A week from Saturday, the WNBA’s All-Star Game will be played at Target Center for the first time. It is something Lynx coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve has wanted to host for some time, something into which the organization has poured significant resources.
So, even in an up-and-down season that will continue Wednesday against Indiana, Reeve will be able to take joy in the big event.
Three of her players will take part.
The 22-player pool for the game was announced Tuesday night, and it included Lynx forward Maya Moore, center Sylvia Fowles and guard Seimone Augustus, three of the Lynx’s starting five.
Moore and Washington’s Elena Delle Donne were the top vote-getters — selections were made from voting from fans (40 percent), coaches (20), players (20) and a media panel (20) — and was in line to be a captain. But she informed the league that, while she’ll play in the July 28 game, she won't to perform the captain’s duties, which include drafting of a roster.
Reeve said Friday morning that the number of commitments Moore will have as part of the host team caused her to decline the role. Instead, Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker will be a captain and, along with Delle Donne, draft the teams. Those rosters will be announced Thursday.
“I’m once again blown away at the support I’ve received through votes by our amazing basketball fans,’’ Moore said. ‘‘I’m so grateful for all the love. As somebody who is already receiving a lot of attention, I wanted to take an opportunity to broaden that focus. I’m thrilled for everyone selected and now more than ever I’m looking forward to just being a fellow fan of all the greatness I’m surrounded by in this league.”
Moore, who has been MVP of the game twice, was named for the sixth time, Augustus for her eighth time and Fowles for the fifth time. It is the sixth time the Lynx have had three or more players in the game.
“I’m happy for them, and I’m happy to be hosting this game,” Reeve said. “For me, the game is compartmentalized. It’s a separate event, a different mind-set. It’s something our franchise worked hard for.”
The selections come at a time when the Lynx (12-10) are trying to get back to top form. Minnesota has lost two in a row and three of four, dropping to seventh place in the league. When it comes to the Lynx’s All-Stars — Moore and Fowles in particular — the team has been as successful this season as they have been in particular games.
The Lynx are 0-8 when neither Moore nor Fowles scores at least 20 points.
After a day off, the Lynx practiced Tuesday. Rebekkah Brunson was back in action after missing three games because of a thigh injury. Her return is crucial.
But just as crucial is getting the team back on track. In their past six games the Lynx have victories over Los Angeles and Indiana, games in which they scored 83 and 87 points. But they’ve had four losses in which they’ve averaged just 65.8 points.
Reeve said losses to Indiana and Chicago during that stretch were because of a lack of energy. Sunday against Connecticut — a 19-point loss — the Lynx had the energy, but not the execution. Now the team has to bounce back.
“This group that has been together has never gotten blown out at home,’’ Reeve said. “We’ve gotten blown out before, but not at home. The last time I remember was in 2010. So I think we can accept certain things about the season.
“I’m OK with them not accepting [Sunday’s loss]. It was unacceptable. It didn’t feel very good. But, in order to bounce back, you have to have the right mind-set about it.’’
Moore is averaging 18 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting a career-low 41 percent. Fowles is averaging 16.7 points and 11.9 rebounds, Augustus is shooting 47.7 percent and averaging 10.3 points per game.
Acknowledging the up-and-down nature of her team, Reeve was quick to point out how much work her players are putting in to turn things around. And, perhaps, the good news that came late Tuesday afternoon could help that process.
“I’ve seen Maya just be persistent, perseverant,’’ Reeve said. “In that she wants to be better, she’s used to being better. But sometimes you can’t explain why. Still, in tough times, Maya is the one who still talks. Being a person of faith and high belief in herself, she comes every day and gives of herself. But these are uncharted waters for her. But it’s part of a career, and she has perspective.’’
Fowles has become the dominant inside force that has prompted opponents to throw all kinds of double teams at her. The key for Fowles, Reeve said, is not getting down on herself when things don’t go well.
For Reeve, a big joy of the game will be seeing Augustus, a career-long Lynx player, in uniform for the All-Star Game on her home court.
“There are so many great storylines, and Seimone is one of them,’’ Reeve said. “She was here before, in the early years, when it didn’t go well, when playoff basketball wasn’t a part of the Lynx.
“She has been incredibly loyal to this franchise. Incredibly loyal. She is someone who will always be a Lynx.’’