WNBA legends Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi faced off for what is likely to be the final time Friday night.
With Bird set to retire at the end of the season with the Seattle Storm, Taurasi honored her friend and rival’s final regular-season trip to Phoenix with a pair of custom kicks.
.@DianaTaurasi and the @PhoenixMercury gift Sue Bird a pair of custom kicks ahead of her last game in the Valley 🔥 pic.twitter.com/XBJnhm9kvr— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 23, 2022
.@DianaTaurasi and the @PhoenixMercury gift Sue Bird a pair of custom kicks ahead of her last game in the Valley 🔥 pic.twitter.com/XBJnhm9kvr
Though Friday’s matchup marked a record-tying 46th meeting between the longtime friends, Bird said she treated the game like any other.
“There was no extra anything on this,” Bird said. “I think of this as another game in the story of our WNBA like, quote, unquote, rivalry. And I think of it more as just a celebration.”
The Mercury came out on top on the court, trumping the Storm 94-78 behind an impressive Skylar Diggins-Smith performance.
The Mercury guard notched 35 points, six assists and six rebounds, while Taurasi added 28 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in her 500th game.
Following the contest at the Footprint Center, Bird and Taurasi sat down for a joint post-game conference, a first for the friends.
“When you play a team with Sue on it, it’s going to be the most well-prepared team,” Taurasi said of Bird after the game. “It’s going to be the team that knows the other team the best and is going to put her teammates in the best position to win the game every night. And it’s hard to go against a person like that because you know she is doing everything to win the game.”
Bird holds the advantage in her regular-season meetings with Taurasi, finishing their rivalry with a 25-21 advantage.
“Hopefully we put on some good shows throughout the years,” Bird concluded.