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 Tuesday.
The 11th Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star game will be held on Saturday, July 27 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. 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.
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.
The WNBA – which features 12 teams and is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world – is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity. The league, which counts Boost Mobile as its league wide marquee partner, tipped off its 17th season on May 24, 2013. Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.