Diana Taurasi frustrated by WNBA travel constraints, quick turnaround to Finals

PHOENIX -- Phoenix Mercury guard Diana taurasi was still upset Tuesday four days after she and her two colleagues had to charter a private aircraft Friday night to get back to Arizona after Game 5 in the WNBA semifinals. This was to allow her to have the second child.
Taurasi stated to ESPN that "we pay for everything." "This is the WNBA. It is our expense."

She said that it was frustrating because people want to help and it is against CBA rules. However, I know there is a standard to ensure everyone is on the same level playing field. "So, I want to thank my Russian friends for this."

Taurasi was referring her playing career abroad, which included long stints on Russian team teams. She earned a seven-figure annual salary, which allowed her to charter a private aircraft.

Taurasi's complaints are part a wider unhappiness towards the WNBA's travel philosophy.

Her Mercury teammates flew with her back to Phoenix in a flight that left Las Vegas around 10 a.m. Saturday. It was already past noon by the time they arrived at Phoenix. The Mercury's coaching staff spent Saturday wrapping tape and preparing for Sunday's Game 1 against the Chicago Sky. This meant that the Mercury did not have a practice day and they only began to watch film on Sunday morning.

Taurasi stated that "we didn't even touch court before the Finals." Taurasi said, "So, yeah. That's disappointing. Everyone's tired. But you still want to be prepared." I believe that after the shootaround [Tuesday] and being on the court [Tuesday], we will feel more prepared to go into Wednesday's game.

Perhaps Taurasi was more tired than any other person on Sunday. At 4:24 a.m. on Saturday, her wife, Penny Taylor (ex-Mercury star) gave birth to their daughter Isla. This caps a hectic day for Taurasi.

After Friday's win, the Mercury sent them to the fifth WNBA Finals. She considered driving back to Phoenix but decided to take the private plane instead.

Taylor was already two days over her due date when she had to be induced Friday. Before the Mercury game began, Taylor went to the hospital and texted Taurasi until Taurasi was called to take the court.

Just as Taurasi began heating up in the fourth quarter of the match, Vince Kozar, team president, received two messages from Taylor via WhatsApp and text. Taylor was sitting at her hospital bed, watching the proceedings from her hospital room. The message was the same: "Don’t be alarmed, it’s starting to happen."

As Taurasi was getting ready for an interview with ESPN's, Kozar showed Taurasi Taylor's text. Taurasi raced to the locker room with Skylar Diggins Smith and Brittney Griner to get ready to board the plane. They landed at North Scottsdale's private airport around 11:31 p.m. and Taurasi stated that they were "rolling".

Isla arrived four hours later.

On Friday and Saturday nights, Taurasi slept in the hospital just north of Phoenix. At 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, she left the hospital to go home and shower. She then drove straight to the Footprint Center to watch Game 1 of the WNBA Finals.

Taurasi stated that the Mercury's loss to Sky 91-77 was "not ideal for Finals games, but we got there and tried to do our best." "After looking at the film, we can make adjustments that will benefit us.