With All-Star Friday being ruled mostly by the supposed super-teams of Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty, it would only be appropriate if it would be a representative of one of those teams that would be the talk of the town on Saturday evening – correct?
The Seattle Storm’s resident Gold Mamba had other ideas.
By virtue of a 31-point performance – one where she drained 10 3-pointers, Jewell Loyd also took home MVP honors as Team (Breanna) Stewart defeated Team (A’ja) Wilson with the final score being 143-126.
The 143 points sets a new record for most points scored in an All-Star Game by a team. The 31 points is also an All-Star Game record for an individual player. Loyd broke a record that was set last season by the Aces’ Kelsey Plum, She scored 30 in last year’s All-Star festivities.
The previous team record belonged, ironically, to Team Wilson. That team from last year’s All-Star Game finished with 134 points in the win against last year’s Team Stewart. Loyd drained 10 from behind the 3-point arc – the most ever in a single All-Star Game which broke her own record of seven she set last year at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
A certain presence in the stands happened to be a special push in powering Loyd to the showing she had on Saturday.
I think I played hard because my parents (were at the game). I didn’t have a gift for their anniversary, so I think this (All-Star Game MVP trophy) will be acceptable. I hope it is.”
-Jewell Loyd, All-Star Game MVP, Seattle Storm
Loyd’s 31 was the signature number from Saturday night – but it was far from the only one.
With 20 points, Napheesa Collier continued to shine in her return season to the WNBA. Those 20 points also came alongside six assists. A pair of Minnesota Lynx legends in Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus were in attendance.
In Brittney Griner’s (Phoenix Mercury) return to the All-Star Game, she finished with a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds in addition to two blocked shots. If not for Loyd’s 31 (or Phee’s 20), there would have been a strong case for that MVP trophy to potentially go to BG.
Also chiming in with 18 points happened to be Sabrina Ionescu, she of 3-point contest fame. Ionescu also dished out eight assists. With 12 points, the Dallas Wings’ Satou Sabally continued to display exactly why her team is making the noise it is making. She also brought down six rebounds. Speaking of boards, Nneka Ogwumike hauled in 11.
As for Team Wilson, its leading scorer was Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces). She finished with 30 points and five assists. That number 30 may look familiar when associated with Plum because it is the same number of points she had when she earned MVP honors (and that trophy) last season at Chicago’s Wintrust Arena.
Before the game, Under Armour … told me for every bucket I scored, they’d donate $1,000 to Child Haven in Las Vegas. It supports kids who are basically removed from their homes for a lot of different reasons, safety reasons. And then Google said that they’d donate $1,000 for every assist to Child Haven. So, I was gunning.
—Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Aces
Those 30 were complimented by the 20 points and five rebounds put forth by her Aces teammate A’ja Wilson. As for Arike Ogunbowale (Dallas Wings), she tallied 18 points, hauled in six rebounds and dished out five assists.
All three Atlanta Dream representatives finished in double-digits for points. Those included Rhyne Howard, who replaced Elena Delle Donne due to injury. She finished with 16 points. Cheyenne Parker also displayed why she has had the stellar season she has had with a 14-point, six-rebound display. Also with 10 points was Allisha Gray.
As the jumbotron atop Michelob Ultra Arena displayed, a number of noteworthy basketball names were in attendance. Those included, alongside the two Lynx greats, Sue Bird and Sheryl Swoopes in addition to North Carolina’s Deja Kelly and LSU’s Hailey Van Lith.
A number of big names from the men’s side were in the stands as well – including Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns), Tracy McGrady (NBA all-time great with Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets), DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies), Grant Williams (Dallas Mavericks).
Also in attendance was actress Gabrielle Union alongside her husband Dwyane Wade who made news this week by becoming one of the new owners of his hometown Chicago Sky.
The late, great Nikki McCray-Penson was also honored during the game’s first timeout.
The theme for WNBA Monday (and Tuesday) will be Back to Life, Back to Reality as our 12 teams resume regular season play and the playoff push heats up. It begins on Tuesday when the Minnesota Lynx travel to Gateway Center Arena where the Atlanta Dream await. Also that same day, the host team for next year’s All-Star festivities, the Phoenix Mercury, await the Connecticut Sun.