5 things to know about the WNBA All-Star game

  • Article by: DOUG FEINBERG , AP Basketball Writer
  • Updated: July 27, 2013 - 11:25 AM

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne were poised to make history as the first pair of rookies from the same class to start the WNBA All-Star game.

Now, neither will be playing Saturday as both are sidelined with injuries. Griner has been saddled by a sprained left knee, which has forced her to miss the Phoenix Mercury's last five games. Delle Donne suffered a concussion in the Sky's game on Wednesday and didn't even make the trip to Connecticut. She's home in Delaware.

"Definitely sad that I can't play," Griner said. "There's nothing I can do about that. Day-by-day, that's my motto. I'm not a trainer, so I'd probably be lying anyway. I'm also sad that Elena can't be here."

It's a tough blow for the league, which has been marketing the two budding stars along with Skylar Diggins since they were drafted with the top three picks in April.

Delle Donne was the leading vote-getter, marking the first time a rookie has led the balloting.

"It's unfortunate that I am unable to be a part of All-Star weekend," Delle Donne said. "I was very excited to join the other players for a memorable experience. It's upsetting not only for me but also for the fans who voted for me. The most important thing for me at this time is to rest and recover for the second half of the season."

It's not just the rookies who aren't playing on Saturday afternoon on ABC.

Veterans Sue Bird, Lauren Jackson and Becky Hammon — perennial All-Stars — have been sidelined with a variety of injuries. Bird and Hammon have played in every All-Star game since 2003.

___

FOND FAREWELL — Seattle star Tina Thompson will be playing in her final All-Star game. Thompson previously announced she will retire after the season.

The 17-year veteran has played in a record nine All-Star games and was a last-minute injury replacement for Brittney Griner. She joked on Thursday that she would have "appreciated the break," but was happy to be part of the festivities one last time.

"I'll try not to get sentimental with it, it's definitely an honor to be here," Thompson said. "To have been here since the start and see this league grow is really amazing."

The 38-year old Thompson is the league's all-time leader in points, field goals and minutes. She was the first player selected in the inaugural WNBA college draft and was chosen as one of the league's top 15 players all-time during the WNBA's 15th season.

Thompson addressed the fans after the West practiced and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

"It's special that she's here for the final time," West coach Cheryl Reeve said. "She's been a big part of this league's success."

Diana Taurasi took it a step further, saying "every WNBA arena should retire her jersey."

___

RETURN OF REF CAM — Official Lamont Simpson became an overnight sensation when he wore the referee cam during a nationally televised game in June.

The veteran official will don it again for the All-Star game on Saturday.

"The emails and texts didn't stop coming until about two weeks after I wore it," Simpson said. "It seems everyone saw it. The players still joke with me about it when I do games now. It really was a great experience and I'm happy to do it again."

Simpson wore the innovative device, which looks like a pair of glasses, when the Indiana Fever played the Phoenix Mercury. The cam not only provided a different vantage point, it also caught Candice Dupree bumping into Simpson, which resulted in a one-game suspension.

"Maybe we should fly in 'Pree' for it," said Taurasi, joking around. "I'm not going near that thing."

Taurasi missed Phoenix's last game because she accumulated her seventh technical foul, which resulted in a one-game suspension.

___

MINNESOTA TAKEOVER — For the second consecutive All-Star game, the Lynx are fully represented.

West coach Cheryl Reeve has four of her Minnesota players on the roster and her staff on the bench. Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus were elected as starters and Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson were chosen as reserves. The same four played in the 2011 All-Star game.

Augustus was excited again to play with her teammates.

"To get to share in that experience with Maya, Whalen and Brunson, just kind of get to enjoy it, it's kind of a Los Lynx family reunion," she said.

Reeve will get all four of them on the court together at some point in the game. Brunson was announced as a starter replacing Griner.

___

FIRST TIMERS — Surprisingly, Candace Parker is playing in her first All-Star game.

She was selected to the team in 2011, but was unable to play because of a knee injury.

"It's really cool because I haven't been able to play because of injuries," the Los Angeles Sparks star said. "It will be a great time."

If you count Parker, eight players will be making their debuts in the game. Griner and Delle Donne would raise that total to 10 if they were healthy.

Another first-timer, Washington's Ivory Latta, is already making the most of her All-Star experience. She hit a half-court shot in practice Friday worth $100.

While there was some question whether Latta's foot was behind the line, the answer came when an ESPN producer showed Latta video footage that proved it.

"See, I told everyone," Latta said. "It just means that I'll have to buy everyone appetizers for dinner."

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Arizona
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Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
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Chicago 17 2nd Qtr
Cleveland 21
New Orleans 28 1st Qtr 0:26
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Milwaukee 6:30 PM
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Brooklyn
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Atlanta
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San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
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