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Hammon Knocks Off Defending Champ in Dribble, Dish and Swish Challenge
By Brian Martin, WNBA.com

WASHINGTON — The 2007 All-Star Game festivities got underway with the Dribble, Dish and Swish Challenge, a test of speed, skill and accuracy in all facets of the game. The competitors were Seattle’s Betty Lennox, San Antonio’s Becky Hammon, Washington’s Nikki Teasley and defending champion Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx.

Each contestant began the obstacle course on the baseline. The players start the event with a layup before dribbling down the court around pylons shaped as WNBA players. After they get to the other end of the court, they must throw a straight chest pass through the first cylinder, then grab a second ball and bounce-pass it through the second cylinder. When the two passes are complete, they then grab another ball and must hit a perimeter jumper from the top of the key. After the long-range shot, they must pass one more ball through the third cylinder before dribbling through three more pylons and being set home free for another open layup. The fastest time wins.

Hammon started things off with a solid run with only a couple of mishaps along the way. She needed two bounce passes and two jumpers, but finished the course in 34.6 seconds.

She was followed by Lennox, who struggled with the chest pass and the outlet pass, needing three and four tries, respectively, to complete each pass. She finished the course in 40 seconds flat.

Hometown favorite Nikki Teasley was next and got a huge ovation from the Verizon Center crowd. Alana Beard was confident that Teasley would win the competition before her Mystics teammate got started. “She’s got skills like that,” said Beard confidently.

Teasley started off strong, but got stuck on the bounce pass, needing five attempts before moving on to the rest of the course. She finished in 39.4 seconds, still having a chance to move on to the final round.

“That was the hardest bounce pass I’ve ever had to throw,” she said after the competition. “And I was perfect on it during warm-ups.”

Augustus was next and needed to beat Teasley’s 39.4-second time to advance to face Hammon in the final. The defending champ did not disappoint, running a perfect course and finishing in a time of 28.3 seconds.

The players had a chance to catch their breath as the All-Star dance team came out to perform and toss some T-shirts into the crowd.

Hammon was first up in the final and knew she had to put up a good time in order to beat Augustus after watching her perfect run.

Becky took the challenge and put up one of the best performance the event had ever seen, finishing off a perfect round in 27.1 seconds. Only Sue Bird, who was unable to attend the All-Star Game due to injury, posted a better time with the event-record 26.5 seconds at the 2005 All-Star Game.

Seimone made her final run knowing that a flawless effort would be needed to defend her title. After getting out of the gate strong, she missed on a chest pass, but still had a chance to knock off Hammon. As she came down the final stretch for the layup, it fell through the net with the clock reading 27.4, just three-tenths of a second behind Hammon, the new champion.

“If I wouldn’t have missed that pass over there, Becky would have been in trouble,” Augustus said after the competition. “But it’s OK, Becky is a great person and a great player. If I’m going to lose to somebody, let it be Becky Hammon.”

Hammon was a little winded after the competition, but was happy to take home the trophy.

“Seimone is a great player and it took a perfect run to beat her. The whole key is to not make a mistake," Hammon said. “I’m tired. Getting up and down the court with really no warm-up is hard. I’m old, I’ve got to warm up!”

San Antonio's Becky Hammon defeated defending champion Seimone Augustus in the final round.
Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images
Hammon Wins Dribble, Dish and Swish Challenge
Becky Hammon knocked off defending champ Seimone Augustus by three-tenths of a second in the final round.