Taurasi struggles in her first game this season, welcomed by Connecticut fans
UNCASVILLE – Cheers erupted as Diana Taurasi heads to the free throw line after being fouled while attempting a three. However, this game was not played in Phoenix, it was in Connecticut. This game didn’t take place between 2000 and 2004 when Taurasi played with UConn.
It was played in 2019, 15 years after Taurasi played her last college game in blue and white.
Despite the time that has passed, UConn fans – and there are many of them at Connecticut Sun games – still have complicated feelings for the guard that won three national championships and two most outstanding player awards in her time.
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After Taurasi missed her first free throw, cheers erupted just like she was any other opposing player on the court. But Taurasi is not just any ordinary opposing player and fans, though fewer in number, cheered when she made her next two free throws.
In the second quarter, the feelings of the UConn and Sun fans were even more entangled. Though she was booed prior to a free throw attempt, some fans cheered for her as she made them.
Prior to tipoff, Taurasi signed autographs for eager fans before the game, except they were not in the Phoenix Mercury’s purple and orange, but rather the Sun’s blue and orange. Sun fans that likely remember her from when she played a decade and a half ago.
Friday night was Taurasi’s first game this season, as she missed the first 13 games after undergoing a procedure on a disc protrusion in late April. Though she was medically cleared last week she was waiting on her hamstring and wanted to be 100 percent before taking the court according to the broadcast.
However, Taurasi’s game can be summarized by her warmup shooting prior to the start of the second half.
After coming out of the tunnel she shot one three, saying “ugh” as it bounced off the rim. She shot another and after it also bounced off the rim, she returned to the bench to untie and retie her shoes.
She played just four minutes in the third quarter, missing one three-point shot and committing one foul during that time.
She did not step foot on the court in the fourth quarter.
By the end of the game Taurasi tallied five points, all from the free throw line, four assists and three rebounds in 16 minutes, she missed all four of her attempts from the floor.
For all the excitement surrounding her return, the performance was lackluster and it appeared she did not feel like herself. She seemed to shy away from the ball and was not taking or making the shots she normally would.
Taurasi was not made available to the media after the game because she was with the trainer.
Head coach Sandy Brondello was asked if it was good to see Taurasi back on the court and she responded, “Yeah, no it was good. So hopefully yeah, yes, she’ll be okay.”
As of now, nothing has been released about her status or any possible injury that would prevent her from continuing to play this season.
The Mercury return to Mohegan Sun Arena on Aug. 1. Whether or not Taurasi is playing, purple jerseys with the number ‘3’ on the back will certainly be found scattered around the arena once again.
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