Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi has much to say in the aftermath of her team’s heartbreaking loss. The champion was caught off-guard by the Washington Mystics, who pulled out a Game 5 victory with an 88-85 win on Sunday night at Capital One Arena.
Diana Taurasi says “magic slipped away” from Phoenix Mercury in WNBA Finals loss. Diana Taurasi has been a key player for the Phoenix Mercury since she was drafted in 2006. In Game 3 of the WNBA Finals, Diana Taurasi scored 18 points and had 5 assists to help her team take a 2-1 lead over the Minnesota Lynx. However, the Mercury lost Game 4 and fell behind 3-2 in the series.
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ESPN.com’s Mechelle Voepel
- Mechelle Voepel is an espnW reporter that covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports. Voepel has been with ESPN since 1996 and has covered women’s basketball since 1984.
After electing not to talk to the media immediately after Sunday’s defeat, the Phoenix Mercury players discussed what went wrong a day after losing a fourth-quarter lead while facing elimination in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals.
“We’ve been so outstanding at the end of games that we assumed we’d pull it out because that’s just what we do,” Phoenix player Diana Taurasi said after the team’s 80-74 defeat to the Chicago Sky on Monday, preventing a Game 5 in Phoenix on Tuesday. “But it didn’t turn out like that.” I believe we all missed a layup at one time.
“So the enchantment went from our grasp very soon, and reality set in, and we were a really distraught group.”
On Sunday, Taurasi addressed the team’s decision not to talk to the media, stating they “just had to take a minute.” “There were a lot of doors in there,” Taurasi remarked when asked about a door to the Mercury’s locker room at Wintrust Arena being destroyed after the game.
Taurasi, 39, restated her Saturday statement that she would take some time over the next three months to determine whether she will return to the WNBA for her 18th season in 2022. Due to sternum, ankle, and foot ailments, she was restricted to 16 regular-season games this season.
Taurasi added, “I’m probably the only person in WNBA history who has suffered a shattered sternum.” “Since high school, I hadn’t rolled an ankle. Isn’t it a little bit of everything? Bad luck, old age, and wear and tear are all factors. So we’ll see where this leads. Off the court, it’s been a fight as much as it’s been enjoyable on the court.”
Taurasi was aiming for a fourth WNBA championship in 2021, but she still considered it one of her finest experiences.
She remarked, “I’m just as pleased to be on this squad as I am on previous championship teams.” “I’ve never seen a squad fight as hard as this one. And I’ve clearly been a part of a number of successful teams. I’ve been on some good teams, but this one had an astounding amount of grit. It was a lot of fun.”
Skylar Diggins-Smith, a fellow guard, said of missing out on the title, “It was excruciating. It just serves to irritate me. I believed this group’s cohesiveness was unrivaled by any other team I’d ever been on. This squad has a lot of overcomers.”
At terms of her confidence moving ahead, Diggins-Smith said winning a gold medal in the Olympics this year meant a lot to her.
“It had been a longstanding ambition of mine,” Diggins-Smith said. “Even though I didn’t receive much playing time, I learned a lot from that experience, and it inspired me to come back to the WNBA and make a strong push with this squad.”
“This year was a pivotal year in my development as a player and in my progression in the league. Turning a corner and getting a taste of what it’s like to go all the way in the playoffs.”
All three Olympians, Taurasi, Diggins-Smith, and Brittney Griner, were MVP candidates this season. She led the Mercury with 28 points in Game 4 and averaged 21.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in the playoffs.
Griner, who turns 31 on Monday, will spend the WNBA summer playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia, with intentions to return even stronger in 2022. One of her personal ambitions is to win the WNBA MVP award at some point during her career.
“That means I’m really going on all cylinders,” Griner said, adding that she’d want to add to her two Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
“That is an area in which I am critical of myself. That’s an area where I can surely improve. Just utilize my voice a little bit more in my leadership capacity. This year, I think I was the most outspoken I’ve ever been. So just keep it calm on the court and do that more.”
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