Diana Taurasi says ‘magic escaped’ to Phoenix Mercury in WNBA Finals loss


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Diana Taurasi says 'magic escaped' to Phoenix Mercury in WNBA Finals loss

One day after squandering a fourth-quarter lead by facing elimination in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals, the Phoenix Mercury players addressed what went wrong after deciding not to speak to the media right after Sunday’s result. .

“We’ve been so good at the end of games that we thought we were going to make it, because that’s what we do,” Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi said Monday of the 80-74 loss to Chicago Sky, which prevented a Game 5 back in Phoenix on Tuesday. “And it didn’t turn out that way. I think at one point, the five of us missed a layup.

“So the magic got out of our hands pretty quickly and the reality hit me, and we were a pretty bleak team.”

Taurasi explained why the team did not speak to the media on Sunday, saying they “only had to take a minute.” When asked about a door at Wintrust Arena that was damaged after the game, Taurasi said, “There were a lot of doors in there.”

The Mercury was fined $ 10,000 by the WNBA on Tuesday for the players not participating in the post-game media session.

The 39-year-old Taurasi reiterated what he said Saturday about taking time over the next several months to decide whether to return for an 18th. WNBA season in 2022. She was limited to 16 regular season games this year with injuries to the sternum, ankle and foot.

“I’m probably the only person in the history of the WNBA to break his sternum,” Taurasi said. “I haven’t sprained my ankle since high school. So it’s a bit of everything, right? Bad luck, age, wear and tear. Then we’ll see where I go from here. While it’s been a lot of fun on the court, it’s been a battle out of it. “

Taurasi hoped that 2021 could bring her fourth WNBA title, but she still felt it was one of her best experiences.

“I am just as proud to be on this team as I am on those championship teams,” she said. “I’ve never seen a team fight so hard, ever. And obviously I’ve been on a lot of good teams. I’ve been on some decent teams, but this team had a tenacity that was just unbelievable. I really enjoyed it.”

Also guard Skylar Diggins-Smith said of falling short of the championship, “It hurt a lot. It just motivates me. I thought the camaraderie of this group was not compared to the teams I have played in the past. They are resilient people on this team.” .

Diggins-Smith said it meant a lot to her to win a gold medal at the Olympics this year in terms of her confidence going forward.

“It was a lifelong dream for me,” Diggins-Smith said. “Even though I didn’t get to play that much, I learned a lot from that experience and it really motivated me to come back to the WNBA for an effort with this team.

“This year was an important part of my maturing process and my journey in this league. Taking a turn and at least testing what it’s like to go far in the playoffs.”

Taurasi, Diggins-Smith and Brittney Griner were all Olympians, and Griner was also a MVP candidate this season. She scored 28 points guiding the Mercury in Game 4 and averaged 21.8 points and 8.4 rebounds this postseason.

Griner, who turned 31 on Monday, is going to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia in the WNBA offseason, and has plans to come back even better by 2022. One of his personal goals is to win the MVP award of the WNBA in his career.

“That means I’m really operating at full capacity,” Griner said, adding that she would also like to add to the two Best Defensive Player of the Year awards she already has.

“That is an area where I am being critical of myself. It is a place where I can definitely improve. As for my role as leader, I just used my voice a little more. I think this year I was more vocal than ever. So just do that plus keep me calm on the floor. “


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