Eastern Conference All-Star Practice Report
-- By Peter Axtman, for WNBA.com
|Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images|
With her Tennessen twang, Lin Dunn worked the crowd while egging on her Eastern Conference team during All-Star practice today. The team opened with some rebound-into-fast break drills during which Dunn attempted to get Sylvia Fowles to dunk to no avail.
The Fever head coach then split the teams into two groups on opposite sides of the court where they competed against their counterparts in a number of shooting competitions. With the crowd keeping score, the team comprised of Jia Perkins, Katie Smith, Shameka Christon, Sancho Lyttle, Erika de Souza and Asjha Jones repeatedly knocked down threes and 15-footers at a faster pace than their Eastern Conference mates. When the two teams hit their 15th three-pointer simultaneously to end one of the games, Dunn turned to the fans to determine the winner by applause. Smith, who hardly missed this afternoon, and her teammates drew the louder cheer for the win.
For her big finish, Dunn, ever the show-woman, told the crowd that she would give $100 from her pocket to the first player to hit a half-court shot. In the practice rounds, Atlanta Dream center Erika de Souza won the crowd’s support by smoothly hitting two consecutive half-court shots. Once the competition got underway, the pressure of the crowd’s support proved too much for de Souza, who must have used up all her half-court shot success in practice, as she missed her three attempts.
To close out the last round, Fowles, the tallest player on the team, took the ball, ran to the half court line and watched as her ball fell in. With the crowd cheering, Fowles turned to them and did a little dance before collecting her $100. Luckily for Dunn, she didn’t offer $100 for a dunk earlier or Fowles may have changed her mind about throwing one down.
Western Conference All-Star Practice Report
By Samantha Tager, for WNBA.com
|Angie Lovelace/NBAE/Getty Images|
Practice started out pretty light. Coach Dan Hughes broke the players into groups, getting them into a light jog before leading some basic shooting drills. In one group, Swin Cash and Tina Thompson spent most of the time cracking jokes and having a great time. During the jogging session, Diana Taurasi joked around with her UConn fans while giving Charde Houston a hard time for being a youngster.
Coach Hughes held a series of competitions during the practice session. The first featured the starters against the reserves, with Tina Thompson taking Lisa Leslie's place as a starter. The starters seemed to have the competition (best-of-three) in hand until out of nowhere Coach Hughes deemed the reserves the winner of the second round. The starters picked up their A-games and notched free-throws to win the tie-breaker.
The main competition came at the end -- the infamous “half-court shot for $100.” The veterans thought they had the upper hand in the competition when they were allocated first shots. Thompson was the first to shoot while Houston and Nicky Anosike were at the very end. After two rounds, there was no winner and Cappie Pondexter figured that they might need to switch things up. “REVERSE the order,” she shouted. Houston stepped back up to take the first shot of the third round, and it looked like we might be here for a while. The next to go was former Tennessee standout Anosike. SWISHHHHHHH. Minnesota Lynx teammate Houston rushed to congratulate her BUT…..the vets didn’t even have a shot!