Taurasi reflects on motherhood as she prepares for 14th WNBA season

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Diana Taurasi was on the floor as the Mercury opened training camp on Monday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Diana Taurasi was on the floor as the Mercury opened training camp on Monday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

On the first day of training camp, Mercury star Diana Taurasi’s Hall of Fame career came full circle. 

For the first time since she was drafted in 2004, the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer was actually in town as the Mercury took the floor for the first practice of camp. Taurasi retired from her Russian team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, in December. 

"The decision was difficult. I had been with that club for five years going on six. They're just amazing, greatest club in the world,” said Taurasi, who won the 2016 EuroLeague title with teammate Brittney Griner in Russia. “We just had a real realistic conversation. I kind of needed a break. My body was just in a place where it needed to heal.”

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Taurasi had a busy offseason, becoming a parent for the first time this spring. She and former teammate Penny Taylor welcomed baby Leo in March.

“We still don't know if he's left handed or right handed. Leo is two months and already in six-month clothes. We're going to try to emulate Ben Simmons and Lebron all in one, little Aussie and little American," said Taurasi. “It was a very simple, strong name. That's what we went with. Now we have a son named Leo and a dog named Messi, but I promise you we're not obsessed."

Leo Messi wasn’t Taurasi only international sports reference on Monday. At 35, she brought up another professional basketball player having success in his later years.

“It's funny the longer I play, why not? What am I going to do if I don't play basketball?” joked Taurasi. “As long as physically I'm able to play, mentally, I want to come to the gym, why not? Manu (Ginobli) kind of turned the page. He looks pretty damn good at 40.”

The Mercury are still waiting for the arrival of a handful of players from overseas. Brittney Griner is set to hit town next week. Dewanna Bonner returns to Phoenix after taking a year off to have a baby. Taurasi jokes that Mercury practice is going to be “Kid-Chella.”

Monday was also a chance to get her first look at first-round pick Marie Gulich from Oregon State. Taurasi came away impressed.

“She beats everybody down the court,” said Taurasi. “I told BG (Griner) that she might get cut this year.”

The Mercury open the season on Friday night, May 18 at home against Dallas.

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