Here’s some very good news about Diana Taurasi. She’s has no plans to shake off the youthful vigor she has for life.
“I don’t think growing up is in the plans for me,” she said Thursday at the Mohegan Sun Arena. “It’s not on my bucket list. I feel somewhat older, but lucky to be 11 years into my career and be on such a great team [in Phoenix]. It’s taken a while for to get back to this point.
“I want to stay in the sport. I don’t know what I would do without basketball. I would have to be involved and I would love to coach. I’d be very open to it, if it was in the right spot. Who knows?
“I never think too far ahead. I try to stay happy in the moment. The key is being around people you like. It’s hard to go into the gym with people you don’t care for. We are a barbeque team. We’ve had more freaking barbeques this season.”
Taurasi, turned 32 Wednesday. She is averaging 18.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.6 assists and had 19 points and six assists in 34 minutes during Thursday’s loss to the Sun.
Before the Connecticut Sun defeated the Mercury at the casino, Taurasi had encouraging words for fans of her alma mater, which will try to win a third straight national championship without All-Americans Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley. Both are now WNBA rookies with the Washington Mystics.
“They are going to be really good again,” Taurasi said. “So next year, he [Geno Auriemma] only has two of the best players in the world [Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis]. It definitely will be a different team, but he’s found ways to win with smaller teams.
“You go back to my sophomore season [2001-2002] when we started Tamika Williams and Asjha Jones or my junior and senior years when we started Barbara Turner at the small forward. Coach finds a way to maximize skill over strength or height. They’ve been so good for so long.”
Taurasi has great respect for Hartley, who has worked her way into a regular starting role as a rookie.
“Look, Bria is a rookie and has a lot to learn. And the WNBA is a different game; it takes a while to get things right. Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins are perfect examples of that. It took a summer for them to get used to the tempo and physicality of the game.
“But once Bria figures it out, once she starts knocking down shots, she has the kind of skill package that no one else does and there is no reason why she shouldn’t have a long career.”
This summer, Taurasi will again help lead Auriemma’s 2014 World Championship team in Turkey. And she believes it will be a transitional season for the roster that may include one especially vibrant collegiate talent – Stewart, who was a first-team All-American as a sophomore.
“I think you have to consider it,” Taurasi said. “It’s sort of like what I did in 2004 when I played in the Olympics after coming out of college. Candace Parker did it, too, in 2006, by going to the Worlds. It’s a chance for a player to get her feet wet. There is room.
“It’s going to be interesting. The World Championship seems always be the transitional season. You have to look into the future a little; a lot of us are getting older now. There is great talent now everywhere; Brittney [Griner], [Elena] Delle Donne. I would throw Bria Hartley into the group. I think USA Basketball needs to think about her being on the national team. It’s always good to have options and it’s going to be interesting to see what path they take.”