July 1, 2023 

Allisha Gray’s career season leads to first All-Star appearance

Coach Tanisha Wright: 'We knew what we were doing when we brought Allisha here to Atlanta'

On May 1, Allisha Gray stood in front of the media following day one of her first training camp as a member of the Atlanta Dream.

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The Sandersville, Ga. native spoke with palpable joy, joining an organization that emphasizes locker room culture and player empowerment while allowing her to continue expanding her game.

“I definitely want to be an All-Star this year. I feel like last season I should’ve been an All-Star, right on the cusp of it,” Gray told reporters.

Gray was acquired by the Dream in January, sending to Dallas the third pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft and a 2025 first round pick. The 6’ guard was arguably the biggest snub from last year’s All-Star roster after posting averages of 13.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists on 40.8% shooting from beyond the arc.

That said, Gray’s goal came to fruition. The 28-year-old was named an All-Star reserve by the 12 WNBA head coaches on Saturday, joining teammate Cheyenne Parker — another first-time recipient.

With Gray and Parker’s selections, it becomes Atlanta’s first All-Star game with multiple selections since Tiffany Hayes, Layshia Clarendon and Elizabeth Williams in 2017.

“Both Allisha and Cheyenne earning spots on the WNBA All-Star team is nothing but a reflection of the hard work they put in every single day,” head coach Tanisha Wright said in a press release on July 1. “We’ve been saying all year that [Parker] is an All-Star, and we knew what we were doing when we brought Allisha here to Atlanta. We’re all so proud of them and thrilled to have them as a part of our team’s core for the foreseeable future.”

Gray is a seamless fit in almost any WNBA offense due to her ideal size, change of speed and utility as a three-level scorer.

“I think she fits in any offense, to be honest with you,” Mystics head coach Eric Thibault told the media before Washington’s clash with Atlanta on June 28. “The way she can get out in transition is the biggest thing, you know, she can get you six to eight easy points without having to call a play for her; that’s where the game-planning starts.”

This season, Gray is one of three players with 120 points in the paint and 40 points in transition, joining MVP candidate Jackie Young and Dallas’ Natasha Howard.

“I mean, we know what we’re going to get from her every single [game] — she’s a threat, like, she consistently puts so much pressure on the defense,” Atlanta starting forward Nia Coffey said. 

Chart by Hunter Cruse / The Next

Through 14 games, Gray is averaging 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists on over 10 two-point attempts per game — all career highs.

“I can score in various ways, but I’m just being way more aggressive than I have been in the past. I feel like I can get to the basket a lot easier this season,” Gray told The Next following her 23-point performance in a 94-89 home win over the Mystics on June 30.

On Friday, Gray didn’t check out of the game once, logging at least 40 minutes for the second time this season. She joins Alyssa Thomas and Napheesa Collier as the only other players to log 40 minutes or more in a game this season.

“It’s big — I take pride in my offseason work, I go six days a week, hard,” Gray said on the importance of conditioning during the offseason. “Also, training camp was not easy as well. Coach [Tanisha Wright] conditioned us to be able to play 40 minutes.”

Written by Hunter Cruse

Hunter Cruse covers the Atlanta Dream and the WNBA Draft for The Next.

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