Diana Taurasi feeling rejuvenated early in WNBA season
NEW YORK (AP) — Diana Taurasi looks refreshed this season.
After cutting her overseas season short last winter because of an injury, Taurasi used the time to rest, recover and “tune up her body.”
“When you pile up those years of no mental rest, no physical rest it catches up to you,” Taurasi told The Associated Press AP on Monday. “From January to the start of the season, I worked on myself in a lot of ways physically. A lot of things that were jacked up from wear and tear. It’s like taking a car to the body shop for the first time in 13 years.”
Taurasi, who is 10th in the league in scoring averaging 18.6 points, said she did a lot of strength and conditioning in the offseason and worked on her flexibility.
“It was tedious stuff you don’t have time to do when you’re overseas,” she said. “It was long and tedious but I enjoyed it.”
Taurasi, who turns 36 on Monday, said that she and spouse Penny Taylor started eating vegan about three years ago and that has helped her.
“You take for granted what you put in your body when you’re young. You feel like you can do anything,” she said. “As you get older, you get conscious of what you’re eating and how that affects your body. The way you look and feel that’s really helped me.”
Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello has seen a change in Taurasi so far this year.
“She had to work to get her body right and it’s showing in her game and has been great for us,” she said. “We’ve put her back to the point guard and she’s not just a great shooter, she’s a great playmaker and does a fantastic job for us doing that.”
With a young son at home, Taurasi has also learned to enjoy road trips more.
“Sleep has been good,” she said laughing. “You still find yourself getting up at 5:30 in the morning and then you’re like wait, I don’t have to get up. I go back to bed.”
Taurasi has the Mercury fifth in the AP power poll Tuesday. Voting was done before Phoenix played at New York in a matinee game at Madison Square Garden.
POWER POLL: A look at this week’s WNBA poll:
1. Los Angeles (4-1): The Sparks are nearing full strength with Candace Parker and Jantel Lavender back. All that’s missing is top pick Maria Vadeeva, who should be over from Russia soon.
2. Connecticut (5-0): Balance has been the key to the Sun’s success. Connecticut has six players averaging more than 11 points per game and five different players have been a leading scorer in a game.
3. Seattle (5-2): Natasha Howard has provided a lift on offense and defense for the Storm, who had a five-game winning streak end in Dallas. Howard has Howard posted two or more blocks in five games this year.
4. Washington (5-3): The Mystics suffered a setback as star Elena Delle Donne has been sidelined with an illness. Coach Mike Thibault expects her back soon.
5. Phoenix (4-3): The Mercury have won three of their first four road games this season while they are only 1-2 at home.
6. Minnesota (2-5): The Lynx haven’t been this far below .500 since drafting Maya Moore with the top pick in 2011. Schedule doesn’t get easier with games in Washington and Connecticut.
7. Dallas (3-3): The Wings need to be more consistent on the road to be in the mix for one of the top teams in the league. Dallas is 1-3 away from home.
8. New York (2-2): Tina Charles helped the Liberty get new coach Katie Smith her first wins. Now the Liberty will try and build on that with a homestand.
9. Chicago (3-3): The Sky have been riding the strong play of rookies Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams while Stefanie Dolson and Allie Quigley have been hurt.
10. Atlanta (2-3): The Dream followed a buzzer-beating win over Minnesota with a loss to Phoenix.
11. Las Vegas (1-5): The Aces got their first win of the season and will look to build on that led by rookie A’ja Wilson, who is averaging 21 points a game.
12. Indiana (0-6): Rookie Kelsey Mitchell is 11th in the league in scoring. So far that hasn’t led to victories just yet for the young Fever.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tina Charles earned AP player of the week honors after helping New York win both its games last week. She averaged 28.5 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Other players receiving votes were Liz Cambage and Breanna Stewart.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Storm at Sparks, Thursday. Two of the top teams in the league will face off in Los Angeles as Breanna Stewart brings the Storm to face the Sparks.
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To find the poll online: https://collegebasketball.ap.org/ap-wnba-power-poll-week-4-0