Taurasi chosen for leadership of national team

Updated: December 21, 2006, 3:45 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- USA Basketball named Diana Taurasi as its 2006 Female Athlete of the Year on Thursday, citing her contribution to the U.S. women's team in its run to the bronze medal at the FIBA World Championship.

Taurasi, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, averaged 14.3 points per game in the tourney, sinking 25 of 50 3-point attempts and scoring 28 points in the bronze medal win over Brazil.

During the 2006 WNBA season, Taurasi led the league in scoring with a record-high average of 25.3 points per game. She also set a single-game record with 47 points and became the first player in league history to score more than 800 points in a season.

"Playing for USA basketball and representing our country is, alone, a real privilege," Taurasi said in a statement. "I love the process of coming together to pursue the gold with such a talented group of women. An award like this, to be chosen within that group, is an incredible honor."

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