Gray and Ogwumike join 2017 WNBA Western All-Star team

Sparks guard Chelsea Gray Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike

OGWUMIKE, STEWART HIGHLIGHT RESERVES
FOR VERIZON WNBA ALL-STAR 2017

— Nine First-Time All-Stars Set to Play in July 22 Game at Seattle (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) —

NEW YORK, July 18, 2017 – Reigning regular-season MVP Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks, reigning Rookie of the Year Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm and WNBA scoring leader Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury were selected by the league’s head coaches as reserves for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017, the WNBA announced today.

Stewart is one of six reserves named as an All-Star for the first time. With three starters also earning their first selection, a total of nine players – seven from the Eastern Conference and two from the Western Conference – have been picked to make their All-Star debut at Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 on Saturday, July 22 at KeyArena in Seattle (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC).

Ogwumike and Griner, both four-time All-Star selections, were voted to the West frontcourt with Stewart.  The West reserves also feature guards Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx, Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Dallas Wings and Chelsea Gray of the Sparks. Augustus and Diggins-Smith are All-Star veterans with seven and three selections, respectively, while Gray is a first-time pick.

The East reserves are highlighted by Indiana Fever forward Candice Dupree, who joins Cappie Pondexter and Tina Thompson as the only players in league history to be selected as an All-Star with three different teams. Dupree represented the East in 2006, 2007 and 2009 as a member of the Chicago Sky and was on the West in 2014 and 2015 with the Mercury.

Two-time All-Star Stefanie Dolson of Chicago joins Dupree as a reserve in the East frontcourt. The conference’s four other reserves are all first-time All-Stars: Alyssa Thomas of the Connecticut Sun and Elizabeth Williams of the Atlanta Dream in the frontcourt, along with guards Layshia Clarendon of the Dream and Allie Quigley of the Sky. The East also has three first-time All-Stars in the starting lineup with Atlanta’s Tiffany Hayes and Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones and Jasmine Thomas.

Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 will feature nine former No. 1 overall picks. Eight of those players will suit up for the West: Bird (the top pick in 2002), Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi (2004), Augustus (2006), Los Angeles’ Candace Parker (2008), Minnesota’s Maya Moore (2011), Ogwumike (2012), Griner (2013) and Stewart (2016). Tina Charles (2010) of the New York Liberty will represent the East.

Griner, along with East starter Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics, will miss Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 due to injury.  On July 14, Griner suffered knee and ankle injuries and Delle Donne sustained a sprained ankle.  WNBA President Lisa Borders will select the replacements for Griner and Delle Donne.

Following are the reserves for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017:

Eastern Conference Reserves

  • Layshia Clarendon, Dream: The first-time All-Star leads the WNBA in assists with 6.9 per game, nearly double her career high. A 2013 first-round draft pick by the Indiana Fever, she has flourished since being traded to Atlanta before the 2016 season and becoming a full-time starter.
  • Stefanie Dolson, Sky: In her first season with Chicago after being acquired from Washington in an offseason trade, Dolson earns her second All-Star nod. The fourth-year pro ranks second among Sky players in scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg), both career-high marks.
  • Candice Dupree, Fever: Indiana’s leader in scoring (13.9 ppg) and rebounding (5.5 rpg) is an All-Star for the sixth time in her 12 WNBA seasons. She is the first player in league history to represent one conference as an All-Star and then the other before again representing the conference for which she was first an All-Star.
  • Allie Quigley, Sky: The two-time WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year (2014 and 2015) is now a first-time All-Star. A regular starter for the first time in her nine WNBA seasons, Quigley ranks fourth in the East in scoring (16.4 ppg; five points above her career high) and third in three-point shooting percentage (.427, 38-of-89).
  • Alyssa Thomas, Sun: With career-high averages in scoring (13.8 ppg), rebounding (6.5 rpg), assists (4.9 apg) and steals (1.6 spg), Thomas has helped Connecticut overcome a 1-5 start to post the third-best record in the league (12-8). She and All-Star starters Jasmine Thomas and Jonquel Jones became the first trio of teammates in WNBA history to earn Player of the Week honors in three consecutive weeks.
  • Elizabeth Williams, Dream: The reigning WNBA Most Improved Player joins teammates Hayes and Clarendon as a first-time All-Star selection. The third-year pro ranks third among East players in rebounding (8.0 rpg).

Western Conference Reserves

  • Seimone Augustus, Lynx: This marks the seventh All-Star selection for Augustus, a three-time WNBA champion, six-time All-WNBA pick and the 2011 WNBA Finals MVP. The Lynx’s career leader in points (5,333) and fields goals (2,159), she is No. 2 in the WNBA in three-point field goal percentage this season (.467, 14-of-30).
  • Skylar Diggins-Smith, Wings: This is the third All-Star selection for Diggins-Smith, the third pick in the “Three to See” WNBA Draft of 2013 that also featured Griner and Delle Donne. She was voted to the All-Star Game as a starter in 2014 and 2015, the latter as the top vote-getter among West players despite suffering a season-ending knee injury after nine games. She ranks fifth in the league in assists (5.6 apg).
  • Chelsea Gray, Sparks: A first-time All-Star, Gray has thrived in her first year as a full-time starter and leads the league in three-point shooting percentage (.509, 29-of-57). A first-round pick of Connecticut in 2014, she was acquired by Los Angeles in a 2016 draft-day trade in which the Sparks sent the draft rights to Jones to the Sun.
  • Brittney Griner, Mercury: A four-time All-Star selection (she was voted as a starter in 2013, 2014 and 2015), Griner leads the WNBA in scoring (22.3 ppg; nearly seven points above her career best) and blocks (2.5 bpg). She is a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (2014 and 2015).
  • Nneka Ogwumike, Sparks: The reigning WNBA regular-season MVP earns her fourth All-Star selection. She is third in the league in scoring (20.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (.596, 137-of-230) while helping the defending champion Sparks to the second-best record in the WNBA (13-5).
  • Breanna Stewart, Storm: A near unanimous pick as the 2016 WNBA Rookie of the Year (38 of 39 votes), Stewart will represent the hometown Storm at Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 in her first All-Star appearance. She ranks fourth in the league in rebounding (8.9 rpg), fifth in scoring (19.4 ppg) and sixth in blocks (1.5 bpg).

In selecting the reserves, the 12 WNBA head coaches voted for six players in their own conference: two guards, three frontcourt players and a player at either position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team.

Individual tickets for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 start at just $15 and can be purchased at http://seattlestormbasketball.com/ticketcentral/#/all-star or by calling 206-217-WNBA (9622).

The 2017 WNBA regular season runs through Sept. 3. For more information on the WNBA and game tickets, fans may visit www.wnba.com.

EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STARS

 

PLAYER                      TEAM                        POSITION     HT.       BIRTHDATE    COLLEGE                 YRS.    ASG

Starters

Tina Charles*               New York Liberty       Frontcourt     6-4       12/5/88           Connecticut              7          5

Elena Delle Donne*@ Washington Mystics  Frontcourt     6-5       9/5/89             Delaware                  4          4

Tiffany Hayes*^            Atlanta Dream          Guard           5-10     9/20/89           Connecticut              5          1

Jonquel Jones*^          Connecticut Sun      Frontcourt     6-6       1/5/94             George Washington  1          1

Jasmine Thomas*^      Connecticut Sun      Guard           5-9       9/30/89           Duke                         6          1

Reserves

Layshia Clarendon^     Atlanta Dream          Guard           5-9       5/2/91             California                  4          1

Stefanie Dolson           Chicago Sky             Frontcourt     6-5       1/8/92             Connecticut              3          2

Candice Dupree          Indiana Fever           Frontcourt     6-2       8/16/84           Temple                     11        6

Allie Quigley^              Chicago Sky             Guard           5-10     6/20/86           DePaul                     8          1

Alyssa Thomas^           Connecticut Sun      Frontcourt     6-2       4/12/92           Maryland                  3          1

Elizabeth Williams^     Atlanta Dream          Frontcourt     6-3       6/23/93           Duke                         2          1

WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STARS

 

PLAYER                      TEAM                        POSITION     HT.       BIRTHDATE    COLLEGE                 YRS.    ASG

Starters

Sue Bird*                     Seattle Storm           Guard           5-9       10/16/80         Connecticut              14        10

Sylvia Fowles*             Minnesota Lynx        Frontcourt     6-6       10/6/85           LSU                          9          4

Maya Moore*               Minnesota Lynx        Frontcourt     6-0       6/11/89           Connecticut              6          5

Candace Parker*          Los Angeles Sparks   Frontcourt     6-4       4/19/86           Tennessee                9          4

Diana Taurasi*             Phoenix Mercury      Guard           6-0       6/11/82           Connecticut              12        8

Reserves

Seimone Augustus       Minnesota Lynx        Guard           6-0       4/30/84           LSU                          11        7

Skylar Diggins-Smith    Dallas Wings             Guard           5-9       8/2/90             Notre Dame              4          3

Chelsea Gray^             Los Angeles Sparks   Guard           5-11     10/8/92           Duke                         2          1

Brittney Griner@          Phoenix Mercury      Frontcourt     6-9       10/18/90         Baylor                       4          4

Nneka Ogwumike         Los Angeles Sparks   Frontcourt     6-2       7/2/90             Stanford                    5          4

Breanna Stewart^        Seattle Storm           Frontcourt     6-4       8/27/94           Connecticut              1          1

* denotes starter, as voted by the fans, media and current WNBA players

^ denotes first-time All-Star selection

@ denotes injured, unable to play

+ denotes replacement player selected by WNBA President

Yrs denotes number of seasons completed entering 2017

ASG denotes number of All-Star selections including 2017

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

July 19, 2014      US Airways Center (Phoenix)                  East     125         West     124

July 25, 2015      Mohegan Sun Arena (Connecticut)          West    117         East       112

* No All-Star Game was held in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 due to the Olympic Games in Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro, respectively. No All-Star Game was played in 2010 due to the FIBA World Championships. An exhibition game was conducted at Radio City Music Hall in 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.”

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.