Taurasi was the 2000 Naismith and Parade Magazine National High School Player of the Year. She completed her high school career ranked third (behind Giuliana Mendiola's 3,069 and Cheryl Miller's 3,446) in California state history with 3,047 points. Taurasi scored 12 points and earned MVP honors in the WBCA All-Star Game.
Taurasi was a two-time national player of the year (2003 and 2004), the first ever at UConn. She helped lead the Huskies to three consecutive national championships and four straight Final Fours. The Huskies won 139 of 147 games during her career. . . Taurasi was also a three-time Kodak All-American and became the first UConn women's player to score 2,000 points, get 600 assists and 600 rebounds. She completed her career with 2,156 points.
She was the WNBA's 2004 Rookie of the Year and has an all-star multiple times. She led the WNBA in scoring in 2006 with an average of 25.3. . . In 2007 the Mercury won their first WNBA title. With this victory Taurasi became just the seventh player ever to win an NCAA title, a WNBA title, and an Olympic gold medal, joining three other Huskies, Swin Cash, Kara Wolters and Sue Bird. . . Last season, Taurasi was named the WNBA MVP and WNBA
Finals MVP after the Mercury's second title. Taurasi and Cynthia Cooper are the only WNBA players to an MVP Award, a WNBA championship and the finals MVP in the same season.
She has also had a lucrative international career, the last five years of which have been spent with Moscow Spartak, one of the most well-known teams in the Euro League. Following the 2010 World Championships, she will play in Turkey for the first time.
Looking for time to rest
Seven years since graduating from the place she still calls "the greatest college there ever was," Taurasi can still get it done; no less the whirlwind she's always been on and off the basketball court.
"She is certainly one of the best players in our league," Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "There is no question about it."
But she is getting tired after traveling the world without break since graduating from UConn in 2004.
And her body, her meal ticket, has been telling her lately that she should at least consider taking time to rest.
"You have to. There is no way your body is going to be able to function at that level for that long without getting it some time to rest," Taurasi said this week. "You are doing your career a disservice, in the long run, by continuing to play if you are hurt and tired."
This will not be a rash decision. For instance, Taurasi, 28, will be very much center stage tonight when the Phoenix Mercury play the Connecticut Sun at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
After the WNBA season ends, Taurasi will report to the US National Team, coached by UConn's Geno Auriemma, and begin training for the World Championships in the Czech Republic.
Once that's done, she will go to Turkey to begin the next phase of her international career after five lucrative seasons in Moscow, where she won championships and even more acclaim. Her team won four straight championships, Taurasi scoring 66 points in the semifinals and finals.
For now, Taurasi, 28, said she's taken a more serious approach to conditioning, after listening to the advice NBA stars like Phoenix's Steve Nash imparted to her. She began working with the personal trainer in Moscow last season and has continued with it back in Arizona.
Part of that was diet. She gave up fast food and nearly eliminated red meat. She finished the 2009 season at 154 pounds, almost 25 less than when she was at UConn.
"It has helped me focus better and I am in good shape, as comfortable as I've been on the court," Taurasi said.