Los Angeles, CA — There were 45 seconds left on the clock in the first half of a heated game against the Los Angeles Sparks when Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi sunk the shot that made history.
One simple layup in the second quarter marked Taurasi’s 14th point of the game, the 7,489th point of her career and earned her a spot in women’s basketball history, surpassing Tina Thompson as the all-time leading scorer in the WNBA.
But Taurasi is no stranger to success.
She’s won three WNBA championships, an MVP title, four Olympic gold medals, has been selected to seven WNBA All-Star teams and nine All-WNBA First-Teams. The list of accolades goes on and on, as she is only one of nine women to win an Olympic gold medal, a NCAA Championship and a WNBA Championship.
Earlier this season, Taurasi surpassed former teammate Katie Smith as the WNBA’s all-time leading 3-point shooter—more than enough to fuel the confidence of any athlete.
Yet the southern California native, who calls herself “just a kid from Chino,” was able to accept perhaps her highest honor yet only eight miles away from her hometown and while surrounded by friends, family and fellow basketball superstars.
Former Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant spent his Father’s Day joined in on the standing ovation for Taurasi. Bryant mentioned that he and Taurasi were “cut from the same cloth.”
“Her work ethic and her body of work…it’s extremely consistent. She works extremely hard and she takes no crap,” Bryant said with a smile.
He continued on the say how special it was for his daughters to experience such a special moment in women’s history.
Sparks head coach Brian Agler also spoke highly of Taurasi and her accomplishments, saying she is not only one of the greatest players of all time, but a joy to have as a teammate and to play against.
Agler’s remarks were illustrated by Sparks forward Candace Parker who was the first to congratulate Taurasi on the court.
Taurasi’s accomplishment was the highlight of the game, but it was not the only record broken during the 40 minutes of play. Los Angeles completed the first 10 minutes with their highest scoring quarter of the year at 36 points. By the fourth, the Sparks saw their biggest lead of the year as they led the Mercury by 31 points.
Ultimately, Los Angeles took the win with a final score of 90-59. Performing exceptionally well was none other than leading lady Candace Parker, who finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
More impressively, all but one player on the Sparks’ roster made the board with points by the end of the game.
Even though Taurasi’s success came during an untimely blowout loss for the Mercury, it was nonetheless a terrific afternoon at the Staples Center. Fans still filled the arena until the very last second of the game, not only to show their support for their home team, but to show their respect for one of the WNBA’s greatest.
“It’s a really nice feeling,” Taurasi said. “I have so much respect for everyone who has held the record, especially Tina Thompson. She has been one of the biggest influences on my basketball career.”
For the many young women who watched Taurasi make history, it’s safe to say she is their Tina Thompson.
And who knows? One of those young women might just stand where she does now some day, generating yet another legacy of strong, humble and driven players.