Penny Taylor's career over after WNBA loss
Photo Source: AP
Penny Taylor won't be adding a fourth WNBA championship to her long list of basketball accomplishments, the Opals star fading off into retirement with Phoenix Mercury's semi-finals wipeout.
The Mercury were outclassed 82-67 by defending champions Minnesota in game three on Sunday (Monday morning AEDT) to go down in straight sets in the best-of-five playoff series.
Despite a quiet final game with four points and four rebounds, Taylor was given hero's send-off by the home crowd at Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Arena.
With the 35-year-old Australian subbed out for the final time with 3.09 minutes remaining, the crowd chanted her name to reduce the Opals great to tears.
"Today was hard physically," Taylor said.
"In a way it reinforces there is an expiring date for everyone.
"Some days you feel good. Today wasn't one of them. No matter what, I like to think we come out and we fight and that I've done that my entire career.
"That's something I take a lot of pride in."
The Mercury were humbled by a powerful Lynx outfit, failing to get within 10 points in any of the three matches.
Phoenix began the playoffs as title outsiders, having been the last-placed team to make the playoffs cut before gaining wins over Indiana Fever and New York Liberty to progress to the final four.
"We had a few turnovers, a few missed shots and what they do is run it down your throats," Taylor said of the Lynx.
"We didn't have enough focus for enough minutes and offensively they are very difficult because they constantly move the ball and also have threats from everywhere."
A three-time Olympian, Taylor retires after 13 seasons in the WNBA and three championships with the Mercury.
She played her final game for the Opals at the Rio Olympics, where they were bundled out by Serbia in the quarter-finals.
The Mercury's Australian coach Sany Brondello heaped praise on the Melbourne product following the game three loss.
"She will be remembered as one of the greatest players to play the game," Brondello said.
Taylor was recruited by now-defunct Cleveland Rockers with pick No.11 in the 2001 WNBA draft before joining the Mercury in 2003.
She finishes with a career average of 13 points per game in the WNBA, in 21st place on the league's list of all-time scorers with 4606 points and third on the alltime list for the Mercury.
She holds two Olympic silver medals and was tournament MVP in Australia's victorious world championship campaign in 2006.
The Lynx will meet the winner of the semi-final series between the Los Angeles Sparks and Chicago Sky, with the Sparks up 2-1 in the series.