The WNBA All-Star game events are going full force and the players and staff are enjoying the fun of playing with players they normally play against as well as playing against players they normally play with.
“A lot of floaters. I don’t want her to block my shot,” said Loyd.
For the Seattle Storm its forward Natasha Howard playing on Team A’ja Wilson facing off against Team Delle Donne and her Storm teammate forward Jewell Loyd.
“I wish we were teammates, said Howard. “I thought we were going to be teammates but they split us up but its going to be fun both of us going at each other.”
It’s Howard’s first All-Star game and both players had hoped to be together but facing off against one another just means having a little fun with what not to let the other do.
“I just don’t want to let her block me,” said Loyd.
To which Howard replied she’ll respect her teammate’s shot but…“I ain’t going to block her shot,” said Howard. “I might dunk on her but I won’t block her shot.”
The teams had a little practice time today with their respective All-Star teams. Players were joking as they practiced their shooting and went over a few simple plays.
In between the practices the media scrum ensued and players were able to relax while answer a few questions and teasing each other.
As Howard was being interviewed the Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles leaned in to pronounce, “Natasha loves me” to which Howard laughingly agreed as the new teammates enjoyed the atmosphere of sportsmanship and respect.
Friday night also includes the new Skills contest and the ever popular 3-points contest. Fans can watch the event by showing their game ticket and it includes players who may not have made the All-Star line-up but have shown they should be given the chance to play.
This is how Seattle Storm guard Sami Whitcomb views it and is excited to be a part of the Skills contest representing Seattle.
“It’s an honor absolutely,” said Whitcomb. “Particularly for someone like me it’s probably a once in a lifetime opportunity so super grateful to be here obviously it’s an incredible group of girls and I’m just really honored that I get to participate in any way.”
When asked if she would rather have been in the 3-point contest she looked to her right where the back-to-back champion and former Storm and current Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley was sitting.
“No, because I would have to go against her,” said Whitcomb with a smile.
She said she’ll take her shot with her 3-point attempt shot in the Skills contest and hopefully knock it down saying she’s excited to be a part of it.
Quigley is obviously no stranger to competition and is excited to see new faces and knows she needs to focus on what she can do and not on what someone else might do.
“I think it’s going to be tough. A lot of great shooters,” said Quigley.
It turned out to be a tough two events for both Whitcomb and Quigley.
It was Washington vs Gonzaga as Whitcomb was paired against Chicago Sky and former Gonzaga guard Courtney Vandersloot in the first round.
Despite coming out strong and with the lead heading into the final skill Whitcomb couldn’t complete her first shot at a three-point attempt which opened the door for Vandersloot to sneak up to the arc and land her first attempt for the win.
Throughout the contest it came down to that three-point attempt as being the main obstacle or opportunity for the players.
The final pairing saw Chicago Sky guard Diamond DeShields against center Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun.
Once again it came down to that final shot as Jones missed allowing DeShields to catch up and before Jones could make her shot DeShields landed the three and the Skills Contest trophy.
In the 3-Point contest it was all eyes on Quigley but after seeing hometown favorite Kayla McBride of the Las Vegas Aces spot a 22 and Connecticut Sun’s forward Shekinna Strickland put up 21 Quigley couldn’t make it a three three-peat as she ended the opening round with 19.
In the final Strickland dropped in 23 and wasn’t sure it was enough saying afterwards she thought she would need 26 or 27 and was surprised not to see Quigley in the final.
McBride came in and despite a late surge came one point shy with 22 to give Strickland the 2019 title of 3-point champion.