Taurasi had a notable high school career, after which she began to play, during the 2000-2001 season, for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team. She helped her team win three straight national championships, the last one coming in the 2003-2004 season. In Connecticut, Taurasi was admired by most fans. Taurasi won the 2003 Naismith Award and College Player of the Year Awards.
In April 2004, Taurasi was the first pick in the WNBA Draft to the Phoenix Mercury, a team that had earned the first selection at the draft with an 8-26 record in the 2003 season. Soon after, she began to build a supportive fan base in Phoenix as she had in Connecticut.
In her first season as a WNBA player, Taurasi has already led her team past the number of victories that the Mercury posted the year before, and she is among the league's leaders in a number of categories. She had 26 points and led the Mercury to an 84-76 victory over the Seattle Storm on her debut as a WNBA player.
Taurasi wears number 3, the number she wore at UConn, with the Mercury. Her jersey has substituted Michele Timms' number 7 jersey as the best-selling Mercury jersey.
On June 19, 2004, she was selected to represent the United States with the United States women's national basketball team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. She scored 22 points that night against Lisa Leslie and the Los Angeles Sparks, but could not prevent a 76-74 defeat.