Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Taurasi: Time at UConn "the best four years of my life"

Sue Bird, Maya Moore and Stefanie Dolson each have had the opportunity to make their way back to UConn on multiple occasions since their run with the Huskies came to an end.

However, it has been more of a challenge for Diana Taurasi to visit the campus where she made the transition from California high school phenom to women's college basketball legend.

Practicing for three days at the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center where a banner with her name hangs alongside the other former Huskies who were national players of the year as well as seeing the 2002, 2003 and 2004 national-championship banners prominently displayed has brought back so many memories for Taurasi.

"I think when I got to this place, I saw all of the banners and my God, there has been so much here," Taurasi said. "I have been reflecting a little bit, even driving on campus and I lived here for four years. It was the best four years of my life, I always tell people. Those four years I spent here, probably the hardest but the best four years of my life."

Taurasi has won three WNBA titles, been a two-time WNBA Finals MVP, won three Olympic and two World Championship gold medals since graduating from UConn.

Taurasi could still be in the mix four years from now when the U.S. makes another run at Olympic gold but with fellow three-time gold medalist Tamika Catchings having announced her retirement from the sport after the Olympics and upcoming WNBA season, this is the last run for the trio of Catchings, Taurasi and Sue Bird.

"I don't think they've changed who they are from when they were in high school to now," said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women's National Team Director. "As they have matured, they have been so comfortable in their skin and part of it is that they learned from the others who were before them so they want to pass that along. You can want to pass it along but if nobody listens it is dead air. The beauty of it is that people listen and then they become the ones to pass it along. I can't say enough about the three of them, it will be an emotional time when they really are done. We want them to continue to play forever, The appreciation and gratitude that we have is enormous.

"They have been through so much together. Interestingly enough with those three is that they were all on the world championship team in 2006 that didn't win. Why we don't ever want to talk about our losses, I think the resolve that they have, you can feel it. They don't ever say it, they don't ever talk about it but you can feel the resolve. When you sort of see that this might be one of the last couple of times you might do something, you soak it in a little more. Not that they are all retiring, Tamika is the only one who has said it but you can tell that they are appreciating it so much more."

Taurasi won't be taking inventory on a regular basis between now and the Olympics. Assuming the team's three veterans all make the team (which seems to be a rather fair assumption), they will make certain the focus remains on the process and not simply an emotional farewell tour.

"Our sole purpose is to play well and win a gold medal," Taurasi said. "If we focus on that, at the end everybody will be appreciative of that."


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