Vegas, baby! WNBA All-Star selections announced
Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun lead with three selections each
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All bets are on for the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 14, at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
If you're a gambling person, the odds will be good indeed if you picked the league rivals Chicago Sky (9-8) and Connecticut Sun (11-5) to tie for most players selected.
The 17th annual All-Star Game is shaping up as a grudge match, as the WNBA All-Stars take on the USA Basketball Women’s National Team, pitting WNBA legends and co-Head Coaches Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson against Team USA Basketball Coach Dawn Staley.
Leslie and Thompson have a deep roster to take on Team USA. The All-Stars include:
Candace Parker: In her sixth All-Star selection, she is a first-time representative for the Sky. After missing seven games with an injured ankle, the Sky have posted an impressive 9-1 record in games in which she has played. Despite the injury, she's averaged 12.2 ppg since returning.
Kahleah Copper: This first-time All-Star is in her sixth WNBA season. Through 17 games, she leads the Sky in scoring, with 13.9 ppg.
Courtney Vandersloot makes her third appearance in an All-Star game in her 11 years in the WNBA. ‘Sloot’ is averaging a league-leading 8.5 apg in 2021.
“l’m very excited, very happy, and very pleased for the players,” said Coach James Wade.
“(Kahleah is) a special one,” said Parker, after the Sky's 91-81 win over the Dallas Wings on Tuesday night. “She's undervalued. It's fun to watch her play, watch her grow, and watch her work.”
DeWanna Bonner: in her fourth All-Star selection, the uber-veteran Bonner’s 16.1 ppg and 7.4 rpg rank second on the Sun this season behind only Jonquel Jones. She is the only player in league history to win the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year honor three times.
Brionna Jones, a newcomer to the All-Star ranks, is recording career-best figures for scoring 14.4 ppg and 6.7 rpg.
Jonquel Jones makes her third All-Star game leading the league in rebounding, with 10.9 rpg and the Sun with a career-best 21.7 ppg. She also is No. 2 in the WNBA in three-point shooting accuracy, at .490.
Las Vegas Aces
Liz Cambage: the Australian WNBA veteran is making her fourth All-Star team, averaging 14.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 1.8 bpg this season.
Dearica Hamby: The reigning, two-time WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year is making her first appearance in a WNBA All-Star game by scoring 11.2 ppg this season, an achievement made all the more special by coming off the bench for the Aces.
Arike Ogunbowale: She made her first All-Star team by averaging 20.3 ppg, following a 2020 season where she led all scorers with 22.8 ppg. Ogunbowale has scored at least 20 points in 10 of her 16 games this season.
Satou Sabally: Another first time All-Star is the Wings' leading rebounder, with 6.1 rpg and No. 3 scorer, with 13.2 ppg.
New York Liberty
Betnijah Laney, who earned her first All-Star selection by posting 19.7 ppg and 5.3 apg in her first season with the Liberty.
Courtney Williams is making her All-Star debut averaging a career-high 17.1 ppg.
Nneka Ogwumike: “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” has nothing on Ogwumike's 2021. Fighting a knee sprain and out for 4-6 weeks, the Los Angeles Sparks mainstay and six-time WNBA All-Star missed the cut for the Olympics, as well as the All-Star game selections, despite averaging 16.4 ppg prior to her injury.
“Breaks my heart that Nneka isn't on this team," said Dawn Staley, Team USA Coach, told the San Jose Mercury News at the Olympic selections. “Having to make a decision today, if we had to make a decision a month from now, l'm sure she'd be healthy.”
Ogwumike is now in week four of her rehabilitation.
Who's on Team USA?
Those who were picked to represent at the Tokyo Olympics include:
Ariel Atkins, Washington Mystics
Sue Bird, Seattle Storm
Tina Charles, Washington Mystics
Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx
Skylar Diggins-Smith, Phoenix Mercury
Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx
Chelsea Gray, Las Vegas Aces
Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury
Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm
Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces
How were the All-Stars picked?
The initial selection of the All-Stars was conducted through a combination of voting by fans (50% of the vote), current WNBA players (25%) and a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters (25%) from June 15 through June 27.
After that, the top 36 vote-getters from that voting process who weren't selected for the USA Basketball 5x5 roster were provided to WNBA Head Coaches who determined from that list, the 12 players who will play for the Team WNBA All-Stars.
Who were the 36? Check here.
Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team.
Each coach submitted votes for five frontcourt players, three guards, and four additional players at any position.
The 17th WNBA All-Star Game will be broadcast live by ESPN at 7 p.m. ET on July 14.