As the 2005 WNBA All-Star festivities kick off this weekend in Connecticut, six All-Stars will be participating in the festivities and experiencing everything for the very first time.

Houston's Michelle Snow
Bill Baptist
NBAE/Getty Images
Monarchs forward DeMya Walker finally earned an All-Star invite in her sixth WNBA season. She is enjoying career-highs in points (14.4) and rebounds per game (5.8) and is second overall in the WNBA in field goal percentage. Walker only topped double digits in scoring once in her career, in 2002 with the Portland Fire. Liberty center Ann Wauters began her WNBA career the same year as Walker. Wauters is also putting up career numbers this season (13.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and leads her team in scoring.

Two second-year players, the top two picks in the 2004 Draft, will also be making their first All-Star appearances. Coming into the league with tremendous hype, Mercury guard Diana Taurasi and Washington's Alana Beard are already superstars in the league, with fans voting Taurasi to start and the coaches honoring Beard with a selection. Both should be All-Stars for years to come.

A pair of young, but experienced centers will also be making their debuts on behalf of their respective conferences this weekend. Detroit's Ruth Riley is already an Olympic gold medalist and won 2003 WNBA Finals MVP honors en route to a championship, but she will be starting in her first All-Star Game, nearly doubling the second place finisher in total fan votes. Meanwhile, Comets center Michelle Snow, a fourth-year veteran from the University of Tennessee, is having her finest season as a pro and was nearly voted in as the starter over Yolanda Griffith and Lisa Leslie.

"I felt humbled," Snow told the Houston Chronicle. "That just lets me know that what I'm doing is paying off and it's for the good of this league."

So how will these newcomers fit in during the first practice? If anyone can show them the ropes it is a trio of elite superstars who have been here before. In fact, they have never NOT been here. There has never been a WNBA All-Star Game that didn't include three players, all of whom will make their sixth appearance in the midseason classic. Los Angeles Sparks' center Lisa Leslie has played in the five previous games and was the Game's MVP three times (1999, 2000 and 2001). She is a perfect 5-0 in the All-Star Games and is the game's all-time leading scorer, averaging 16.8 points per game. Leslie's new teammate, forward Chamique Holdsclaw, was also named to five previous All-Star teams, but has only played in three of the games. Sun guard Nykesha Sales is the only other player to appear in every game, having represented both the Orlando Miracle and Connecticut Sun.

2005 WNBA All-Stars (By number of appearances)
Six-Time All-Stars
Chamique Holdsclaw Washington 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005
Lisa Leslie Los Angeles 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005
Nykesha Sales Orlando/CT 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005
Five-Time All-Stars
Yolanda Griffith Sacramento 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005
Katie Smith Minnesota 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005
Sheryl Swoopes Houston 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005
Four-Time All-Stars
Lauren Jackson Seattle 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005
Taj McWilliams-Franklin Orlando/CT 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005
Dawn Staley Charlotte 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005
Three-Time All-Stars
Sue Bird Seattle 2002, 2003, 2005
Tamika Catchings Indiana 2002, 2003, 2005
Marie Ferdinand Utah/S.A. 2002, 2003, 2005
Two-Time All-Stars
Swin Cash Detroit 2003, 2005
Cheryl Ford Detroit 2003, 2005
Becky Hammon New York 2003, 2005
Deanna Nolan Detroit 2003, 2005
First-Time All-Stars
Alana Beard Washington 2005
Ruth Riley Detroit 2005
Michelle Snow Houston 2005
Diana Taurasi Phoenix 2005
DeMya Walker Sacramento 2005
Ann Wauters New York 2005