The energy leading up to the game was perfect.
The host city was perfect.
The crowd was perfect.
The game itself was perfect.
Players on the East and West rosters knew exactly how to turn the first WNBA All-Star Game in Seattle into a showcase.
Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore scored 23 points and reigning league MVP Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks added 22 points as the West survived the East 130-121 in the 14th WNBA All-Star Game. Moore was named the game’s MVP for the second consecutive year.
“I thought it was a great game, a great pace. You don’t want anybody to get hurt, but you also want to play with a certain intensity to show off your athleticism and I thought we were able to do that,” Moore said.
Moore is known to turn down partying before the game itself choosing rest instead. The veteran West squad with 55 total All-Star Game selections on its roster, pulled away after a close first half thanks to Moore. She made 9 of 17 shots, including five 3-pointers, while Ogwumike made 11 of 15 attempts off the bench. Sue Bird, the Seattle crowd favorite, had a hand in many of those baskets, finishing with a game-record 11 assists and eight points.
It is not fair to seek attendance numbers moreover television ratings. I rarely follow NASCAR as a sport
and the same sentiment can be shared on who follows the WNBA. The bright side is the women’s league is moving in the right direction. It was evident from the game.
The 3-point contest was held at halftime while the teams remained on the benches cheering on the participants. The event returned for the first time in eight years.
Sugar Rodgers of the New York Liberty was on fire in the first round making her first eight shots and nine of the first 10 to advance to the finals against the Chicago Sky’s Allie Quigley. Quigley, second in the WNBA in 3-pointers made per game — was unstoppable in the finals, making 19 of 25 total shots to finish with 27 points defeating Rodgers and her 19 points. The winner received the prize of donating to the charity of their choice. A $10,000 donation will be made by the league to the Patrick Quigley Memorial Scholarship in honor of her dad. Hometown favorite Sue Bird finished last in the first round with just seven points.
Seattle has the Space Needle but inspiring faces were in attendance. The event brought out Hall of Famers Bill Russell and Lenny Wilkens, former Seattle SuperSonics Gus Williams, Fred Brown and Slick Watts and current All-Star Isaiah Thomas. Even Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was in attendance, wearing a Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson jersey.
WNBA superstar Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics missed the game due to a right ankle sprain. The game still had an enjoyable pace and energy. New faces in the East were led by the Connecticut Sun’s Jonquel Jones who had a game-high 24 points, including a dunk in the final minute for the icing on the cake. There were eight first-time selections on the East roster, but Jones clearly brought the swagger with her to the Pacific Northwest as the most impressive individual performer.
Atlanta Dream star Layshia Clarendon set the record for assists in an All-Star debut with 10. The 130 points by the West were tied for the most ever in a game. The teams combined for a record 251 points, eclipsing the mark of 248 set in 2009.