With the top scores in both the first and final rounds of the WNBA All-Star Three-Point Shootout, San Antonio’s Becky Hammon left little doubt as to who the best shooter on the court was this afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena.
She was a little short of breath after the contest wrapped up, but she was definitely pleased with her performance. She hopes to carry the shooting touch over to the All-Star Game later this afternoon.
“I hope so, but it’s a lot easier to shoot when no one is guarding you,” she said with a laugh.
While it is true that the shooting racks aren’t going to get a hand in her face, they did pose a challenge based on their placement in the shootout. Hammon explained afterward that with the racks near the baseline at the corner stations, if you stayed next to the rack to shoot, it was almost as if you were shooting from behind the backboard.
In her final round, Hammon hit two shots from each of the corner racks, but she did most of her damage in the middle of the floor. On the second rack, she hit four out of five shots, including the money ball worth two points.
After hitting three shots from the rack at top of the key, Hammon moved on to the other wing station, where she won the contest by hitting the second to last ball of the rack. She completely took the final corner rack out of play, but just for good measure, she went ahead and hit a pair of shots from there as well, including another money ball.
While most three-point contests indicate the money ball by changing its color, it appeared that this was a different type of ball, perhaps an NBA ball, which Hammon confirmed.
“It wasn’t am NBA ball, but it definitely had a different feel.”
Her final round of 16 points defeated fellow finalists Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm and Katie Smith of the Detroit Shock, who each finished with 12 points. With all of the players a bit winded after the second round and an All-Star Game yet to be played, there was almost a sense of relief that Hammon was able to get past a dozen points and take the crown.
Without a Connecticut Sun player to cheer on in the contest, the Mohegan Sun crowd got behind UConn grads Bird and Diana Taurasi, but was unable to lift them past Hammon. Taurasi, who is second in the league in both three-pointers made and attempted could not get into a rhythm at all and posted a score of nine, which equaled Indiana’s Katie Douglas for the lowest score of the contest.
Douglas started her round on fire, hitting her first four shots, but then ice cold, missing 10 in a row to doom her promising round. Also failing to advance from the first round was New York’s Shameka Christon, who posted a score of 10 points.
Smith opened the competition with a 12-point performance, which ended up being the second best score of the round behind Hammon. The last spot in the final round was determined on the final shot of the final rack by Bird. The UConn grad gave the crowd a thrill by finishing the final station by making four out of five shots, included the final money ball to put her past Christon with 11 points.
However by finishing with the lowest score of the three finalists, Bird was the first player to go in the first round, followed by Smith and Hammon.
“Sue was at the biggest disadvantage because she went last and then had to turn around and go first.”
Hammon had the advantage of going last and used it to her advantage to close out the contest in style.