Bay Area

Sue Bird vs. Diana Taurasi by the numbers ahead of final matchup

Bay Area

Two of the WNBA’s most famous friends are facing off for the final time in the regular season.

Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm will travel to the desert to take on Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury on Friday. It will be the 46th regular season meeting between the two legends, and unless the Mercury make an improbable playoff run, it could be the final time Bird and Taurasi share a professional basketball court.

Bird and Taurasi’s journey together began in Connecticut with the UConn Huskies. Bird was a junior when Taurasi arrived in Storrs, so they only spent two years together as UConn teammates. That second season ended with a flawless record, as Bird capped off her collegiate career with a 39-0 campaign and a national championship in 2002.

Two years later, Taurasi entered the league, and the friendly WNBA rivalry was on. Bird and Taurasi have since earned seven combined WNBA titles, 10 combined Olympic gold medals and countless records. Bird announced that 2022 would be her final season in the WNBA, and she’s trying to add to her trophy room before hanging up her sneakers.

Only one player can come out on top in their final showdown, but who holds the edge in their head-to-head history? Here’s a breakdown of Bird versus Taurasi before Friday’s tipoff:

 

Who has won more regular season games against each other?

Bird owns a 25-20 regular season record against Taurasi.

The two first faced off on May 28, 2004, during Taurasi’s rookie season. Both players scored 22 points in the game as Taurasi’s Mercury earned an 84-76 victory.

Recent history is also in Taurasi’s favor despite Bird having the better overall record. Phoenix beat Seattle in back-to-back games earlier this season. 

Who has won more playoff games against each other?

Taurasi is 8-6 against Bird in the playoffs. Their most recent matchup was a doozy, as the No. 5 Mercury needed overtime to outlast the No. 4 Storm in the second round of the 2021 playoffs.

While Bird and Taurasi have seven titles, they have never gone head-to-head in the WNBA Finals. Bird has four rings compared to Taurasi’s three.

Which player has more points?

Taurasi is the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer – by a lot. She enters Friday’s game with 9,623 career points, over 2,000 more than second-place Tina Thompson. 

Bird is No. 7 on the list with 6,726. She needs 86 points in her final 10 games to surpass Cappie Pondexter for sixth place.

Which player has more assists?

Taurasi may own the points category, but Bird is the WNBA’s all-time assist leader – also by a lot. Bird’s 3,171 career dimes are 571 more than Ticha Penicheiro, who is No. 2 all-time.

Taurasi is No. 5 in league history with 2,140.

Which player has played more WNBA games?

Along with being the final matchup against Bird, Friday’s game will mark another milestone for Taurasi. The Mercury guard will become just the second WNBA player to check in for her 500th game when she takes the floor at Footprint Center. 

The only other player in that group would be none other than Bird, who will be playing in her record-extending 571st WNBA game.

Do Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi hold the record for most WNBA games played against each other?

Bird and Taurasi will tie two other duos for the most meetings in WNBA history.

Tamika Catchings and Swin Cash were the first pair of players to go against one another 46 times. Lindsay Whalen and Candice Dupree also reached that number.