Penny Taylor

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Penny Taylor
Penny Taylor at the White House in 2014.
No. 13 – Phoenix Mercury
Position Small forward / Shooting guard
League WNBA
Personal information
Born (1981-05-24) 24 May 1981 (age 35)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Listed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight 165 lb (75 kg)
Career information
WNBA draft 2001 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11th overall
Selected by the Cleveland Rockers
Playing career 1998–2016
Career history
1997–1999 Australian Institute of Sport
1999–2002 Dandenong Rangers
20012003 Cleveland Rockers
2002–2003 Termocarispe La Spezia
2003–2007 Famila Schio
20042007 Phoenix Mercury
2007–2009 UMMC Ekaterinburg
20092011 Phoenix Mercury
2009–2013 Fenerbahçe Istanbul
20132014 Phoenix Mercury
2014–2015 Dandenong Rangers
2015–2016 Shanxi Flame
2016 Phoenix Mercury
Career highlights and awards
Stats at

Penelope Jane "Penny" Taylor (born 24 May 1981) is an Australian retired professional basketball player. During her 19-year career, Taylor spent the most time with the Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association, where she won three championships. She also won the Women's National Basketball League 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.


Penny was born in Melbourne, Victoria to English parents Michael Taylor and Denna Noble. She has a younger brother named Phillip and an older sister named Heather. As both her parents are tall, they thought Penny would inherit their height and put her 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. Penny attended Upwey High School in Upwey, Victoria, and after graduating earned a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.[1][2]

Taylor posed nude in an Australian magazine, Black+White, that featured Olympic athletes who were set to compete in Athens in the 2004 Summer Olympics. The expensively printed magazine/book has been produced for the last three Olympic Games and, by the 2004 edition, was considered relatively uncontroversial in Australia with its "artistic" approach to nude photography and its equal coverage of male and female athletes.

She also holds a UK passport due to her parents' origin.[3] Taylor was married in 2005 to Brazilian volleyball player Rodrigo Rodrigues Gil, but they have since divorced.[4]

WNBL career[edit]

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 200-1 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.[5] She scored 20.2 points a game from 17 matches in qualifying the Rangers for the playoffs.[6] 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.[7]

WNBA career[edit]

She was selected by the Cleveland Rockers in the first round (11th overall) during the annual WNBA Draft on 20 April 2001. She starred for the Rockers for three seasons.

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 an magnetic resonance imaging exam, and seeing her mother die of cancer.[8] Taylor's return to the Mercury in 2013 eventually had her other knee give in after six games, leading her to further surgery.[9]

Penny Taylor (number 13) with the Mercury during her final season with the team.

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.[10] 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 game, as well as the best record in league history with 29 wins and 5 losses, only one of whom had Taylor as a starter.[11][12] The Mercury returned to the WNBA Finals, winning the title against the Chicago Sky.[13] 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 February 8, 2016, and Taylor was present right at the first game to start her thirteenth season at the WNBA.[14][15] Prior to the August break for the Olympics, Taylor announced she would retire at the end of the season.[16] Her last career game happened on October 2 in Phoenix, as the Mercury were swept by the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA semifinals.[17]

International basketball[edit]

Taylor (number 7) and the Opals at the podium for the 2006 World Championship, where she was chosen Most Valuable Player.

Taylor has been a regular member of the Australia women's national basketball team, the "Opals", since 2002, when she got a bronze medal in the 2002 FIBA World Championship for Women. Her biggest accomplishment was winning the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women in Brazil, where Taylor was named Most Valuable Player of the championship. Taylor has also won two straight silver medals in the Olympic Games tournament, in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.[18] She wound up out of the Opals for the 2012 Summer Olympics after injuring herself playing in Turkey for Fenerbahçe.[19] Taylor was named Australian Opals captain for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women on the Australian team, helping the team win the bronze medal. Taylor was named to the All-Star Five, the best five players for the entire tournament.[20] Her last tournament with the Opals was the Rio 2016 Olympics, where Australia fell in the quarterfinals.[21]

During the WNBA offseason, Taylor has played in Italy, Russia and Turkey, winning each league at least once.[18] 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.[14]

WNBA career statistics[edit]

  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

WNBA regular season[edit]

WNBA Postseason[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]