After leading the U.S. women’s basketball team to its sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal, team captain Diana Taurasi has been named the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year Award. This is Taurasi’s unprecedented fourth time earning the honor, after doing so in 2006, 2010 and 2012.
At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Taurasi started in all eight games (all wins) and led the team in scoring with a 15.6-point average. She also chipped in 3.3 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 24.3 minutes per game. She shot 56.9 percent from the field, 57.9 percent from 3-point range and 90.9 percent from the free-throw line. She tied for the tournament single-game high in 3-pointers made with six and 3-pointers attempted with 10, setting the U.S. Olympic women’s record in both categories. She also led all participants in three-point attempts (57) and makes (33) and ranked fourth overall in points scored (125).
“When you think about how impactful she was right from the beginning of the tournament it’s unbelievable,” head coach Geno Auriemma said, according to USA Basketball. “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’s name appears multiple times in the Team USA record books: she is tied for most games played with 32 and is second in points scored with 379, which ranks fourth overall among all women’s Olympic competitors.
“I have been really lucky to learn and play with the best in the game,” Taurasi told USA Basketball. “It makes one go to a different level.”
Taurasi is one of five players in U.S. Olympic women's basketball history with four gold medals. In addition, Taurasi has two world championship gold medals, three WNBA titles and three NCAAs title; she is one of nine athletes to have won all four.