The opposition fears Taurasi's passing as much as her scoring. Look at the player on the right and you'll see what I mean. - Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
Today, USA Basketball named Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi as its female athlete of 2012. Taurasi was the leading scorer for the Americans and led them to an Olympic Gold Medal finish in the London Games. It was also the fifth consecutive Gold Medal for Team USA.
For Team USA in the 2012 Olympics, Taurasi averaged 12.4 points per game, shooting over 45% overall, and made 43% of her three point shots (15-35). The 15 made shots was well above any other American where Sue Bird was second in threes made, making 7-21 shots. With a really dominant roster all around for Team USA, Taurasi managed to be in the Top 15 overall in the Olympics for assists dished out and for overall scoring, was in the top five for three point shots made, and was 2nd overall for free throw percentage at 96% (24-25 shots). If Team USA was not as dominant all around as it was. she likely would have had bigger numbers as a scorer and as a distributor.
Taurasi also had her fourth straight Euroleague scoring title, averaging 20.9 points per game for Galatasaray, a Turkish team in the 2011-2012 basketball season, and led them to the Final Eight in Euroleague play. She is currently averaging 16.7 points and 5 assists per game for UMMC Ekaterinburg based in Russia in the 2012-2013 Euroleague season.
Taurasi was sidelined for much of the 2012 WNBA season, including a hip flexor and ankle injury, which limited her to 8 games overall, but she still averaged 14 points a game in just over 20 minutes of play. Her absence did not come without controversy because she did play relatively well in the Olympics, and still missed many games after the Olympics were over. That said, the Mercury still suffered a number of injuries to other notable players such as Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree that would have dampened lofty expectations for the season regardless.
I look forward to seeing Diana back at full strength for 2013, which will be an exciting season for the Mercury as Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree return from injury, DeWanna Bonner should still be a big scoring boost off the bench, and with her team having the #1 overall pick in the draft, it's likely that the team will have a much stronger boost in the low post.