home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 29, 2009

Ralph Austin

Donna Orender

Diana Taurasi


DONNA ORENDER: Good afternoon, everyone, yes? You are all here? A little excitement?
Obviously tonight is Game 1 of the WNBA Finals and it's a night of recognition for the league's top performer. Many worthy candidates put on outstanding performances and I think that contributed to the 13th season being as successful as it was, but who better to speak about strength and performance than Kia Motors. Ralph is here with us, the partner for with the WNBA M.V.P. Award, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player and Sixth Player of the Year, presented by Kia Motors.
Like the athletes of the WNBA, Kia is an industry leader and consistently delivering quality and high-level performance. I would like to thank Ralph Austin, District Sales Manager for Kia Motors America and Kia Motors for partnering with the WNBA on this award and for your commitment to the league. It means a lot to all of us, our players, and our fans.
Before we focus on the individual accomplishments, just a synopsis of the 13th season. For the third consecutive year, attendance has grown, while viewership on ESPN 2 climbed as well. We see the viewership trend continuing online as more than 2 million streams were served through the development of WNBA Live Access, a new service this year. We see the active engagement of WNBA fans in one of the greatest social networking communities that you will see in sports.
We're proud to boast and I got to share this with the Facebook Management recently of one of the largest communities on Facebook that there is. The level on the court continues to impress and before any ESPN telecast, many a night in these playoffs I have been yelling and screaming, 5 players have reached the 4,000 point milestone for their careers, Diana being one, Holdsclaw, McWilliams, Hammon, and Catchings. Meanwhile Lauren Jackson became the fastest player to 5,000 points in league history. Three teams set season records: Indiana, Chicago, and Atlanta. And Phoenix tied their historical best with the best record in the league.
Now, to why we're all here, our league M.V.P. Award. Our league motto is to 'Expect Great' and for all of us who have the privilege of working with and for the WNBA it gets us up every single morning. What's better than to expect great to help create great and I have to say that our league M.V.P. embodies this. It is indeed a pleasure to announce Diana Taurasi as the 2009 WNBA M.V.P. of the year presented by Kia Motors.
In her second trip to the WNBA Finals, Diana earned All-WNBA First-Team honors four consecutive years, and her fourth All-Star game selection and one Player of the Week Award. She led the league in points her game shooting a career best 46.1 from the field and that is amazing, Diana, knowing the defense that teams play on you. You always get their best player and you always make 'em pay. She earned her third Peek Performance Award for scoring, tallied 20 or more points in 20 games, including a game in New York; I was in the stands for that game.
I'm happy to say your fans are all over the country and saw you perform in September. She became the fastest WNBA player to reach 4,000 points, and I have to say most importantly about Diana -- and if we missed any of the facts and there were many in terms of her statistics, literally her joy in playing the game, I think, that captures every fan who watches Diana Taurasi play. There is not a place I don't go in this country or out who doesn't mention how they love to watch her play and with such pure exuberance and with intense passion and you know what? Everybody wants to get their arms around her and we know when she gets her arms -- what happens when she gets her arms around the ball.
Her magmatism, her personality, her love of the WNBA and the respect she has for her teammates makes Diana an M.V.P. in every stretch of the imagination. Let me welcome Ralph Austin to the podium to assist in the presentation and to say a few words.
RALPH AUSTIN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, Kia Motors has been active in the WNBA program for several year. It's truly an honor for me today to stand up here because I've lived in Phoenix for 35 years and I've followed the Mercury since day one and this is truly an honor for Kia Motors of America to present the trophy for the 2009 Most Valuable Player, Diana, and this is a heavy one.
DIANA TAURASI: I didn't prepare a speech, Donna, so I'll give you yours back.
DONNA ORENDER: I didn't either, they gave that to me.
DIANA TAURASI: I got the phone call from Ann Meyers about two days ago, and I was walking around the mall and she told me. I was so nervous and so excited and shocked and I felt like a little kid again.
Throughout my career you get a lot of awards, first team, all-star, but this one truly means a lot. After this summer of a lot of up and downs, I've really got to see the people that have my back from the Phoenix Mercury, the Suns, my family.
So it's been very special and the 11 most important people were my teammates. You know, they had my back the whole time and that means a lot. If I try to list every single person that I should I'm going to miss probably everyone, but I know when they read it, the people who had a hand in it will smile and enjoy it just as much as I am.
So it's really humbling and, you know, to be on that list of the past M.V.P. winners is something pretty incredible, it really is.
THE MODERATOR: If you have any questions, we'll open the floor.

Q. Congratulations. I heard you talking on the radio on the way in here and you talked about how you thought you were playing the best basketball in your life and why do you think that is? What's happened to you?
DIANA TAURASI: I went overseas this last year and I made a commitment to get better, mentally, physically to get better at something that I wasn't very good at and it's something as simple as a pivot or a jab step, being consistent on the free-throw line, rebounding every game as being a way to affect the game.
I tried to carry that over into the WNBA which is the hardest, most intense league you can play in in women's basketball, so if you can get it done here you can feel pretty good about yourself. That was the mindset I brought in coming into the summer and it's worked out pretty well.

Q. I don't know if you looked at the votes and how it played out but you pretty much ran away with it and you got 27 first-place votes and the second player only got three, Catchings, does that mean anything to you?
DIANA TAURASI: I didn't know what the tally was and I don't think it matters. Anyone who was up for the award, Tamika, Katie Douglas, Cappie, everyone was deserving, they had amazing seasons. It was fun to watch, I followed them. The award, you know, should say Phoenix Mercury on it, that's the way I feel. Everyone contributed to what it is. It's pretty special.

Q. You talked about up and downs. Can you talk about how you navigated this summer and was there any point in which you felt like you were in danger of losing your focus on basketball?
DIANA TAURASI: For a minute, I did lose my focus and it's a situation that I'll always keep in the back of my mind. It reminds you how fragile life and one's career is, whether it's in sports or writing. If it's something that you love to do, you should never put it in jeopardy and for a minute there I did and I'll keep that in the back of my head for the rest of my life.
THE MODERATOR: Diana, Donna, Ralph, thank you very much. Thank you, everyone.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297