as being a championship contender. But with the hard work they’ve put in over the offseason, the team has looked to shut that noise down instantly.
Turasi took a while to get her rhythm going on the floor. In the first game against Los Angeles, she struggled to get much elevation on her shot, which forced her to shoot 4-12 from the field. Through the first few games, Turasi seemed to have that Michael Jordan effect; using anything on the court to give her motivation to play hard. After Taurasi’s tough 1-6 shooting night against Indiana, it was time to play with a different edge.
The Diana Taurasi of old returned in last Friday’s matchup against the Aces. A team they could possibly see in the postseason, it was only right for Taurasi and the Mercury to step up to a much needed challenge. Taurasi had a different mindset to score the basketball this game. She took advantage of golden opportunities to come off of high screens to get herself an easy bucket. Her assertiveness on the floor fed off on her two running mates in Diggins-Smith and Griner to have a solid game as well. Taurasi finished the game with 22 points on an efficient 7-12 shooting.
Once Taurasi began to get her groove, the rest of the team followed. Phoenix is currently on a three game winning streak looking to keep momentum going through the rest of the season.
Although Taurasi is in year 17, she seems to have more motivation in her now than she has over the past few years. She’s been hearing the noise that her career is over. And everytime she steps out on the floor, she has an answer for all of the critics who have been counting her out. And as she looks to capture her fourth championship ring, hopefully that edge she has continues to stay with her as the competition continues to get tougher.
If Phoenix is going to continue to emerge as a WNBA contender, then Taurasi has to continue to lead the way. Her intensity level has to continue to rise as the season progresses so that she can get the rest of her team on the same page. Taurasi has led the way through the past few games by turning things up a notch. Let’s hope we get the same results going forward as well.