The U.S. Olympic team and the WNBA All-Stars are anticipating a competitive game on the league show on Wednesday.
Usually not much defense is played in All-Star games until the fourth quarter, but that could be different because Olympians have limited time to prepare for the Tokyo Games.
“It’s not an All-Star game for us, but a pre-Olympic match,” said Brianna Stewart. “It will be more competitive because we will already be playing … before there is a bit of a mess.”
The past seven WNBA All-Star games have been decided by singles numbers, including the one in 2019 that was a three-point competition.
It’s the first time since 2000 that the WNBA has held an All-Star Game during an Olympic year.
“It’s a great way for Team USA to get ready,” said the five-time Olympian and 12-time All-Star Sue Bird. “Great way to prepare us. A great way to showcase the best talent. The national team is 12 of the best players as well as the WNBA team of it. Twenty-four of the best players are going out there, … in general we try to put on a good show.”
Diana Torassi, who will also play in her fifth Olympics, said she probably won’t play in the game as she is recovering from her hip index. She’s missed Mercury’s last three games because of it.
“My goal is to be ready for the Olympics,” Al-Tourasi said. “Preparation is the key. So at this point in my career, I think preparing for Tokyo is the best for me and the team. So I take it day by day. I am improving, I will be fine once the real matches start.”
There will be eight first-time Superstars in the game while Sue Bird will play for the 12th NBA record. … The Las Vegas Aces have the most All-Star picks with four players (Liz Campag, Aja Wilson, Derica Hamby and Chelsea Gray).
Talk about trash
With several of his WNBA teammates on different teams in the game on Wednesday, there was some hilarious banter back and forth between them.
Derica Hamby said she wanted to steal Chelsea Gray. Gray’s former teammate Candice Parker said she wants to undo the base at the post.
The best trash talk was between Dallas Wings striker Sato Sabali and teammate Ariki Ogunboal, who asked her if she would dunk Britney Greiner in the game. Sabali replied, “Yes.” Greiner laughed when she heard the comments later when she spoke with the media. The 6-foot-8 Mercury star was reminded by her teammate Skylar Diggins that she’s been there and done it, having dunked in Dallas earlier this year.
3 point shoot
Chicago Sky protector Ally Quigley will attempt to secure her third 3-point penalty shootout title at the first half of the All-Star Game on Wednesday night. She won the event in 2017 and 2018. The other contenders in this field are: Joel Lloyd (Seattle), Sammy Whitcombe (New York) and Jonquil Jones (Connecticut).
“It’s the Allie Quigley Invitational,” Parker said with a laugh.
The event will feature five racks of balls, with one point equal to two points for each shot. There’s also a new gimmick this year with two shots from the back behind the arc worth three points each if made.
Honoring the past:
The WNBA will honor the 1996 U.S. Olympic team that began the six consecutive gold medal streak won by the Americans. Lisa Leslie, who helped win four gold medals, will co-head the WNBA team with Tina Thompson. Don Staley who was on the 1996 team with Leslie, is the US Olympic coach.
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