Diana Taurasi Named USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year

Diana Taurasi Named USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year

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Diana Taurasi/WNBA
Diana Taurasi/WNBA

In honor of her impressive performance at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and with the USA Basketball Women’s National Team this past summer, Diana Taurasi earned an unprecedented fourth USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year award. Taurasi previously earned the honor in 2006, 2010 and 2012.

“I have been really lucky to learn and play with the best in the game,” Taurasi said. “It makes one go to a different level.”

At the 2016 Olympics from Aug. 6-20 in Rio de Janeiro, Taurasi started in all eight wins and averaged a team-best 15.6 points to go with 3.3 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 24.3 minutes per game to help the USA to a sixth-straight Olympic gold medal.

“Diana has been an important member of USA Basketball teams since she first played on a U18 team in 2000, and it is no surprise that she is being honored as the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year for an incredible fourth time” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director. “In 2016, she was one of three captains and a true team leader on and off the court. We are grateful for her commitment.”

This year marks the 37th time USA Basketball has presented its Female Athlete of the Year award, which was established in 1980 to recognize a USA Basketball athlete who, during the year of the award, made a significant impact on the success of her team’s performance.

“When you think about how impactful she was right from the beginning of the tournament it’s unbelievable,” said Geno Auriemma, USA Women’s National Team and University of Connecticut head coach, as well as a 2016 USA Basketball Co-National Coach of the Year. “When you have a player that can single-handedly put the team in a position to win right from the opening tip, you can’t overestimate how much confidence every other player on the team has, because they know what Diana can do. I know everyone on the team felt that way, and D always comes up big in the biggest moment. That was certainly a big moment, and nobody was bigger than her.”

Taurasi is one of five players in U.S. women’s Olympic history with four gold medals, and she is tied with Tamika Catchings, Teresa Edwards and Lisa Leslie with a total of six gold medals in Olympic and World Championship play, trailing only Sue Bird’s total of seven combined gold medals.

During the 2016 Olympics, she shot 56.9 percent from the field (41-72 FGs), 57.9 percent from 3-point (33-57 3pt FGs) and 90.9 percent from the free throw line (10-11 FTs).

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