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Diana Taurasi

Diana Taurasi Named 2016 USA Basketball Female Athlete Of The Year

  • Date:
    Dec 14, 2016

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 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year
Award History

2016

Diana Taurasi

1997

Chamique Holdsclaw

2015

A’ja Wilson

1996

Teresa Edwards

2014

Maya Moore

1995

Sylvia Crawley

2013

Breanna Stewart

1994

Dawn Staley

2012

Diana Taurasi

1993

Lisa Leslie

2011

Breanna Stewart

1992

Katrina McClain

2010

Diana Taurasi

1991

Ruthie Bolton

2009

Tina Charles

1990

Teresa Edwards

2008

Katie Smith

1989

Venus Lacey

2007

Candice Wiggins

1988

Katrina McClain

2006

Diana Taurasi

1987

Teresa Edwards

2005

Crystal Langhorne

1986

Cheryl Miller

2004

Dawn Staley

1985

Jennifer Gillom

2003

Seimone Augustus

1984

Cheryl Miller

2002

Lisa Leslie

1983

Lynette Woodard

2001

Ayana Walker

1982

*Cindy Noble &
 LaTaunya Pollard

2000

Teresa Edwards

1999

Natalie Williams

1981

Denise Curry

1998

Lisa Leslie

1980

Carol Blazejowski

*Co-recipients

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).

She tied for the tournament single-game high in 3-pointers made with six and tied for 3-point attempts with 10 against Serbia on Aug. 10. Also, she shot a tournament second-best 4-of-5 from 3-point (.800) against Canada on Aug. 12.

Among all participants in the 12-team field, she ranked first in 3-point attempts (57) and 3-point makes (33); fourth in points scored (125) and 3-point field goal percentage (.579); eighth in points averaged (15.6); ninth in field goal percentage (.569); and tied for ninth in free throw percentage (.909)

In the USA’s first game against Senegal on Aug. 7, Taurasi tied a U.S. Olympic women’s record with five 3-pointers made and finished with 15 points. She then re-set the U.S. Olympic Women’s record for 3s made with six and set a record for 3s attempted with 10 against Serbia on Aug. 10 to go with 25 points and six assists.

Additionally, she tied for a team-high with 12 points against Canada on Aug. 12; tied for a team high with 19 points against Japan in the quarterfinals on Aug. 16; led the USA with 18 points to go with four assists against France in the semifinals on Aug. 18; and tied for a team-best with 17 points against Spain in the gold medal game.

In the U.S. women’s Olympic single-competition record book, she holds the record for 3-pointers made (33); and in the U.S. women’s Olympic career record book, she is tied with Tamika Catchings, Teresa Edwards and Lisa Leslie for most games played (32) and is second for points scored (379), which ranks fourth among all-time women’s Olympic competitors worldwide.

Taurasi also helped the USA to a 4-0 exhibition record, with wins over the USA Select Team (88-84 on July 25), France (84-62 on July 27), Canada (83-43 on July 29) and Australia (104-89 on July 31). She started in all four of those games and averaged 12.8 ppg., 3.0 apg. and 2.5 rpg. in 25.8 mpg.

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