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Diana Taurasi praises Penny Taylor ahead of Hall of Fame induction

(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Penny Taylor was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, with wife Diana Taurasi in attendance for the ceremony.

Taurasi spoke about Taylor’s honor following the Phoenix Mercury’s win over the Atlanta Dream on Friday.

“She’s the consummate professional. When you talk about a winner, you talk about Penny, in all facets of life,” Taurasi said. “I’ve admired her so much on and off the court. Not only is she a Hall of Famer on the court, but she is the best mother of all time, and we are really lucky to have her in our lives.”

Taylor, who won WNBA titles in 2007, 2009 and 2014, used her Hall of Fame induction speech to petition for the safe return of former Phoenix teammate Brittney Griner to the United States.

“BG is our family,” Taylor said. “She’s yours too. The entire global sport community needs to come together to insist that she be a priority.”

At the time of the Hall of Fame ceremony, Griner has been wrongfully detained in Russia for 114 days. The WNBA star was first apprehended by Russian officials in February after vape cartridges containing hash oil were allegedly found in her belongings while traveling through a Moscow area airport.

Fellow inductee DePaul coach Doug Bruno also urged officials to secure Griner’s safe return to the United States in his speech.

“Brittney is a great human being,” he said. “No one deserves what Britney’s going through. Enough is absolute enough. It’s time for the powers that be to bring Brittney home.”

Basketball analyst Debbi Antonelli, Wayland Baptist legend Alice “Cookie” Barron, six-time WNBA All-Star and Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon, two-time WNBA champion DeLisha Milton-Jones, Western Kentucky coach Paul Sanderford and Division II coach Bob Schneider were also inducted Saturday night.

The Hall of Fame also recognized Title IX with the Trailblazers of the Game award on the legislation’s 50th anniversary. Barron, who played with the Flying Queens from 1954 to 1957, before the 1972 law, spoke about the landmark measure.

“I want to implore all of us to keep a very close watch on Title IX,” she said. “The doors are open. We must never let them close.”