If you find yourself trying to figure out who’s where on this year’s WNBA All-Star Game rosters, you won’t be alone.
Sixteen of the 22 All-Stars are from Western Conference teams.
The league, in the 15th season of the all-star game, put a twist on this year’s selection process, doing away with the traditional Eastern vs. Western Conference squads. Instead, the players will cross those boundaries and play on rosters with a blend of players from both conferences in the July 28 game at Target Center.
This year, the players were chosen by fans, current WNBA players and coaches and a media who cover the teams, but the captains will select the players for their teams. In a surprising move, Lynx forward Maya Moore (47,620), who along with Washington’s Elena Delle Donne (42,171) received the most fan votes, informed the league that she has chosen to decline the captain’s role.
Los Angeles’ Candace Parker, third in the fan voting, was chosen by Commissioner Lisa Borders to replace Moore as captain. Della Donne is the second captain.
The captains will select their teams Thursday night on ESPN2 at the start of the Washington vs. Dallas game. No worries about the players Parker and Delle Donne will pick: The last player chosen still will be one of the best in a league brimming with highly-skilled athletes. The starting lineups will be named July 27.
The two head coaches, Dan Hughes of the Seattle Storm and Sandy Brondello of Phoenix, also come from the West. The coaches with the best records through July 13 were chosen to lead the all-star clubs.
Hughes will lead Team Delle Donne and Brondello heads Team Parker.
Three Lynx players — Moore, center Sylvia Fowles and guard Seimone Augustus — were selected to be All-Stars. Moore was the MVP of last year’s All-Star Game, which featured those three Lynx, plus forward Rebekkah Brunson. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was a head coach in last year’s game at Key Arena in Seattle.
League veterans Sue Bird of Seattle and Diana Taurasi, both guards, are among the biggest stars who will play in Minneapolis along with Parker and Della Donne.
Eleven of the 12 WNBA teams have at least one representative — Indiana is the exception. Besides the Lynx, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Seattle also have three players.