The WNBA All-Star game is always fun to watch. Fans get to see a combination of competition and showing off from the top women in pro basketball.
This year was no exception. But, in addition to a great game, we also got a peek at the past 15 years. And, at halftime, the top 15 WNBA players of all time were named — the result of voting by current players and coaches, select members of the media, and fans. The nominees were chosen for performance, leadership, sportsmanship, community service, and overall contributions to their teams and women’s basketball.
Every one of those women earned her place on that esteemed list, but some of the players were overwhelmed to be standing with the very women who inspired them to play.
"I think about being in high school when the WNBA started," Sue Bird told ESPN. "Then being in college and watching some of these players … Fast-forward 10 [seasons] and I’m on the top-15 list with Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes. It’s almost unbelievable for me personally."
Leave it to the always-humble Tamika Catchings to share the honors with some of the greats who pre-dated the league.
"I’m absolutely flattered, though I think it’s really important to recognize some of the players who helped create a foundation for our game even before the WNBA — people like Cheryl Miller, Nancy Lieberman, Ann Meyers," Catchings said. "They put our league on the map. I’m honored to be included in the same sentence as them."
The All-Star game was, as usual, a high-scoring display of skill. Neither side led by more than five points, and the teams’ combined scoring percentage was 49.5. The East came through with the win — 118-113 — for the first time since 2007. Both sides, however, made plays to remember. Let’s look at a few of the best.
San Antonio’s Becky Hammon shows her hometown fans that she should’ve been a starter.
Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry gives herself a bounce off the glass for a pretty lay-up.
New York’s Cappie Pondexter gets a steal while the commentator rattles on about something else.
And Indiana’s Katie Douglas makes the three that gives the East its winning lead.
In an odd twist, the MVP was on the losing team for the first time in WNBA history, as Seattle’s Swin Cash won the trophy with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
If the league awarded a trophy for the player who had the most fun, Liz Cambage would’ve won. The Aussie rookie, who plays for Tulsa, replaced the injured Candace Parker on the All-Star team — and she had a blast.
She also scored 13 points, four rebounds, two steals and a block in 12 minutes of playing time. (I was going to compare that to Parker’s first All-Star appearance, but that hasn’t happened yet.) Cambage is part of my favorite picture from the game.
That’s 5’7" Renee Montgomery trying to block out the 6’8" Cambage.
All in all, the 2011 All-Star game was the perfect set-up for the second half of the WNBA season. At this point, who makes the playoffs is anybody’s guess.
If you’d like to be at one of the playoff games yourself, be sure to enter this year’s "WNBA Score Your Seats Sweepstakes." You could win airfare and hotel accommodations for two in the host city of the 2011 WNBA Championship in October, as well as two tickets to Game 3 in the Finals. To enter, visit logotv.com.
What was your favorite part of the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game? Did any players surprise you? Was Cash your pick for MVP?