NEW YORK, June 30 – Houston Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes was the top vote-getter after final returns of fan votes cast in the WNBA All-Star Balloting Program. This marks the fourth time in five seasons that Swoopes was honored as the league’s top vote getter (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003). Swoopes is participating in an online chat with fans on wnba.com on Tuesday, July 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Overall voting totals topped the 2.78 million mark this season eclipsing the previous All-Star record by more than 300,000 (12 percent). Starters for the 2003 WNBA All-Star Game, to be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, July 12, were determined by fans via in-arena balloting at all 14 WNBA arenas and on-line balloting at wnba.com and through America Online, the WNBA’s official online balloting partner.

Swoopes, who received a WNBA-record 124,575 votes, is joined in the Western Conference starting lineup by two Houston teammates, Tina Thompson (81,825) at forward, and Cynthia Cooper (60,418) at guard. Seattle’s Sue Bird (89,174) is the other starting guard for the Western Conference, and Los Angeles’ Lisa Leslie (91,064) will start at center.

Cooper suffered a season-ending rotator cuff injury after the fourth game of the 2003 WNBA season. Although she is unable to participate in the WNBA All-Star Game, she will be in attendance at the All-Star festivities. Per league rules, WNBA President Val Ackerman will choose a replacement for Cooper on the Western Conference roster, and Western Conference Head Coach Michael Cooper will choose the two-time WNBA MVP’s replacement in the starting lineup.

Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings (112,812) received the most votes among Eastern Conference players. She is joined in the starting lineup by Washington’s Chamique Holdsclaw (83,750) at forward, New York’s Tari Phillips (81,402) at center, and the Liberty’s Teresa Weatherspoon (79,137) and Charlotte’s Dawn Staley (57,846) at guard.

All ten starters have prior WNBA All-Star starting experience.

Player Previous Years Voted to Starting Lineup
Chamique Holdsclaw 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Tina Thompson 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Teresa Weatherspoon 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Lisa Leslie 1999, 2000, 2002
Sheryl Swoopes 1999, 2000, 2002
Tari Phillips 2001, 2002
Cynthia Cooper 1999, 2000
Tamika Catchings 2002
Dawn Staley 2002
Sue Bird 2002

Each conference’s seven head coaches will select the remaining All-Star players, with the reserves to be announced on Wednesday, July 2. Michael Cooper of the Los Angeles Sparks and Richie Adubato of the New York Liberty will coach the Western Conference and Eastern Conference All-Stars, respectively.

The WNBA All-Star Game is being televised nationally by ABC beginning at 4 p.m. ET. ESPN2 is hosting a half-hour pregame show beginning at 3:30 p.m. Fans may purchase tickets to the game by calling 1-877-WNBA-TIX, through all Ticketmaster outlets, at the Madison Square Garden box office or click here to purchase tickets online. Ticket prices start at $10.

Complete final voting results from the 2003 WNBA All-Star Balloting Program follow.

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL RETURNS

Forwards: Tamika Catchings (Ind) 112,812; Chamique Holdsclaw (Was) 83,750; Swin Cash (Det) 70,505; Natalie Williams (Ind) 42,352; Tamika Whitmore (NY) 39,228; Allison Feaster (Cha) 33,645; Chasity Melvin (Cle) 28,897; Penny Taylor (Cle) 28,452; Crystal Robinson (NY) 26,672; Elena Baranova (NY) 25,740; Nykesha Sales (CT) 24,727; Asjha Jones (Was) 22,051; Wendy Palmer (CT) 13,118; LaToya Thomas (Cle) 12,001.

Centers: Tari Phillips (NY) 81,402; Ruth Riley (Det) 46,459; Kelly Schumacher (Ind) 41,457; Cheryl Ford (Det) 40,172; Tammy Sutton-Brown (Cha) 32,714; Taj McWilliams-Franklin (CT) 27,225; Ann Wauters (Cle) 15,049.

Guards: Teresa Weatherspoon (NY) 79,137; Dawn Staley (Cha) 57,846; Nikki McCray (Ind) 57,611; Betty Lennox (Cle) 47,409; Stacey Dales-Schuman (Was) 39,407; Vickie Johnson (NY) 37,811; Kedra Holland-Corn (Det) 35,849; Shannon Johnson (CT) 35,087; Debbie Black (CT) 31,005; Coretta Brown (Ind) 30,974; Merlakia Jones (Cle) 30,294; Coco Miller (Was) 29,732; Andrea Stinson (Cha) 28,344; Elaine Powell (Det) 22,874.

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL RETURNS

Forwards: Sheryl Swoopes (Hou) 124,575; Tina Thompson (Hou) 81,825; Yolanda Griffith (Sac) 59,033; Lauren Jackson (Sea) 45,769; DeLisha Milton (LA) 36,813; Adrienne Goodson (SA) 34,107; Svetlana Abrosimova (Min) 28,930; Tangela Smith (Sac) 24,308; Tamika Williams (Min) 23,386; LaQuanda Quick (SA) 19,241; Latasha Byears (LA) 19,207; Kamila Vodichkova (Sea) 17,703; Adrian Williams (Pho) 14,756; DeMya Walker (Sac) 14,075.

Centers: Lisa Leslie (LA) 91,064; Michelle Snow (Hou) 76,142; Sylvia Crawley (SA) 28,097; Margo Dydek (SA) 25,630; Chantelle Anderson (Sac) 22,078; Alisa Burras (Sea) 20,576; Slobodanka Tuvic (Pho) 11,197.

Guards: Sue Bird (Sea) 89,174; Cynthia Cooper (Hou) 60,418; Ticha Penicheiro (Sac) 59,187; Janeth Arcain (Hou) 54,048; Jennifer Azzi (SA) 44,172; Marie Ferdinand (SA) 36,397; Ukari Figgs (Hou) 33,100; Mwadi Mabika (LA) 31,089; Katie Smith (Min) 29,542; Edna Campbell (Sac) 28,308; Nikki Teasley (LA) 27,417; Tamecka Dixon (LA) 26,369; Teresa Edwards (Min) 17,926; Tamicha Jackson (Pho) 14,755.