Diana Taurasi insists she did nothing wrong.
The former Connecticut women’s basketball star says she hadn’t even heard of the banned stimulant modafinil until she found out she had tested positive for it. And no matter what those results showed, Taurasi is adamant that she never used performance-enhancing drugs.
“I’ve never needed anything to help me. Only thing that I’m guilty of is taking too many jump shots,” she told The Associated Press by telephone Sunday night from her parents’ home in Chino, Calif.
In her first interview since testing positive in December for modafinil, Taurasi and her lawyer blamed the Turkish lab where the sample was analyzed.
“There’s no way I’ve ever taken anything,” she said.
Taurasi is regarded by many as one of the best women’s players in the world. She was the first prominent WNBA player to test positive for a banned substance.
Taurasi said she intends to return to the WNBA when the season begins in June. The Phoenix guard has led the league in scoring the last four seasons and signed a multiyear extension with the Mercury last August.
The 28-year-old also plans to play for the U.S. team and coach Geno Auriemma in the 2012 Olympics. She’s already helped the Americans win the last two gold medals. Taurasi has talked to Auriemma, who coached her in college, at length since she tested positive. He said he’ll stand by her.
“My goal has been to play basketball,” she said. “Things have come up in my life, but that’s life for you. … This one was an unexpected one. I’ve been doing the right thing for my career. I’ll take this and move forward.
“I went from being really angry to wondering, ‘Why me?’ I won’t let it bring me down,” she said.
Taurasi’s contract was terminated by the Turkish club Fenerbahce this month after both her A and B samples tested positive. The Turkish federation still hasn’t announced a punishment _ the organization was awaiting a response from Taurasi. Her lawyer, Howard Jacobs, said it was delivered Monday. Despite reports of Taurasi’s positive test surfacing last month, Jacobs only received the official report from the federation on Wednesday.
Taurasi faces a ban of up to two years and said she will appeal any suspension. The International Olympic Committee bars any athlete given a doping penalty of six months or more from competing in the next games.
“This will be resolved well in advance of 2012,” Jacobs said. “My understanding is that we have the right of appeal to the sport of arbitration body in Turkey. That could take a couple of months. All the appeals should be done by the end of this year.”
Taurasi said the news shocked her.View Entire Story
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