Uncasville, Conn. — It’s awfully hard to top last year’s game — the first-ever All-Star overtime game that ended with a one-point East win.
A year later, it was a seven-point West win, powered by Maya Moore’s 10 fourth quarter points on 4-of-5 shooting, and a three pointer with a little over two minutes remaining that gave the winning conference squad its final lead of the game.
The Minnesota four-time All-Star forward’s 30 points, six rebounds, five assists performance earned her MVP honors. She joins Lisa Leslie as a “WNBA triple-crown winner” — All-Star MVP, regular season MVP (2014) and Finals MVP (2013).
“Maya did Maya. She went off,” West teammate Brittany Griner told the Only One afterwards. She and Moore [have] been All-Star teammates for three years – Griner finished with 21 points, three blocks, nine boards and a made three pointer of her own. Then reverting back to rival mode as Minnesota and Phoenix are fighting for the top spot in the West, Griner said of the Lynx’s Moore, “She cannot do that anymore.”
“It’s a one-point game, and let’s go out and sees who wins,” said Moore in the post-game press conference.
Before the Only One talked to several All-Stars on both teams, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and six-time All-Star Taj McWilliams-Franklin both shared their post-game thoughts to the MSR.
“I thought it was fantastic,” said Silver. “It was really an enjoyable game.”
“I had a great time chatting with my girl Maya” before the game, said McWilliams-Franklin of her former Lynx teammate. They played together on the Lynx’s first WNBA championship team. “I miss her and I watched her grow. It was a very competitive game. They weren’t giving [away] points.”
“You play better when you have fun,” said Pienette Pierson of her first All-Star game.
“I wanted to play my game,” added Kayla McBride, also a first-time All-Star who scored 18 points for the West. “Thankfully shots were going down.” Los Angeles’ Nneka Ogwumike, who added 10 points and eight rebounds admitted, “It’s always good to have bragging rights.”
“Obviously we would’ve liked to win but I had a good time,” said Elena Delle Donne, who scored 16 points. “The last four minutes it got real serious. That’s how we are —competitive. I knew it would get serious as the game got closer.”
Tamika Catchings became the WNBA’s all-time All-Star scorer and her 10th All-Star selection makes her tops in that category as well. “It’s definitely an honor,” she told the Only One. “Today was a lot of fun.”
“I hope the fans really enjoyed the game our players gave — the players love playing in this environment,” concluded WNBA Player Personnel Director Renee Brown. “They competed. Now they will go back and continue competing” on their respective teams.
“Another View” and “Sports Odds and Ends” will feature more All-Star notes and quotes in this week’s MSR edition.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.
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Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.