Still a prolific scorer despite playing in her age-34 season, Diana Taurasi has joined an exclusive WNBA scoring club.
Although the former UConn superstar didn’t pass anyone on the league’s all-time scoring list, the Phoenix Mercury standout scored her 7,000th point on Friday night to become only the third such scorer to do so. Taurasi joined Tamika Catchings and Tina Thompson as the WNBA’s 7,000-point scorers during the Mercury’s 91-79 win over the Washington Mystics.
In doing so, Taurasi became the fastest WNBA player ever to reach this standard, needing just 348 games. That is by far the quickest pace in this club.
A 36-year-old forward for the Indiana Fever, Catchings required 428, and Thompson, a forward who played for 17 years, did so in 460 contests. The 2004 No. 1 overall pick, Taurasi has also needed just more than 11 seasons to move into this pantheon of sorts — Catchings is playing in her 15th — and sat out the 2015 season at the request of her offseason Russian team, which pays her $1.5 million last winter to dwarf her WNBA salary ($111,500).
Phoenix’s 5-foot-11 franchise player scored 27 points on Friday and surpassed 7,000 with a long third-quarter 3-pointer. With 7,006 career points, the seven-time All-Star sits 442 points behind first-place Thompson and 121 behind Catchings. Considering Catchings remains active, although she’s not quite the scorer she was in her lengthy prime, Taurasi may not catch her this season.
But 2017 lines up as the year the league could have a new all-time scoring leader. She’s averaging 20.2 points per game this season, with Catchings sitting at 12.9.
Both Taurasi and Catchings own one MVP award apiece, with Thompson never claiming the award. However, the latter was part of the Houston Comets WNBA-opening dynasty that won the league’s first four championships. Tarausi’s Mercury have claimed three titles, with a Fever championship eluding Catchings.