New York, July 12, 2006 --
She wasn't even supposed to be in the starting five.
But, at the finish, she ended up as the No. 1 performer.
Connecticut’s Katie Douglas, originally named a reserve, found herself in the Eastern Conference starting lineup on Wednesday, and her 16 points, five rebounds and four assists earned her the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in the East’s 98-82 victory over the West.
“I am elated and extremely proud,” Douglas said minutes after receiving her MVP trophy at center court.
“It’s an honor to be here in the first place and to be MVP of the All-Star Game means a lot.”
Douglas took home MVP honors in her first All-Star appearance.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Replacing teammate Nykesha Sales (Achilles tendon) to start the game, Douglas did the bulk of her damage in the first quarter.
The Sun forward hit three 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes, totaling 11 points, three rebounds and two assists in that span.
Her first-quarter assault started with a layup with 7:45 remaining to tie the game at six. Over the next 4:08, Douglas took three shots. All of them threes, and all of them makes.
“A lot of my teammates were out there finding me, and they made things easy for me,” Douglas said.
And she doesn’t just mean her Eastern All-Star teammates. Douglas was one of five Connecticut players at the game, and one of four who played.
Sun center Margo Dydek and point guard Lindsay Whalen also started for the East, and Douglas was an early target for Whalen.
“She (Whalen) knows where I like the ball,” Douglas said. “She knows my good spot. As a shooter, that’s really important and key.”
Douglas was not a run-away candidate for the award, however. The East placed five players in double digits as Connecticut teammates Whalen (10 points, six assists) and Taj McWilliams-Franklin (10 points, six rebounds) joined Detroit’s Katie Smith (14 points) and Cheryl Ford (13 points) at the 10-point plateau.
Smith scored seven of her 14 during the second quarter when the East outscored the West by 10 to take a 49-40 lead into halftime.
But Douglas seemed to convince any voters on the fence by sticking her fourth 3-pointer of the game with 4:17 remaining in the fourth, giving the East a 90-67 lead en route to the conference's first All-Star Game win in seven tries against the West.
“I’m known as a shooter, and I was kind of surprised by the looks that I was getting,” said the six-year veteran out of Purdue. “But, hey, I’m gonna let it go and just be happy with the ones that go down.”
The West was paced by Minnesota rookie Seimone Augustus, who matched Douglas for the game-high in points with 16, and Houston's Michelle Snow who had 11 rebounds, eight points and one uncontested dunk in the game's final minute.
With the game out of reach for the West, Phoenix's Diana Taurasi started a dunk exhibition, missing a stuff with 23.9 seconds remaining. The ball went to Snow, known for her slams in college at Tennessee, who dunked home the second of two attempts.
"That's the sign of the future of women's basketball," Douglas said about Snow's reverse jam. "I would expect to continue to see some dunks."