The WNBA released the names of the All-Star game reserves today and two big names were left of the list, which was selected by conference coaches: Candace Parker and Chamique Holdsclaw.
Marketing-wise I’m surprised at the omission of Parker (pictured right by AP) because it truly did seem national media didn’t realize the WNBA was happening until she returned from giving birth to her daughter in May. But, LA is not the team projected. And, as announcers have been pounding into our heads, Parker’s not the player that won the MVP and ROY awards last season.
And who would be? Well, Sheryl Swoopes was when she returned from giving birth to her son, but seriously, that type of freakish talent only happens once. Parker, 23, is working her way back and has the skill-set to be incredible, again, but will need time to regain her rhythm.
I figure she’ll be on the All-Star team anyway. Storm forward Lauren Jackson said she’s still leaning toward not playing in the game due to a left Achilles strain, but hasn’t talked to the WNBA about her decision.
“At the moment I’m about getting right and like I said, I just can’t see myself flying over there for that,” Jackson said. “I’m pretty sure they want their players to be right for the end of the season as well. I don’t expect it to be an issue.”
The third-leading vote-getter in fan balloting, I asked Jackson if she’d feel the same if the game were in Seattle. The WNBA has only held the All-Star game in the Western time zone once and it was a bust in Phoenix in 2000.
“I don’t think I would play, but I would go for sure,” Jackson said. “Swelling has been an issue in my foot. The season is too short to put yourself at risk. The fact that I can’t play now, it would be stupid.
“If it was KeyArena – wow – that would be amazing. I would have shot myself — no I’m joking. It would be the best thing ever. Maybe they should think about it.”
Holdsclaw’s omission seems to be a factor of too many talented players at her position. We’ll see if any injuries or bow-outs within the Eastern Conference open a slot for her.
It is exciting to see Holdsclaw’s Atlanta teammate Sancho Lyttle make the squad. She’s a talent the WNBA should have highlighted from the beginning. Dream center Erika DeSousa has a fun personality, but how she translates in the big game will be interesting.
It’s also interesting that fourth-placed Chicago has three players on the East team and conference leading Indiana only has two. Make that four, if you count that former Storm F Shyra Ely said she’ll be styling some of the All-Star players for events. She doesn’t have a Web site, yet, but majored in fashion at Tennessee and will enter the field once her playing days are over.
In fact, I think the Sky players are more entertaining on-court than the Fever, who have big personalities off the court. In fact, I’d watch that Chicago roster in a light-hearted game any day of the week. Put some defense up and it’s another story, however.
Back to the West, fresh off her two-game suspension for a DUI charger, Phoenix G Diana Taurasi will play. Well, that’s assuming she delays her July 22 court proceedings and isn’t tossed in jail, the highest penalty for her charge. Again, I still don’t think she should be allowed to play, but enough has been said and the WNBA continues to make a bad decision.
In other news, Indiana finally lost a game. That’s after winning 11 straight. Critics want to talk about their easier schedule and how Katie Douglas can’t take it any higher than where she’s playing now, but I’m giving the Fever full credit for being one of the better teams in the WNBA.
Midway-point awards, I have Douglas as an early MVP leader (but would vote for Mercury G Cappie Pondexter because of her unheard of averages of 20.3 points, 5.9 assists, and 4.8 rebounds). Coach Lin Dunn would be Coach of the Year.
My 2009 ROY is still leaning toward DeWanna Bonner, but Shavonte Zellous is starting to play like I predicted during the NCAA tournament. She has all the attributes to be a pro and could help the Shock recover for a torrid start.
Storm forward Swin Cash wants to be on the defensive team “at least once in my career,” but the Defensive Player of the Year to start may be DeSousa or Minnesota C Nicky Anosike. Anosike’s numbers aren’t spectacular, but the first-time All-Star is flourishing in her second season, averaging 13.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.1 steals.
I’m going to hold off on Sixth Woman of the Year and Most Improved because there are a lot of quality candidates in those categories.
For those who continue to believe the WNBA is folding, on Wednesday a group of investors are expected to announce their interest in having a team in Tulsa. Maybe that’s why the famed Houston franchise was allowed to fold? Anyway, aside from the article forgetting that Sparks G Betty Lennox was born in Oklahoma City, it’s good news for the WNBA.
It’s doubtful former Sonics and Storm owner Clay Bennett’s people are involved because of some remarks his partners made about the WNBA in the past. But Bennett is a huge supporter of Oklahoma basketball, befriending coach Sheri Coale and purchasing court side seats.
In the Storm camp, the team is off today, some spending time at a group barbeque (where’s my invite Q?). They host Los Angeles on Wednesday, where C Lisa Leslie is expected to return after suffering a right knee injury.
Jackson also wants to return. She’ll test her left Achilles at practice on Tuesday.
Game I’m looking forward to: The All-Star game of course. It’ll be a UConn love fest, but the festivities at the Mohegan Sun Arena are always fun. Plus, I hear their may be lobster in the press box. Most teams cut out food this season.
POWs: Congrats to Pondexter and New York All-Star Shameka Christon.