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Taurasi stands alone at the top

Former UConn star becomes WNBA's all-time leading scorer.

Juan Ocampo - Getty Images

Los Angeles, CA — Given the consistent and prolific manner in which Diana Taurasi has scored points throughout her tremendous career, it was basically a foregone conclusion that she would one day become the WNBA's all-time leading scorer.

That day arrived on Sunday. And the big moment happened in her home state, no less.

Taurasi -- the Phoenix Mercury's iconic superstar -- officially completed her climb to the top of the WNBA's all-time list when she converted a layup in the final minute of the first half of her team's 90-59 loss to the Sparks at the Staples Center on Sunday. Taurasi, who finished with 19 points, surpassed Tina Thompson’s previous all-time mark of 7,488.

Taurasi, who grew up in Chino, Cali., entered the game just 14 points shy of breaking the record. Despite picking up three early fouls, she scored 14 first-half points, including the record-breaking basket with 45.3 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

When she converted the history-making layup, the game was halted, and the crowd gave her a standing ovation. Taurasi was presented with a game ball during a brief ceremony.

Although Taurasi has enjoyed plenty of monumental moments -- she's a four-time Olympic gold medalist and won three national titles during her ultra-successful career at UConn -- Sunday's achievement is perhaps her most impressive.

She has zoomed up the scoring list in remarkably rapid fashion, having played just 376 games, while most of the players that even come close to her point totals have played 450 games or more. Case in point: Thompson, the WNBA's previous recorded holder, needed 17 seasons to compile her 7,488 points. Taurasi has sailed past that mark in just her 13th season in the league.

Taurasi, a five-time WNBA scoring champ, has averaged more than 20 points per game in six of her 13 seasons. She has never averaged less than 14 ppg in any year of her pro career (aside from her year-long absence in 2015).

Consistent? Extremely. Impressive? Absolutely. The greatest of all time? A strong argument can certainly be made.

At the very least, Taurasi can now officially take her place among some of the biggest names in sports history, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (the NBA's all-time scorer) and Pete Rose (major league baseball's all-time leader in hits). Rarefied air, indeed.

For the foreseeable future, Taurasi will be the standard by which all other WNBA stars will be measured. And here's the most amazing -- or perhaps the scariest, for her opponents -- part about her achievement: She doesn't appear to be slowing down.

Undoubtedly, if she avoids any prolonged injury, she will continue to pile up points, and her numbers will become all the more astronomical.

So, yes, Taurasi is now the all-time leading scorer in the history of the game. But it might just be that her story is only beginning, and that her legacy still has plenty more chapters to be written.