On the night she was honored as the WNBA All-Time Three-Point leader, Diana Taurasi put on a show Saturday night in front of the X-Factor.
Taurasi showed just what she could do from beyond the arc knocking down six of her ten three-point attempts and finishing with 27 points. Her most impressive shot came with just 5.1 seconds remaining in the game.
The Mercury were down by four to the Sparks and needed a quick basket to have any chance of coming back. Brittney Griner dished the ball to Taurasi at the elbow who unloaded a clutch three to bring the Mercury within one.
“She’s amazing,” Head Coach Sandy Brondello said. “She’s a special player and that’s why I say she’s the greatest player of all time because what she can do in those big moments. She makes plays.”
In the final few minutes Coach Brondello went with a lineup that sent Taurasi to a new position after 13 seasons in the WNBA; small forward. With Leilani Mitchell and Danielle Robinson on the court, this three-guard lineup creates speed and playmaking ability that most teams can’t matchup against.
“It gives us more flexibility offensively,” Taurasi said. “Obviously playing with [Robinson] and [Mitchell], they’re such great minds for the game and they control tempo so well that it’s been pretty easy just running the lane and letting them work.”
Although the Sparks would eventually pull off an 89-87 victory, Taurasi and Griner would combine for 48 points.
“They’re our franchise players,” said Brondello. “We rely on them a lot. We didn’t shoot so well coming off the bench tonight, but we’re capable of it. So we just have to make sure that we’re staying aggressive.”
The Mercury gear up to face the Chicago Sky in Phoenix on Friday night.