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Mercury guard Diana Taurasi frustrated by WNBA travel rules

Taurasi told ESPN she recently had to pay for a private jet to fly her back to Phoenix in order to be present for the birth of her second child.

PHOENIX — Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi says she's frustrated by the lack of financial help from the WNBA for covering her team's travel expenses.

In an interview with ESPN this week, Taurasi vented about having to use her personal funds to charter a private plane from Las Vegas to Phoenix in order to see her wife Penny Taylor give birth to the couple's second child Saturday morning. 

"We pay for everything," Taurasi told ESPN. "This is the WNBA. We pay for it."

After playing Game 5 of the WNBA semifinals on Friday, Taurasi contemplated driving back to the Valley but opted instead for flying since her wife had already been induced.  

The couple's child, Isla, was born about four hours after Taurasi's plane landed in the Valley right before midnight. 

Taurasi told ESPN she's able to afford to charter a private jet through the high-level salary she previously earned playing for Russian basketball teams.

"It's frustrating because there are people that would like to help, and it's against CBA rules and this," she told ESPN, "and I understand there's a standard to make sure everyone is on the same playing field." 

The Phoenix Mercury is in the midst of playing in the WNBA finals and the team's headed to Chicago for their next two games.

During a press conference on Sunday, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the organization would pay for charter flights to Chicago in between Games 2 and 3 of the finals. 

Engelbert said the issue of providing charter flights for teams during the WNBA season was an "important" one for her to resolve soon. 

"We’re making a lot of progress," she said. "There’s nobody that wants this more than me, but we’ve got to chip away at this transformation, build more viewership, build more sponsors, build more media rights deals, and there will be a point in time when we can have an economic model for it."

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