With the WNBA season winding down, it can be difficult with travel and games to spend time with a player or coach for a full podcast. This is where the Dishin & Swishin “In their own words” segments come in handy. The “In their own words” segments are shorter interviews than a normal podcast, usually around five minutes or less, recorded in person and unedited other than volume and noise. It is the subject or subjects’ own words, unfiltered.
Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury is as polarizing a player as there is in the WNBA. To some, she is the G.O.A.T., and her amazing abilities on the court and extreme competitive nature make her a joy to watch. To others, she is a whiner and complainer, whose ego trumps her talents and makes her an object of criticism.
The truth is there is something to be said for both; at 35 years old she continues to score and rack up technical fouls at an alarming pace. The Mercury, where she has won multiple championships, continues to be a middle of the pack playoff team, despite having Taurasi and dominating center Brittney Griner.
Sunday’s game in Connecticut saw both sides of the Mercury. They started fast, with Griner taking control in the paint. However, they got away from going to her, Taurasi was having an off shooting day, and the Sun caught the Mercury at the half. By the end of the third quarter, the game was virtually over as Connecticut dominated on both ends, Griner did not get many touches, and a frustrated Taurasi racked up another technical foul.
After the game, I caught up with Taurasi and asked her a few questions about her game, Griner, and the playoffs:
- Taurasi is not taking it to the basket this year like in the past, why is she settling for three point shots?
- Griner seems to be taking more and more of a leadership role on and off the court. Is that by design? Is Taurasi beginning to cede leadership to Griner?
- Each year it seems the Mercury makes the playoffs as a mid-pack team, and in the playoffs Taurasi has shown she can still turn it on. Does that get more difficult, even tiresome to go through each year?
In the spirit of full disclosure, I fall into the G.O.A.T. camp, but even I think her disdain for referees and ability to rack up technical fouls is a distraction. How big a distraction come playoff time is to be determined, but she cannot risk any suspensions or missed games this year, that’s for sure!