NEW YORK – Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm joins four former Huskies and five former WNBA MVPs in headlining the list of 10 players selected by fans, WNBA players and media to start in Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017.
With her 10th All-Star selection, Bird has tied Tamika Catchings for the most in WNBA history. Bird will represent the host Storm in the All-Star Game, which will take place on Saturday, July 22 at KeyArena in Seattle (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC).
In addition to Bird (guard), the Western Conference starters include WNBA regular-season MVPs Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury (guard), Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx (frontcourt) and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks (frontcourt). The West lineup also features 2015 Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles of Minnesota (frontcourt). Moore and Fowles have led the Lynx to a WNBA-best 13-2 record in 2017.
The Eastern Conference starting lineup includes WNBA MVPs Tina Charles of the New York Liberty (frontcourt) and Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics (frontcourt). Joining Charles and Delle Donne are three first-time All-Stars: Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream (guard) and Jonquel Jones (frontcourt) and Jasmine Thomas (guard) of the East-leading Connecticut Sun.
The starting lineups for the 14th WNBA All-Star Game were revealed today on ESPN’s SportsCenter: Coast to Coast. The All-Star reserves, who will be selected by the WNBA’s 12 head coaches, will be announced on Tuesday, July 18 during ESPN2’s telecast of the Storm and the Chicago Sky (9 p.m. ET).
Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve will serve as the West head coach and New York’s Bill Laimbeer will guide the East after the Lynx and Liberty finished with the best regular-season records in their respective conferences in 2016.
Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote to determine the starters for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017, while current players and a media panel accounted for 25 percent each. Fans cast 604,680 votes, more than double the number in 2015 (280,670). No All-Star Game was held in 2016 due to the Summer Olympics.
After all votes were tallied, players were ranked in each conference by position (guard and frontcourt) within each of the three voting groups – fan votes, player votes and media votes. Each player’s score was calculated by averaging her weighted rank from the fan votes, the player votes and the media votes. The five players (two guards and three frontcourt players) with the best score in each conference were named starters for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017.
Moore was the overall leading vote-getter among fans (32,866). She was followed by Delle Donne (31,414), Parker (29,133), Fowles (24,904) and Bird (24,841).
Fan voting served as the tiebreaker for players in a position group with the same score. Parker (29,133 fan votes) won the tiebreaker with Sparks teammate Nneka Ogwumike (21,975) for the third starting spot among West frontcourt players.
Eastern Conference Starters
- Tina Charles, Liberty: A five-time All-Star selection, this marks the third time the 2012 league MVP is an All-Star starter (2011, 2015). She has been an All-Star with both Connecticut and New York.
- Elena Delle Donne, Mystics: In her first season with Washington, the 2015 WNBA MVP earns her fourth All-Star selection, all as a starter. The overall leading vote-getter in 2013 and 2015, she was sidelined by injury for the 2013 and 2014 All-Star Games. Her first three selections were as a member of the Sky.
- Tiffany Hayes, Dream: The first-time All-Star earned the most votes among East guards from all three voting groups. She is averaging career highs of 16.6 points and 4.5 rebounds.
- Jonquel Jones, Sun: Before the season, the 23-year-old from the Bahamas was voted by WNBA general managers as the player most likely to have a breakout year. With 201 rebounds through 17 games, the first-time All-Star is on pace to top Charles’ single-season record for total rebounds (398 in 2010).
- Jasmine Thomas, Sun: A first-time All-Star selection in her seventh season, Thomas previously played for Washington and Atlanta. She is averaging career highs of 15.0 points and 5.2 assists.
Western Conference Starters
- Sue Bird, Storm: The 10-time All-Star selection was voted to the starting lineup for the eighth time overall and for the first time since 2011. In her most recent All-Star appearances, she was added to the West roster in 2014 as a replacement player and was named as a reserve in 2015. Her first All-Star appearance and starting nod came in her rookie season of 2002.
- Sylvia Fowles, Lynx: The Western Conference Player of the Month in May and June earns her fourth All-Star selection. This marks her third starting nod and first All-Star selection with the Lynx after representing Chicago three times.
- Maya Moore, Lynx: The 2014 WNBA MVP and 2013 Finals MVP is a five-time All-Star selection, all as a starter. She was named 2015 All-Star Game MVP after scoring a record 30 points.
- Candace Parker, Sparks: The two-time WNBA MVP (2008, 2013) and reigning Finals MVP earns her fourth selection, all as starter. After missing the 2011 All-Star Game due to injury, Parker made her All-Star debut in 2013 and scored a then-record 23 points in an MVP performance.
- Diana Taurasi, Mercury: The 2009 regular-season MVP and two-time Finals MVP (2009, 2014) became the WNBA’s career points leader last month. A three-time WNBA champion, Taurasi is an eight-time All-Star selection, all as a starter.
About the WNBA
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 Verizon as its leaguewide marquee partner, tipped off its 21st season on May 13, 2017.
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.
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Contacts: Ron Howard, WNBA Communications, (212) 407-8641, email@example.com