June 25, 2023
WNBA announces starters for the 2023 All-Star Game in Las Vegas
Stewart and Wilson named team captains for this year's WNBA All-Star game
The WNBA announced the starters for the upcoming All-Star Game on Sunday and was revealed on ABC during the Washington Mystics vs. New York Liberty game. The game will take place at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 15, and will be nationally televised on ABC at 8:30 p.m. EST.
The captains for the upcoming game have been announced as forwards A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart. Wilson is a two-time MVP and a 2022 WNBA Champion with the Las Vegas Aces, while Stewart a former 2018 MVP. This is the fifth time both have been selected to the All-Star team, and they finished at No. 1 and No. 2 in fan votes, respectively.
In 2022, Wilson had an impressive season where she won the Defensive Player of the Year and WNBA MVP awards. She also led Las Vegas to their first-ever WNBA Championship in franchise history.
Wilson has been performing exceptionally well this season, with an average of 13.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. She has proven to be a valuable team player who contributes to her team’s success, earning the respect of her teammates and fans alike.
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This offseason, Stewart teamed up with Jonquel Jones, Sabrina Ionescu, and Courtney Vandersloot to form a formidable superteam for the New York Liberty after playing for the Seattle Storm in her first seven seasons in the league. She is third in scoring with 22.5 points, first in rebounding with 10.8 and is a part of the Liberty offense who is on track to set a record in team assists per game in a season.
Aliyah Boston, the top pick in this year’s WNBA Draft for the Indiana Fever, becomes the first rookie to start in a WNBA All-Star Game since Shoni Schimmel in 2014. Her exceptional performance leading the South Carolina Gamecocks to a National Championship in 2022 has earned her a spot on the all-star team, marking a significant milestone in her professional career.
The Indiana Fever has greatly benefited from Boston’s contributions, which have helped them match last season’s win total with five victories. Boston is currently averaging 15.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game and won the Rookie of the Month award in May.
Brittney Griner, the center of Phoenix Mercury, has been selected for her ninth WNBA All-Star appearance. She was previously involved in a high-profile prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia in December. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert named Griner as the honorary all-star starter at the previous year’s All-Star game held in Chicago.
Her performance has been exceptional this season, averaging 19.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Additionally, she has been leading the league in blocks per game with an impressive 2.4.
Satou Sabally of the Dallas Wings has earned her second all-star selection due to her impressive stats. Averaging 19.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game, she has been a valuable asset to the team when in good health.
For the second year in a row, Nneka Ogwumike from the Los Angeles Sparks has been selected to start in the WNBA All-Star Game and has received her eighth All-Star selection. Her contributions to the team have been crucial, with a career-high average of 19.7 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Seattle Storm’s Jewell Loyd, the WNBA’s top scorer during this regular season with an average of 25.4 points per game, receives her fifth All-Star selection. Her contributions have been invaluable to the Storm, especially with the loss of Stewart and Sue Bird this offseason. She has made significant impacts on both ends of the court.
In the first ten games of this WNBA season, Loyd managed to score 262 points, which is the second-highest in the league’s history.
The Las Vegas Aces’ backcourt tandem of Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young has earned starter positions for their outstanding performance in leading the team to a dominant 12-1 record in the regular season.
Young, former No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, receives her second All-Star selection and becomes a starter for the second year in a row. She has been recognized for her outstanding progress by winning the Most Improved Player award and is currently experiencing a breakthrough season. Her points per game average is at a career-high of 20.2, and she ranks third in the league for field goal percentage with 58.8.
Gray has been selected for her fifth all-star appearance after winning the 2022 WNBA Finals MVP award in the finals and Commissioner’s Cup game for Las Vegas. Last night, she made a remarkable no-look assist to Wilson in the game against Indiana, which truly thrilled the fans.
Arike Ogunbowale receives her third consecutive All-Star selection after leading the Dallas Wings in points per game with 22.7. She won the All-star Game MVP award in 2021 for Team WNBA in its victory over Team USA.
Sabally and Ogunbowale made history for the Dallas Wings (formerly the Detroit Shock) franchise by being the first all-star starters since 2007.
Written by Aya Abdeen
Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next Hoops since December 2022. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.