DIANA TAURASI SAYS she hasn't been a second-stringer since she was "the backup backstroker on my second-grade swim team," but the WNBA rookie made a splash coming off the bench in the U.S. women's team's 99-47 opening-game blowout of New Zealand. Taurasi, a first-time Olympian and, at 22, the youngest team member by two years, hit two threes within three minutes of checking in and finished with 12 points, a team-high nine rebounds, one assist, a steal and a block in 22 minutes. On a team loaded with other WNBA stars, Taurasi--arguably the most high-profile player in the sport, thanks to her extraordinary college career at Connecticut--is likely to remain a sub, but she has impressed her teammates with her talent and gritty attitude and is clearly an Olympic star of the future. Upon leaving the court against the Kiwis, she got a high five from a very pleased U.S. coach, Van Chancellor. "It's a different country, different officials, different rules, different court, different ball," Taurasi said afterward, "but for me, it's still a basketball game, no matter where you play." --K.A.
Photograph by Al Tielemans
Taurasi filled the stat sheet in just 22 minutes of action.