WNBA All-Star 2022: Team Wilson dispatches Team Stewart 134-112, Kelsey Plum wins MVP

Photo Credit: Akiem Bailum

WNBA All-Star weekend in Chicago has reached its conclusion after what was an entertaining contest between Team Wilson and Team Stewart at the Sky’s home venue – Wintrust Arena.

Team Wilson topped Team Stewart by a final of 134-112 – and it was one of A’ja Wilson’s Las Vegas Aces teammates that took home some additional hardware.

Kelsey Plum had a 30-point performance – the first-ever in All-Star history and it landed her MVP honors. She was drafted by franchise as the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 out of Washington when they were in San Antonio as the Stars and encountered some early growing pains.

Plum reflected on how her career has progressed and got her to this point.

You have highs and lows based on other people’s opinions and ‘accomplishments and benchmarks.’ And so I think when I stopped identifying with that, I was just able to be free … Today’s great, don’t get me wrong. MVP’s great. Shooting is great. Winning is great. But at the end of the day … I don’t feel any type of better of a person or any higher of a value of a person than I did when I entered the gym than when I’m leaving it. And so that is what I’m most proud of.

–Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Aces, 2022 WNBA All-Star Game MVP

Other top performers on the Team Wilson side included another coming out party for the New York Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu. On the heels of her triumph in the Skills Competition the previous day, Ionescu delivered a 19-point, six-rebound, six-assist performance in her first All-Star Game.

Candace Parker gave the hometown fans something to cheer about. The Sky great added 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists to the Team Wilson cause.

Rookie sensation Rhyne Howard also had a breakout performance in her first All-Star Game. The Atlanta Dream’s rising star managed a 13-point, five rebound, four-assist outing. The team’s namesake – A’ja Wilson – scored 10 points and hauled in five boards.

Dearica Hamby, who broke Sky fan hearts three years ago with her infamous “Hamby Heave” returned to Sky and did not deliver an encore but did have a 10-point, five-rebound effort. Brionna Jones tallied 10 points and grabbed four rebounds.

This year’s All-Star Game featured a few unique rules and quirks. One of those quirks was the establishment of four-point shot areas within the area traditionally meant for 3-pointers. In addition, there was a 20-second shot clock as well as an automatic two and three points. The only time free throws were taken all-game was late in the fourth quarter when Parker was fouled and went to the line.

Sylvia Fowles – in her final All-Star Game (ironically hosted by the team that drafted her with the first overall pick in 2008 out of LSU) – had seven points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals. She also had a moment that is sure to have even the most casual of sports fans buzzing.

Despite the Windy City’s hosting of All-Star weekend being much maligned, she gave praise to the Second City for its presentation for the festivities.

I think Chicago did a really good job hosting All-Star weekend. I mean from beginning to end. It was nonstop festivities. And you haven’t seen that in (an) All-Star weekend in a long time. And so I will say this All-Star in general ranks, by far, one of the … best ones I had.

–Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx

For Team Stewart, the Connecticut Sun’s Jonquel Jones led its charge with a double-double of 29 points and 13 rebounds. She also had five assists. Jewell Loyd contributed 21 points.

Its namesake – Breanna Stewart – finished with 14 points and four rebounds. Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks) added 12 points and Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings) finished with 11 points and five rebounds to go along with three assists.

But a focal point of Team Stewart was Stewie’s Seattle Storm teammate – Sue Bird, of course in her final All-Star Game.

I can’t imagine I’m not involved in not involed in the world of basketball, specifically the WNBA. But I cant imagine that I’m not. I do have other things that I’ve already started to do, whether it’s working with Togethxr and being more involved. Peyton’s Places – I’ll be doing a version of that, the basketball side of it. So there’s little things that are on my schedule and it’s – I think – going to work out great because I’ll have something to look forward to but also time to myself to maybe detox a little bit and to maybe think about what I actually want to do in what will be my next life.

–Sue Bird, Seattle Storm

Everything that Sue has done I will just try to continue that and carry it on the way she has continued to elevate and uplift our sport – always striving for more and to be better, those are the main things. Obviously, the skill speaks for itself, but to make this league better for the next generation and the next generation like she did for us.

–Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm

Even amidst all of the pomp and circumstance, one topic was noticeably on the minds of many within the walls of Wintrust Arena.

One cannot help but feel the presence of Brittney Griner throughout Wintrust Arena. Named as an honorary All-Star starter by the WNBA, Griner remains unjustly locked up in a Russian jail cell.

Recently, she pled guilty to drug charges – seen as a procedural measure meant to fast-track negotiations between Russia and the United States for her release. Reports have recently surfaced that the Kremlin may accept a deal where Washington frees a Russian arms dealer in a prisoner swap for Griner.

The practice shirts worn by both teams had Griner’s name and number – 42 on the back. After halftime of the All-Star Game, both teams wore game jerseys with her last name and No. 42.