This series will cover the WNBA’s 21st season with at least one story on the league weekly from the season’s May 13 opening to its closing on September 3 and through the 2017 playoffs.
This coming weekend’s WNBA All-Star Game in Seattle has at the outset an old-time Western theme: the younger Eastern Conference vs. the older Western Conference.
Minnesota Lynx teammates Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles both were voted to the West starting lineup last week by a combination of fan, player and media votes. The two players tied for first among Western Conference frontcourt players in weighted voting (50 percent fan vote, 25 percent player vote, and 25 percent for media vote).
After Sunday’s contest against Phoenix, the MSR talked to Moore and Fowles, along with teammate Seimone Augustus, on their All-Star memories.
“I was happy,” said Fowles upon hearing she was selected for this year’s game. “I was having a good season thus far. It shows the appreciation from your fans and the people out there voting for you.”
The 6’-6” 10th-year center is leading the Lynx in scoring and shooting percentages and rebounds — she’s the only WNBA player this season ranked in the top five in scoring (third), FG accuracy (first), rebounding (second) and blocks (third). “I was very appreciative of them seeing the hard work I am putting in this year,” added Fowles, who’s now a four-time All-Star, third as a starter and first as a member of the Lynx. “I’m happy to be back this time around.”
Moore will make her fifth All-Star start this weekend. “The one that stays in my mind was my first one” in 2011 in San Antonio, the six-footer pointed out. “It was my rookie year, and having the chance to go down to San Antonio with three of my other teammates: Rebekkah [Brunson], Seimone and Lindsay [Whalen]. Just being excited for that opportunity to be my first WNBA All-Star. It was my first, and we had the most Lynx [players].”
Augustus, Brunson and Whalen could still be named All-Star reserves — the reserves were selected at press time Tuesday by the Eastern and Western Conference head coaches.
“My first All-Star [game] was in New York” in 2007, Augustus remembers. “I was in the Skills Challenge and actually won it. That was a special moment.” The skills event returns this year after a long absence and will be staged during halftime of Saturday’s game.
Also, watching Moore win the 2015 All-Star MVP award “was a special moment, too,” continued Augustus on being around some of the game’s all-time greats. “Just to be able to have those moments with them” were special to her.
Said Fowles of her first All-Star recollection — she played on the 2011 Eastern squad as a member of the Chicago Sky — “Just being adapted into the league and getting the chance to play with great players was pretty amazing.”
Follow our 2017 WNBA All-Star Game coverage — “The Only One in the Emerald City” — on MSR News Online.
Two off a deep bench
Led by reserve guards Renee Montgomery and Jia Perkins, Minnesota’s bench play has been stellar of late. “They are a great team because they have a deep bench,” Phoenix Coach Sandy Brondello said after her club lost to Minnesota twice in three days last week.
“Those two are definitely separators,” marveled Moore of Montgomery and Perkins. “They are stepping up and getting points and rebounds. They put in the energy and tenacity and cause havoc on the defensive end, getting deflections and steals and pushing the tempo. They energize our team.”
Yes, she said it…
“Hopefully we can create some more memories coming up,” says Lynx Guard Seimone Augustus on Saturday’s All-Star Game in Seattle.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.