Penelope Jane Taylor (born 24 May 1981) is an Australian retired professional basketball player and assistant coach. During her 19-year career, Taylor spent the most time with the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, where she won three championships. She also won the WNBL with her first club, the Australian Institute of Sport, and played in China, Italy, Turkey and Russia. As part of the Australian woman's national team, Taylor won two Olympic medals and led the Australian Opals to a gold medal at the World Championships, winning tournament MVP honours ahead of teammate Lauren Jackson.
|Born||24 May 1981|
|Listed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Listed weight||165 lb (75 kg)|
|WNBA draft||2001 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11th overall|
|Selected by the Cleveland Rockers|
|1997–1999||Australian Institute of Sport|
|2002–2003||Termocarispe La Spezia|
|2019||Phoenix Mercury (asst.)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at WNBA.com|
Penny Taylor was born in Melbourne, Victoria to English parents Michael Taylor and Denna Noble. She has a younger brother named Phillip, step-sister Abbey and an older sister named Heather. Her parents enrolled Taylor in the Belgrave South Red Devils basketball club at the age of 4. The camaraderie helped Taylor overcome her shyness, and eventually move to the Nunawading Spectres. She attended Upwey High School in Upwey, Victoria, and after graduating earned a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
Taylor holds a UK passport due to her parents' origin.
Taylor debuted in the Women's National Basketball League playing for the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) starting in 1997–98, winning the WNBL title the following season. Afterwards she moved to Dandenong Rangers, where she remained from 1999 to 2002. Taylor led the league in scoring with 25.5 points per game and steals with 2.5 steals per game during the 2000–01 season, being named the WNBL MVP in that season and the next.
After 12 years away from the Australian league, Taylor signed with the Rangers for the 2014–15 WNBL season. Her main intention for the return was to stay close to her family, playing in front of her nephews while also tending for her cancer-ridden father. She scored 20.2 points a game from 17 matches in qualifying the Rangers for the playoffs. During the semifinals against the Sydney Uni Flames, the Rangers were 15 points ahead when Taylor injured her ankle with eight minutes remaining, and her absence was enough for Sydney to take over and win the game.
In January 2004, the WNBA held a dispersal draft, where the league's existing teams selected former players from the Rockers team. Taylor was selected as the first overall pick by the Phoenix Mercury.
In July 2007 she was chosen as a reserve for the WNBA All Star game. On 16 September 2007, Penny Taylor along with Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter led the Phoenix Mercury to the WNBA championship defeating the Detroit Shock in the final game 5 of the finals, 108 – 92, they became the first team to end out a finals series at an away venue in the WNBA.
Taylor sat out most of the 2009 season after having ankle surgery that required nine weeks of recovery, but returned to the Mercury mid-season and averaged 10.7 points off the bench. The Mercury went on to win the WNBA Championship that year, beating the Indiana Fever 3 games to 2, with Taylor making 2 clutch free throws down the stretch to help clinch the decisive game 94–86.
In 2012, Taylor suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury of her left knee playing in Turkey during the WNBA offseason, and was forced to sit out of the Mercury's season. Her year-long recovery in Australia had Taylor going through three knee operations, including one to remove floating cartilage revealed in a magnetic resonance imaging exam, and seeing her mother die of cancer. Taylor's return to the Mercury in 2013 eventually had her other knee give in after six games, leading her to further surgery.
Taylor spent the 2014 pre-season working with both the Mercury and the Phoenix Suns health staff to make sure her return to basketball worked. Under new coach and former Australia teammate Sandy Brondello, Taylor saw limited minutes during the first eleven games of the 2014 WNBA season. Once Brondello saw her recovered enough, Taylor returned as a Mercury starter, and the team would then go on to win the following 16 games, the longest win streak in WNBA history and not lose again at home for the remainder of the 2014 season. Taylor's return helped lead the team to the best result in the Western Conference with an average of 10.5 points a game for 33 games, as well as the best record in league history with 29 wins and 5 losses, only one of whom had Taylor as a starter. The Mercury returned to the WNBA Finals, winning the title against the Chicago Sky. An unsigned free agent in 2015, she decided to sit out the 2015 season for personal reasons after the loss of her father. The Mercury re-signed her on 8 February 2016, and Taylor was present right at the first game to start her thirteenth season at the WNBA. Prior to the August break for the Olympics, Taylor announced she would retire at the end of the season. Her last career game happened on 2 October in Phoenix, as the Mercury were swept by the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA semifinals.
Taylor has been a regular member of the Australian national team, the 'Opals', since 2002, when won a bronze medal in the 2002 World Championship. Her biggest accomplishment was winning the 2006 World Championship in Brazil, where Taylor was named Most Valuable Player of the championship. They won silver medals in consecutive Olympiads: Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. She wound up out of the Opals for the 2012 Summer Olympics after injuring herself playing in Turkey for Fenerbahçe. Taylor was named Australian Opals captain for the 2014 World Championship, helping the team win the bronze medal, and was named to the All-Star Five. Her last tournament with the Opals was at Rio 2016, where Australia fell in the quarterfinals.
During the WNBA offseason, Taylor has played in Italy, Russia and Turkey, winning each league at least once. The 2015-16 offseason had Taylor in the Shanxi Flame of the Women's Chinese Basketball Association, averaging 23.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
In March 2017, Taylor became the Director of Player Development and Performance for her former WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury. After giving birth to a son in March 2018, Taylor took a year off from coaching. In April 2019, the Mercury announced that Taylor had been hired as an assistant coach. As of September 2019, Taylor's spouse, Diana Taurasi, is a player for the Phoenix Mercury. It was announced on 6 July 2020 that Taylor would step down as assistant coach of the Mercury to focus on being a full-time mother.
Taylor was married in 2005 to Brazilian volleyball player Rodrigo Rodrigues Gil, but they later divorced. On 13 May 2017, she married Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi; Taylor is a former teammate of Taurasi's. On 1 March 2018, the couple welcomed their first child when Taylor gave birth to son Leo Michael Taurasi-Taylor.
WNBA career statisticsEdit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game||RPG||Rebounds per game|
|APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game||BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game|
|TO||Turnovers per game||FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|Bold||Career high||°||League leader|
|†||Denotes seasons in which Taylor won a WNBA championship|
WNBA regular seasonEdit
- "Penny Taylor in Melbourne - Belgrave South Red Devils Basketball Club - SportsTG". SportsTG.
- Phoenix Mercury's Penny Taylor treasures her career
- "Penny Taylor Fenerbahçe'de !!!!!!!!!!". golsmacservis.blogspot.com.
- "Home is where Penny's heart is".
- Ward, Roy (20 February 2015). "Dandenong Rangers star Penny Taylor focuses on WNBL semi-finals" – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Taylor injury sees Rangers crash out".
- "Page not found - Phoenix Mercury". Phoenix Mercury. Cite uses generic title (help)
- "Interview: Penny Taylor talks life in the WNBA - Basketball Australia". www.basketball.net.au.
- "Why Penny Taylor matters just as much as Phoenix Mercury's other stars".
- "Jayco Opal Penny Taylor returning to her best in WNBA - Basketball Australia". www.basketball.net.au.
- "Page not found - Phoenix Mercury". Phoenix Mercury. Cite uses generic title (help)
- Ward, Roy (13 September 2014). "WNBA title winners Penny Taylor, Erin Phillips turn attention to Opals' campaign". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Phoenix Mercury Re-Signs Penny Taylor - Phoenix Mercury".
- "Taylor ready to help Mercury after year off following father's death - FOX Sports". 2 June 2016.
- "Australia's Penny Taylor set to retire at end of WNBA season".
- "Aussie Penny Taylor would farewells WNBA with Phoenix Mercury knocked out of semi-finals by Minnesota". 3 October 2016.
- "Penny Taylor - Basketball Australia". www.basketball.net.au.
- Phoenix Mercury forward Penny Taylor suffers season-ending knee injury
- "Moore named MVP of 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women, headlines All-Star Five". FIBA.com. 5 October 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- "Olympic hurt driving Taylor's last hurrah".
- "Mercury Name Penny Taylor Director of Player Development and Performance". Phoenix Mercury.
- "Penny Taylor returning to Phoenix Mercury as assistant coach". azcentral.
- "Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner plan to return for Phoenix Mercury in 2020". azcentral.
- Lyles Jr., Harry (6 July 2020). "Mercury assistant Taylor steps away from team". ESPN.com. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
- John Roberts (16 May 2010). "A Profile of the Australian Wnba Player". www.sportinglife360.com. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014.
- Jeff Metcalfe (14 May 2017). "Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi marries former Mercury player Penny Taylor". The Arizona Republic. Archived from the original on 13 June 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
- Voepel, Mechelle (15 March 2018). "Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor announce birth of baby boy". ESPN.com. Retrieved 17 March 2018.