ANKARA, Turkey -- American basketball star Diana Taurasi had
her contract terminated by Turkish club Fenerbahce on Thursday
after her "B" sample tested positive for doping.
The Istanbul-based club made its decision after the Turkish
Basketball Federation announced the results of the doping test on
its website. Taurasi faces a ban of up to two years, putting in
jeopardy her chances of playing for the United States at the 2012
The federation has not announced a decision on Taurasi's
Taurasi's "A" sample tested positive last month for the banned
stimulant modafinil following a Turkish league game Nov. 13.
Taurasi had been suspended by Fenerbahce ever since.
The International Olympic Committee bars any athlete given a
doping penalty of six months or more from competing in the next
Games. Taurasi helped the Americans win gold medals at the past two
Olympics and was the leading scorer when the U.S. won the women's
world championship last year.
Modafinil is used to counter excessive sleepiness due to
narcolepsy, shift-work sleep disorder or sleep apnea, according to
On Tuesday, Geno Auriemma, the United States women's basketball coach for the 2012
Olympics, said the former University of Connecticut star told him
that she did not take modafinil. He also said he didn't know if
Taurasi had any problems with sleeplessness.
One of the most decorated women's players in history, Taurasi
led the WNBA in scoring for a league-record fourth straight year,
averaging 22.6 points last season. The five-time All-Star and
two-time WNBA champion signed a multiyear contract extension with
Phoenix in August.
The Mercury have not commented publicly on the doping case.
Taurasi is one of many American stars who play overseas in the
winter because salaries there are significantly higher than in the WNBA.
She played in Russia for four years for Spartak before joining the
Turkish league this season.
Taurasi was leading the league in scoring with 24.6 points per
Two of Taurasi's teammates at Fenerbahce have resisted doping
tests in Turkey because they do not trust the lab that tests the
samples. Australian player Penny Taylor and Czech teammate Hana
Horakova provided samples only after the Turkish federation agreed
to send them to Germany for testing at a lab in Cologne.
The two players were tested after Fenerbahce's Turkish league
Modafinil has been involved in several major doping cases,
including that of American sprinter Kelli White, and is on the
World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances.
White won the 100- and 200-meter races at the 2003 world
championships in Paris, but both of her medals were stripped after she
tested positive for the stimulant.