The WNBA named its All-Star reserves on Tuesday. For the first time in the midsummer classic’s 11-year history, the Storm will not be represented. The omission also makes Seattle the only member of the 12-team league not represented in the game set to tip on Saturday at 12:30pm PT on ABC from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
With the franchise’s All-Star mainstays Lauren Jackson (hamstring) and Sue Bird (knee) out due to injury, many believed F Tina Thompson would get the nod for Seattle. Thompson is the WNBA’s last remaining player from its 1997 inaugural season, the No. 1 overall draft pick that season. An eight-time All-Star, Thompson announced she is retiring this season after a storied 17-year career.
“That doesn’t mean anything to Tina,” said agent Aaron Goodwin, whose firm is based in Seattle. “Selfishly, I want her to be an All-Star because it would be a great way to go out in her career. But I don’t think it means anything except for the fact that, this late in her career, she’s her being considered for it shows the type of career she’s had.
“We wouldn’t want the league to just put her on there. She’s earned everything she’s got in her career. That’s the way she started as the No. 1 pick and that’s the way she’s going to go out.”
Thompson, the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer (7,195 points), is averaging 11.6 points and 4.8 rebounds for the 6-10 Storm. Seattle ranks fourth in the Western Conference, good enough for the final playoff berth if the season were to end today.
Despite her accolades, I agree Thompson shouldn’t have been placed on the team as a nod to her career and retirement. Coaches vote for the reserves and produced a great selection – possibly for the first time in the game’s history. They even justly omitted No. 3 overall draft pick Skylar Diggins, who entered as the most popular – and hyped – rookie in the WNBA.
Teammate Glory Johnson, who’s carrying Tulsa with an averaged 16.4 points and 10.2 rebounds for the 6-13 Shock, is the young squad’s All-Star rep this season. PGs Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota) and Kristi Toliver (Los Angeles) were rightfully voted as backcourt reserves by WNBA coaches.
Phoenix All-Star C Brittney Griner, the 2013 No. 1 overall draft pick, is out with a sprained ankle injury. There’s no word whether she’ll play in the game on Saturday. If unable, WNBA president Laurel Richie will appoint a replacement. That could still be Thompson, but even teammate Camille Little deserves the honor over Thompson. Little, a 6 foot 2 post, leads the Storm with 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, shooting 50 percent from the field.
Little, an eight-year pro who was selected in the second-round of the 2007 draft, carried the Storm through injuries in 2012 to ensure a record ninth-consecutive playoff berth. She should have been an All-Star then, but there wasn’t a game due to the 2012 London Olympics.
Here’s the full All-Star release:
SEVEN FIRST-TIME ALL-STAR SELECTIONS HEADLINE RESERVES
FOR BOOST MOBILE WNBA ALL-STAR GAME 2013
— Connecticut’s Charles, Hightower to Play in Front of Hometown Fans —
NEW YORK, July 23, 2013 – In addition to rookies Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner, who last week were voted by fans as starters for the Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game, seven other players have been chosen by the league’s coaches to make their first All-Star appearances as reserves, the WNBA announced today.
The 11th Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star game will be held this Saturday, July 27 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The festivities, which will be hosted by the Connecticut Sun for the third time in franchise history, will be telecast live by ABC Sports at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Highlighting the group of first-time selections is a pair of reigning award winners from the Los Angeles Sparks – guard Kristi Toliver, the WNBA’s 2012 Most Improved Player, and frontcourt player Nneka Ogwumike, the 2012 WNBA Rookie of the Year. Guards Allison Hightower (Connecticut Sun), Ivory Latta (Washington Mystics), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Silver Stars), and Shavonte Zellous (Indiana Fever), as well as frontcourt player Glory Johnson (Tulsa Shock), round out the list of players who will make their All-Star debuts Saturday.
Reserves who are returning to the All-Star stage for a third time include Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx), along with Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky). Reigning league MVP Tina Charles (Connecticut) and Crystal Langhorne (Washington) will each take part in her second All-Star contest.
Charles and Ogwumike, the No. 1 overall draft picks in 2010 and 2012, respectively, are two of eight former No. 1 selections on this year’s All-Star rosters. The others are starters Diana Taurasi (2004, Phoenix Mercury), Seimone Augustus (2006, Minnesota), Candace Parker (2008, Los Angeles), Angel McCoughtry (2009, Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (2011, Minnesota), and Griner (2013, Phoenix).
For the Eastern Conference, Charles enters the Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game tied for the league-lead in double-doubles (10) and ranks second in rebounds (10.3 rpg). Joining her in the East frontcourt are Fowles, who leads the league in rebounding (11.9 rpg) and sits in third place in field goal percentage (.573), and Langhorne, a key figure in the turnaround of the Mystics while ranking fourth in field goal percentage (.563) and 12th in rebounding (6.7 rpg).
Among the trio of reserve guards for the East, Latta is posting personal career highs thus far in scoring (14.4 ppg) and assists (3.9 apg); Zellous, the league’s 13th-leading scorer (15.8 ppg), is putting up career-best figures in nearly every major statistical category; and Hightower, with 13.4 ppg, has nearly doubled her previous best campaign.
For the Western Conference, Toliver, who ranks in the top 16 in the league in assists (3.4 apg), scoring (14.8 ppg), and steals (1.24 spg), will be joined at the guard spot by fellow reserves Whalen and Robinson. Whalen has helped the Lynx to a league-best 13-3 record and ranks fourth in the WNBA in assists (5.3 apg) and 10th in scoring (16.1 ppg). Robinson sits atop the WNBA leaderboard in assists (6.6 apg) and ranks seventh in steals (1.65 spg).
Among the frontcourt reserves in the West, Brunson, who helped the Lynx to the 2011 WNBA championship and the 2012 Western Conference crown, is fourth in the league in rebounds (9.2 rpg) and tied with Fowles for third in double-doubles (7), trailing only co-leaders Charles and Johnson). Coupled with starters Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore, Brunson and Whalen give the Lynx four players in the 2013 Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game, the most of any team.
Rounding out the West frontcourt are Johnson, who ranks third in the WNBA in rebounding (10.2 rpg) and ninth in scoring (16.4 ppg), and Ogwumike, who sits at No. 2 in field goal percentage (.593, behind only Griner), is tied for sixth in double-doubles (4), and ranks eighth in rebounds (7.5 rpg).
Reserves were chosen by the league’s 12 head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team, and selected reserves by voting for six players within their own conference, including two guards, three frontcourt players, and one player regardless of position.
Following are the reserves selected for the 2013 Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game:
Eastern Conference Reserves: Western Conference Reserves:
Tina Charles, Frontcourt (Connecticut Sun) Rebekkah Brunson, Frontcourt (Minnesota Lynx)
Sylvia Fowles, Frontcourt (Chicago Sky Glory Johnson, Frontcourt (Tulsa Shock)
Alison Hightower, Guard (Connecticut Sun) Nneka Ogwumike, Frontcourt (Los Angeles Sparks)
Crystal Langhorne, Frontcourt (Washington Mystics) Danielle Robinson, Guard (San Antonio Silver Stars)
Ivory Latta, Guard (Washington Mystics) Kristi Toliver, Guard (Los Angeles Sparks)
Shavonte Zellous, Guard (Indiana Fever) Lindsay Whalen, Guard (Minnesota Lynx)
Replacement players, who will take the roster spot of players who cannot play due to injury, will be named by WNBA President Laurel J. Richie on July 24. Any changes to the starting lineup necessitated by injury would subsequently be made by the head coach of the respective team.
By virtue of winning their respective conference titles last season, Indiana head coach Lin Dunn will coach the Eastern Conference, and the Western Conference will be led by Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve.
Individual tickets are available to the general public at Ticketmaster locations, including by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com or connecticutsun.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Mohegan Sun Box Office from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
2013 BOOST MOBILE WNBA ALL-STAR ROSTERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STARS
Head Coach: Lin Dunn (Indiana Fever)
Player Team Position
Tamika Catchings* Indiana Fever Frontcourt
Tina Charles Connecticut Sun Frontcourt
Elena Delle Donne*^+ Chicago Sky Frontcourt
Sylvia Fowles Chicago Sky Frontcourt
Allison Hightower^ Connecticut Sun Guard
Crystal Langhorne Washington Mystics Frontcourt
Ivory Latta^ Washington Mystics Guard
Angel McCoughtry* Atlanta Dream Frontcourt
Cappie Pondexter* New York Liberty Guard
Epiphanny Prince* Chicago Sky Guard
Shavonte Zellous^ Indiana Fever Guard
WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STARS
Head Coach: Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx)
Player Team Position
Seimone Augustus* Minnesota Lynx Guard
Rebekkah Brunson Minnesota Lynx Frontcourt
Brittney Griner*^+ Phoenix Mercury Frontcourt
Glory Johnson^ Tulsa Shock Frontcourt
Maya Moore* Minnesota Lynx Frontcourt
Nneka Ogwumike^ Los Angeles Sparks Frontcourt
Candace Parker* Los Angeles Sparks Frontcourt
Danielle Robinson^ San Antonio Silver Stars Guard
Diana Taurasi* Phoenix Mercury Guard
Kristi Toliver^ Los Angeles Sparks Guard
Lindsay Whalen Minnesota Lynx Guard
* denotes member of the starting lineup, as voted by the fans
^ denotes first-time All-Star selection
# denotes injured and will be unable to participate in the WNBA All-Star Game
+ denotes rookie
WNBA ALL-STAR GAME HISTORY
Date Location W L
July 14, 1999 Madison Square Garden (New York) West 79 East 61
July 17, 2000 America West Arena (Phoenix) West 73 East 61
July 16, 2001 TD Waterhouse Centre (Orlando) West 80 East 72
July 15, 2002 MCI Center (Washington) West 81 East 76
July 12, 2003 Madison Square Garden (New York) West 84 East 75
July 9, 2005 Mohegan Sun Arena (Connecticut) West 122 East 99
July 12, 2006 Madison Square Garden (New York) East 98 West 82
July 15, 2007 Verizon Center (Washington) East 103 West 99
July 25, 2009 Mohegan Sun Arena (Connecticut) West 133 East 118
July 27, 2011 AT&T Center (San Antonio) East 118 West 113
* No All-Star game was held in 2004, 2008, and 2012 due to the Olympic Games in Athens, Beijing, and London, respectively. Similarly, no All-Star game was played in 2010, due to the FIBA World Championships in Czech Republic. An exhibition game was conducted at Radio City Music Hall in the summer of 2004, and in 2010, an exhibition game was held at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. with a USA vs. WNBA format in the “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun.”
The 2011 All-Star Game featured a record 10 first-time All-Stars and was marked by a halftime ceremony honoring the top 15 players in the WNBA’s 15-year history. Seattle’s Swin Cash led the West with 21 points and 12 rebounds and was named MVP for the second time. She joined Lisa Leslie as the only other player with multiple WNBA All-Star MVP awards. Cash also earned the honor in 2009.