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Diana Taurasi Announced As 2012 USA Basketball Female Athlete Of The Year

Former UConn standout Diana Taurasi tabbed USA Basketball Female Athlete Of The Year

Jan. 9, 2013

Former UConn All-American Diana Taurasi was tabbed at the 2012 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. Taurasi is a three-time Olympic gold medalist who helped lead the USA women to a fifth-straight Olympic gold medal as well as an undefeated exhibition schedule in 2012. This is the fourth consecutive year the UConn women’s basketball program has been represented in the naming of this award.  

 “Twelve years ago I wore my first USA jersey, and the feeling of honor and excitement never diminishes,” said Taurasi, who also earned USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year award in 2010 and 2006. “I had the opportunity to learn from the best, play with the best and be coached by the best. This honor is very special because it is in recognition of everyone who has played for our county.”

Taurasi, who was named a tri-captain of the U.S. Olympic squad, started in all eight Olympic wins and averaged a team-high 12.4 points per game to go with 3.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest in the 2012 London Olympics. She also shot 45.5 percent from the field and team-bests of 42.9 percent from 3-point and 96.0 percent from the free throw line.

“I think Diana was absolutely spectacular as a leader on and off the court,” said UConn head coach  Geno Auriemma. “I’m constantly amazed by her will to win, her drive and how much she makes everyone around her better. It was a great experience for me to get to coach her again. I enjoyed every minute of it. Winning the gold medal, and her playing such a big part in it, put a real exclamation point on the whole summer.”

Taurasi also averaged 10.6 points, 1.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game to help the USA Women’s National Team to a 5-0 exhibition mark with friendly wins over China, Brazil, Great Britain, Croatia and Turkey in 2012.

“USA Basketball is very proud to celebrate Diana’s accomplishments in 2012, and we are grateful for all that she has done as a part of USA Basketball,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO. “In capturing her third Olympic gold medal she was incredible to watch on the court, and she was an absolute leader as well. Diana is one of the reasons the USA Women’s National Team has maintained such excellence and captured five straight Olympic gold medals.”

With 18 points and a 4-of-8 performance from 3-point in the USA’s win over Czech Republic on
Aug. 3. Taurasi tied the U.S. Olympic single-game record for 3-pointers attempted, a mark she reached twice before – in 2004 and 2008.

She led the USA with 22 points and four steals in a win against China on Aug. 5, and she was the team’s high scorer with 15 points and four assists in the USA’s quarterfinal win over Canada on Aug. 7.

In a semifinal win over Australia on Aug. 9, she added 14 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the free throw line, and she contributed nine points and six assists in the gold-medal victory over France on Aug. 11.

USA Basketball Female Athlete
of the Year Award Recipients

2012    Diana Taurasi
2011    Breanna Stewart
2010    Diana Taurasi
2009    Tina Charles
2008    Katie Smith
2007    Candice Wiggins
2006    Diana Taurasi
2005    Crystal Langhorne
2004    Dawn Staley
2003    Seimone Augustus
2002    Lisa Leslie
2001    Ayana Walker
2000    Teresa Edwards
1999    Natalie Williams
1998    Lisa Leslie
1997    Chamique Holdsclaw
1996    Teresa Edwards

1995    Sylvia Crawley
1994    Dawn Staley
1993    Lisa Leslie
1992    Katrina McClain
1991    Ruthie Bolton
1990    Teresa Edwards
1989    Venus Lacey
1988    Katrina McClain
1987    Teresa Edwards
1986    Cheryl Miller
1985    Jennifer Gillom
1984    Cheryl Miller
1983    Lynette Woodard
1982    Cindy Noble & 
            LaTaunya Pollard
1981    Denise Curry
1980    Carol Blazejowski

Among all participants in the 2012 Olympics, Taurasi ranked No. 2 in free throw percentage (.960), tied for No. 5 in 3-pointers made (15), tied for No. 9 in 3-point percentage and No. 13 in scoring (12.4) and assists (2.88).

In the all-time U.S. career Olympic record book, Taurasi lists No. 3 in free throw percentage (.936), tied for No. 3 in career games (24), No. 5 in points (254) and assists (50), No. 7 in 3-point percentage (.396) and No. 8 in rebounds (70).

USA Basketball’s Female Athlete of the Year Award was established in 1980 to recognize a USA Basketball athlete who, during the year of the award, made a significant impact on the success of her team’s performance. The USA Basketball Board of Directors is responsible for selecting its annual awards.

The USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year award has been earned by an impressive list of athletes since it was first given 30 years ago, including Breanna Stewart (2011), Tina Charles (2009), Katie Smith (2008), Dawn Staley (2004, 1994), Seimone Augustus (2003), Lisa Leslie (2002, 1998, 1993), Teresa Edwards (2000, 1996, 1990, 1987), Chamique Holdsclaw (1997), Cheryl Miller (1986, 1984), Lynette Woodard (1983) and Carol Blazejowski (1980).