Phoenix Mercury Star Skylar Diggins-Smith Calls Her Coach a Clown Over Diana Taurasi Comments

Coach Vanessa Nygaard told reporters that the WNBA’s All-Star Game in Chicago “won’t be an All-Star Game” without Diana Taurasi, whom Diggins-Smith has feuded with this season

Skylar Diggins-Smith, Vanessa Nygaard
Skylar Diggins-Smith, Vanessa Nygaard. Photo: Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty; Chris Coduto/Getty

The heat is rising between Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard and her guard Skylar Diggins-Smith over this year's WNBA All-Star selections.

Diggins-Smith, 31, earned her sixth all-star selection this year. The Indiana native will get the start in the league's All-Star game on July 10 in Chicago.

Other starters in the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game include Candace Parker, Breanna Stewart, A'ja Wilson, and Nneka Ogwumike, among others. One name noticeably absent from the 2022 list, however, is ten-time all-star and Diggins-Smith's teammate, Diana Taurasi.

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Nygaard very publicly disagreed with Taurasi's snub, saying in a media appearance that "there will be a game in Chicago, but it will not be an All-Star Game because Diana Taurasi is not there."

Diggins-Smith, who has publicly feuded with Taurasi this season, appeared to take the comment personally, adding a clown emoji to a clip of Nygaard's comments. (The Phoenix Mercury has since deleted the clip, though Diggins-Smith's retweet remains up.)

The Phoenix Mercury did not reply to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Skylar Diggins Smith
via Skylar Diggins-Smith on Twitter. Skylar Diggins Smith/Twitter

Diggins-Smith and Taurasi made headlines earlier this season when the two Phoenix Mercury stars had to be separated after a scuffle on the bench during a game.

Diggins-Smith was sitting at the end of the bench during a team huddle when she became visibly frustrated and stood up, moving towards Taurasi, 39, while they exchanged words.

Taurasi then stood up, prompting teammates and coaches to separate the two before the encounter turned physical. The incident — which was caught on the game's broadcast — sparked questions over the team's chemistry off the court.

Following the scuffle, coach Nygaard told reporters, "People play sports with a lot of passion and so we've seen it. We're not the first team to have any kind of arguments or disagreements on the bench. We've seen it throughout the NBA and other leagues this season."

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Diggins-Smith is averaging 18.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists on the season, making her one of the WNBA's brightest stars.

Diggins-Smith and the Phoenix Mercury will travel to Chicago to take on Candace Parker and the Sky on Saturday July 2.

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