Mercury’s Skylar Diggins-Smith, Diana Taurasi build bond with Team USA

Apr 2, 2021, 4:00 PM
Skylar Diggins-Smith (File photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)...
Skylar Diggins-Smith (File photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(File photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith isn’t making any guarantees when it comes to this summer’s Olympics.

Diggins-Smith has represented the United States in the past, winning gold at the first ever FIBA 3×3 World Championship in 2012, but has yet to play in the Olympics.

While Diggins-Smith has established herself as one of the best players in the United States, her focus is earning a spot on the roster for this summer.

“I’m just trying to make this team,” Diggins-Smith said on a Zoom call Thursday. “I’m not counting anything until they put me on that team. So that’s really been my focus and my mindset.”

While Diggins-Smith is working to compete in her first Olympic games, her Mercury teammate and backcourt mate Diana Taurasi is gearing up for her fifth trip to the Olympics.

Due to COVID-19 and injuries, Diggins-Smith had limited time to practice with the Mercury before the season in 2020, so she and Taurasi have been working to build chemistry for the upcoming Olympics and WNBA season.

“Diana and I have been working out six days a week for the past few months,” Diggins-Smith said. “We’ve been in the gym, we feel great about our chemistry, obviously getting to work together this offseason in Phoenix just building our bond together, being on the floor, learning each other, just being able to build our relationship as teammates.”

Despite making an impact during her first season in Phoenix, Diggins-Smith was hampered by injuries during training camp in 2020. Being able to have a full offseason with no setbacks has allowed Diggins-Smith to spend more time on the court with Taurasi.

“I think it’s definitely going to help us you know,” Diggins-Smith said. “We didn’t really have that luxury last year. The first game was like one of our first few practices together because I missed most of camp with a hamstring injury. But no, it’s going to be great. For us, that time just to spend on the floor together. … You can’t simulate that.”

With COVID-19 still affecting the everyday lives of most, Diggins-Smith is thankful for the time she’s gotten to spend with Taurasi.

“I’m happy that we’re able to spend so much time on the floor together,” Diggins-Smith said. “You know, just developing our chemistry for this season in Phoenix.”

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