40 greatest female athletes: Diana Taurasi

Diana Taurasi owns 11 WNBA records and is the Mercury's franchise leader in 16 categories. Jeff Bottari/NBAE/Getty Images

ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.

In college, she helped deliver three national titles to UConn and won back-to-back Naismith Awards; in the WNBA, she has collected two championships and an MVP award with the Phoenix Mercury; and this summer in London, she'll go for her third Olympic gold medal with Team USA.

There's a bit of magic in how Diana Taurasi plays, a sense of the moment, a bravado and unrestrained enthusiasm that has elevated her from top-shelf to one-of-a-kind. Taurasi is the No. 35 player in ESPN's countdown of the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.

"People always ask who the best player in the world is," former UConn teammate Sue Bird told SLAM. "Diana is the first person I think of. Her flair for life is infectious, both on and off the court."

Click here to read the complete story from espnW.

Earlier in this series:

No. 40: Diver Fu Mingxia

No. 39: Jockey Julie Krone

No. 38: Gymnast Mary Lou Retton

No. 37: Hockey player Cammi Granato

No. 36: Soccer player Kristine Lilly