Technically Storm PG Sue Bird has already missed her first All-Star start. She didn’t play the 2013 WNBA season due to offseason knee surgery. Bird remained on the roster and was paid, however, so her not being selected to the All-Star game in Connecticut last year broke her streak of seven consecutive appearances as an All-Star starter. That’s every year the WNBA had a midsummer classic since Bird was drafted No. 1 overall in 2002.
But this season is different. The WNBA announced Tuesday its 2014 All-Star starters as voted by fans and Bird wasn’t selected — a first in her career when able to play to start the season. She’s always topped the backcourt candidates because of skill and popularity. In 2007, she was the overall leading vote-getter with 128,838 votes but didn’t play due to minor knee surgery.
Her record for most ballot votes remains. Minnesota G/F Maya Moore was the announced top vote-getter on Tuesday with 28,389 votes.
Chicago F Elena Delle Donne led the Eastern All-Stars, totaling 26,129 votes this season. She likely will be unable to play in the July 19 game in Phoenix due to treating a Lyme disease flare-up. Delle Donne didn’t play in her first selection last year as a rookie due to a concussion suffered during the regular-season.
Bird could keep her reign in participating in the game. She could be named an All-Star reserve, which are selected by coaches and announced July 15. But even that’s questionable.
Among the field for possible Western Conference All-Star reserves in the backcourt are Minnesota G Seimone Augustus, San Antonio PG Danielle Robinson and Minnesota PG Lindsay Whalen. Augustus is seventh in the league in scoring (17.2 points). Robinson is third in the league in assists (5.6) while Whalen is fourth in assists (5.4) — all guiding their teams to winning records, to date.
Bird? If we’re selecting an Olympic team, there’s no question you take Bird. But for an All-Star game? Well, do you go vet or new-blood?
Bird, in a losing Storm season, is averaging standard numbers after a rough start in 11 points on a career-low 38.2 percent shooting from the field. She’s also averaging 4.7 assists, which ranks seventh in the league.
While Bird is a 12-year veteran, she’s not retiring like Tina Thompson, a motivator in Thompson being selected an injured-reserve in her 17th and final WNBA season last year. Her appearance continued Seattle’s run of having an All-Star on the roster since Lauren Jackson was drafted in 2001.
But if Bird isn’t selected and Storm F Crystal Langhorne, a two-time All-Star while with Washington, is also passed over by coaches, it’s not unprecedented for a team not to have an All-Star participant. In 2000, when the WNBA expanded to 16 teams, none of the four new franchises in Miami, Indiana, Portland nor Seattle had an All-Star named. The other seasons where every team wasn’t represented at the game were 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2007.
The league bumping rosters to 12 players for the 2014 season increases Bird’s likelihood to be an All-Star…in a different role.
Here’s the official release from the WNBA about the All-Star selections announced Tuesday:
MOORE IS BETTER AS MINNESOTA’S MAYA TOPS ALL VOTE-GETTERS IN
2014 WNBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING PRESENTED BY BOOST MOBILE
— Chicago’s Delle Donne and Atlanta Rookie Schimmel Pace Eastern Conference Stars —
— “3 to See” of Heralded 2013 Draft Class all Voted as Starters —
NEW YORK, July 8, 2014 – Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore – MVP of the 2013 WNBA Finals presented by Boost Mobile – led all players with 28,389 votes following final returns of the 2014 WNBA All-Star Balloting presented by Boost Mobile. Chicago Sky frontcourt star Elena Delle Donne – the 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year and the leading vote-getter for Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star a year ago – topped the Eastern Conference and ranked second overall with 26,129 votes.
Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014 will take place at US Airways Center in Phoenix on Saturday, July 19, and will be nationally televised on ESPN, with tip-off at 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT).
Joining three-time All-Star starter Moore in the Western Conference frontcourt are 2013 regular-season MVP and MVP of Boost Mobile All-Star 2013 Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks (23,555), as well as 2013 WNBA No. 1 overall draft pick Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury (18,432). This marks the third time Parker has been selected as an All-Star starter and the second such honor for Griner. Parker also was selected in 2011 but did not play due to a knee injury, as was the case last season for Griner.
At the backcourt spots for the West will be seven-time All-Star and 2009 regular-season MVP Diana Taurasi of Phoenix (19,404) and Skylar Diggins of the Tulsa Shock (17,937), the No. 3 overall selection in the heralded 2013 draft class. Diggins will be making her first All-Star appearance.
The Western Conference lineup will feature four No. 1 overall draft picks, including the top selections from 2004, 2008, 2011, and 2013 (Taurasi, Parker, Moore, and Griner, respectively).
Also voted to the Eastern Conference frontcourt alongside Delle Donne are Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry (17,562) and Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings (13,939). McCoughtry – the 2009 Rookie of the Year – was a starter in her two prior All-Star appearances. Catchings – the 2011 regular-season MVP and MVP of the 2012 WNBA Finals presented by Boost Mobile – has been voted as a starter for all nine All-Star contests played since her first active season in the WNBA (2002).
The starting guards for the East will be Atlanta’s Shoni Schimmel (25,601) – the No. 8 overall pick this past April – and 2007 WNBA Finals MVP Cappie Pondexter of the New York Liberty (10,104). While Schimmel’s selection as a starter marks the third consecutive Boost Mobile All-Star Game in which a rookie was voted to the starting lineup (Moore, 2011; Delle Donne and Griner, 2013), Pondexter will be making her sixth All-Star appearance and her third in a row as a starter.
Eastern Conference Starters: Western Conference Starters:
Shoni Schimmel, Guard (Atlanta Dream) Diana Taurasi, Guard (Phoenix Mercury)
Cappie Pondexter, Guard (New York Liberty) Skylar Diggins, Guard (Tulsa Shock)
Elena Delle Donne, Frontcourt (Chicago Sky) Maya Moore, Frontcourt (Minnesota Lynx)
Angel McCoughtry, Frontcourt (Atlanta Dream) Candace Parker, Frontcourt (Los Angeles Sparks)
Tamika Catchings, Frontcourt (Indiana Fever) Brittney Griner, Frontcourt (Phoenix Mercury)
The 12 WNBA head coaches will select the reserves by voting for six players within their own conference, including two guards, three frontcourt players, and a player from either position. Coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team. The league will announce the reserves during ESPN2’s national telecast of the Sparks and Fever on Tuesday, July 15 at 8 p.m. ET.
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. Any changes to the starting lineup necessitated by injury will be made by the head coach of the respective All-Star team.
Under WNBA guidelines, the coach of the previous season’s conference champion serves as the All-Star coach for that conference, provided that the coach remains in the same position. Since Fred Williams – head coach of the 2013 Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream – is now at the helm in Tulsa, the East head coach – Atlanta’s Michael Cooper – was selected based on the club with the best winning percentage through games on June 29. Cooper earned the honor after guiding his club to an 11-4 mark (.733) at that point in the season. Minnesota Head Coach Cheryl Reeve, who guided the Lynx to the 2013 WNBA title, will lead the West squad.
Individual tickets for Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014 start at just $20 and can be purchased online at PhoenixMercury.com/allstar, through Ticketmaster viaTicketmaster.com, by dialing 800-745-3000, or at the US Airways Center Ticket Office. For every All-Star Game ticket sold, the Mercury will donate $1 to its “All-Stars and Stripes” program benefiting local military heroes and their families.
2014 WNBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING PRESENTED BY BOOST MOBILE
EASTERN CONFERENCE — FINAL RETURNS LEADERS
Guards: Shoni Schimmel (Atl) 25,601; Cappie Pondexter (NY) 10,104; Ivory Latta (Was) 9,932; Briann January (Ind) 8,717; Courtney Vandersloot (Chi) 7,504; Katie Douglas (Con) 7,318; Epiphanny Prince (Chi) 6,006; Kara Lawson (Was) 5,064; Shavonte Zellous (Ind) 4,399; Anna Cruz (NY) 2,753; Matee Ajavon (Atl) 2,727; Allison Hightower (Con) 1,863
Frontcourt: Elena Delle Donne (Chi) 26,129; Angel McCoughtry (Atl) 17,562; Tamika Catchings (Ind) 13,939; Erika de Souza (Atl) 12,859; Chiney Ogwumike (Con) 11,980; Tina Charles (NY) 9,796; Jessica Breland (Chi) 5,841; Sylvia Fowles (Chi) 5,072; Sancho Lyttle (Atl) 4,615; Erlana Larkins (Ind) 3,970; Marissa Coleman (Ind) 3,344; Emma Meesseman (Was) 2,981; Kelsey Bone (Con) 2,239; Kelsey Griffin (Con) 2,209; Kia Vaughn (Was) 2,047; Monique Currie (Was) 1,818; Essence Carson (NY) 1,710; Plenette Pierson (NY) 1,533
WESTERN CONFERENCE — FINAL RETURNS LEADERS
Guards: Diana Taurasi (Phx) 19,404; Skylar Diggins (Tul) 17,937; Seimone Augustus (Minn) 16,143; Lindsay Whalen (Minn) 13,691; Sue Bird (Sea) 8,210; Becky Hammon (SA) 6,663; Danielle Robinson (SA) 4,685; Erin Phillips (Phx) 3,895; Kristi Toliver (LA) 3,485; Alana Beard (LA) 2,892; Riquna Williams (Tul) 1,844; Tanisha Wright (Sea) 1,361
Frontcourt: Maya Moore (Minn) 28,389; Candace Parker (LA) 23,555; Brittney Griner (Phx) 18,432; Nneka Ogwumike (LA) 10,697; Kayla McBride (SA) 10,192; Janel McCarville (Minn) 8,210; Candice Dupree (Phx) 7,844; Glory Johnson (Tul) 6,261; DeWanna Bonner (Phx) 5,183; Rebekkah Brunson (Minn) 4,707; Courtney Paris (Tul) 3,568; Jayne Appel (SA) 3,475; Crystal Langhorne (Sea) 3,221; Sophia Young-Malcolm (SA) 2,534; Camille Little (Sea) 2,290; Jantel Lavender (LA) 2,114; Jordan Hooper (Tul) 1,963; Shekinna Stricklen (Sea) 1,798
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 23, 2011 AT&T Center (San Antonio) East 118 West 113
July 27, 2013 Mohegan Sun Arena (Connecticut) West 102 East 98
* 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.”