Perkins Proud Of First All-Star Nod

It took her 147 games over six seasons, but Jia Perkins is finally a WNBA All-Star.

The Chicago Sky guard was named a reserve on the Eastern Conference squad earlier this week. Perkins deserved the spot with numbers putting her among the league leaders in points (15.5), assists (3.6) and steals (2.38) per game.

Chicago currently claims the third playoff spot in the East with an 8-8 record. Thanks to Perkins’ strong play, the Sky are on pace to break their franchise record of 14 wins from two seasons ago. That could also result in the team’s first-ever trip to the WNBA playoffs.

Perkins spoke with WNBA.com’s Scott Stanchak about playing in this Saturday’s All-Star Game, among other topics.

How did you find out you made the All-Star team and how have you been celebrating since?

After the game on Sunday I actually got a phone call congratulating me for making the All-Star team and was given the runaround of what we were going to do. It was left on a voicemail and then I called my mom and my brother. I really haven’t done anything to celebrate. I’ve just been taking it in and being happy and thankful for getting voted in.

After six years in the WNBA, do you view this as one of the ultimate payoffs of all your hard work?

Individually, I think so. Like you said, I’ve been in the league for six years and I think this has been a big accomplishment for myself. Especially coming from where I came from, and I just felt like I’ve come from a long way. Just becoming an All-Star is a great honor for me.

How have your teammates treated Sylvia Fowles, Candice Dupree and you since you received your nods?

Yesterday, I got so many texts from my teammates congratulating me and telling I deserve it. I think they’re happy, along with us. This is a team accomplishment because without them we wouldn’t be All-Stars, but we’re happy and they’re all happy for us. It’s kind of like a team celebration.

Your numbers have steadily gotten better year after year. What are you doing this year where all parts of your game seem to be in sync?

I can’t really say what I’m doing different. Last year I would say was probably my breakout year and I just added on to that. As teams focus on me, it leaves a lot of other people open so it gives me opportunities to get assists. I just try to elevate my game and play to the best of my ability and however that is to help the team out.

A few nights ago, you dropped 29 points on San Antonio. Tell me about that performance.

I think I really needed a good game. I feel like I was falling back after the past few games and I had to get in the gym and get my shot going. Early in the game, I hit some shots and got a little confident and got in a rhythm and just took it from there. My team did a good job of getting me the ball in good situations where I could score or just try and make something happen.

The Sky are right there near the top of the East. Where do you see yourselves heading into the half and what needs to be done in this second half?

I think we need to stay consistent. We need to take care of our home court, but ultimately we’re going to need to get some road wins. It’s kind of like a mini series with every team. I think we play the Eastern Conference (teams) three times; we have to try and come up with the upper hand a majority of the time. I think we’ll be in a good position for the playoffs. We also need to get at least one win against them. We’re just going to continue to build on what we’ve done this first half and just look to take care of home, but we’ve got to get some road wins for sure.

There’s a whole bunch of teams right behind you hoping to push you out and take your spot. Are you aware as a team that this is still anybody’s race?

Of course, this is a great conference. Like you said, we’re right there with Washington, Atlanta, Connecticut, Detroit and everybody else. It’s so close. If we lose a game and somebody else wins, that knocks us down some. So we know we have to continue to win and we don’t want to depend on us losing to get us a playoff spot. We want it to fall on our shoulders, in our hands, if we make it.

Sky guard Jia Perkins has a career year to thank for her first All-Star nod.
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