Comparing potential starters for 2005 All-Star Game in Connecticut

Ballot Breakdown 05: West Guards

June 15 -- Balloting for WNBA All-Star 2005 is under way. To give you a better idea of the top voting options, will break down all six positions -- West guards, forwards and centers, and East guards, forwards and centers -- over the coming weeks.

Today's Ballot Breakdown covers the Western Conference guards, listed in alphabetical order. Read about Bird, Taurasi, Smith and all the rest, then cast your vote and help select the starters for the 2005 All-Star Game in Connecticut on July 9. (Note: All stats are through games played on June 13.)

Sue Bird, Storm
Averages: 13.2 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 5.3 APG
Breakdown: Birdy had never missed a WNBA game or start in her career until an errant elbow from teammate Lauren Jackson knocked her out last week. Prior to her injury, she was doing everything for her team, scoring, passing and providing her typical leadership and giving her fans a show in every city she plays. She has been an All-Star and a First-Team All-WNBA player in each of her previous seasons.

Dominique Canty, Comets
Averages: 9.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.0 APG
Breakdown: Helping to lead the resurgence in Houston, Canty has been a pleasant surprise as a starter, both taking some of the scoring load off of Sheryl Swoopes in Tina Thompson's absence, but also creating for her teammates and getting them involved.

Anna DeForge, Mercury
Averages: 14.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.0APG
Breakdown: An All-Star last season representing the WNBA in The Game at Radio City, DeForge continues to prove herself as one of the best shooters in the WNBA. Along with her backcourt-mate Diana Taurasi, DeForge is a primary option in the offense and is in the top of the league in minutes played and three-pointers attempted and made.

Tamecka Dixon, Sparks
Averages: 8.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.1 APG
Breakdown: Selected in the 1997 Draft, Dixon is one of the remaining original players and has been an integral cog in the Sparks dominance ever since. Often overshadowed by her more prolific and notable teammates, Dixon has his big shots and made key plays throughout the course of her career.

Marie Ferdinand, Silver Stars
Averages: 14.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.2 APG
Breakdown: Showing no sign of the elbow injury that sidelined her for more than half of last season, Ferdinand is back averaging All-Star caliber numbers. And with LaToya Thomas out for the remainder of the season, she will be expected to score even more.

Adrienne Goodson, Comets
Averages: 3.4 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.0 APG
Breakdown: Goodson has yet to make the impact that was expected she might make when was brought over from San Antonio in the offseason. She is seeing limited minutes off the bench, only 13.4 ppg.

Kristi Harrower, Lynx
Averages: 3.6 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 3.1 APG
Breakdown: In her return to the Lynx after missing last season to train for the Olympics back in Australia, Harrower has been a consistent and steadying force, getting the ball inside to the talented frontcourt and finding Katie Smith open to shoot.

Shannon Johnson, Silver Stars
Averages: 7.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 5.6 APG
Breakdown: Working the dishes like a dishwasher, Johnson has increased her productivity of late, averaging eight assists per game over her last four contests. Never known as a scorer, she may also have to pick up her offensive productivity with Thomas on the shelf. She was an Olympian a year ago and remains one of the few guards that passes first.

Kara Lawson, Monarchs
Averages: 2.5 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.5 APG
Breakdown: She started the season with an injury, but has emerged as one of the stars of the league in just her third campaign. She has played in just two games since her return, but she was instrumental in last season's run to the Western Conference Finals

Betty Lennox, Storm
Averages: 14.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.8 APG
Breakdown: Lennox arrived on the scene on the biggest stage of all during the 2004 Finals, earning Finals MVP honors and proving herself worthy of All-Star consideration. She remains a primary scoring threat for the Storm, and has been a leader on the team with Sue Bird out with a broken nose.

Ticha Penicheiro, Monarchs
Averages: 5.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.9 APG
Breakdown: The all-time leader in assists in the WNBA, Penicheiro runs a diverse and multi-tiered offense for one of the hottest teams in the league. Never a flashy scorer, Penicheiro makes passes that put her teammates in position to score, that leaves defenders in her dust and keeps fans wanting more.

Katie Smith, Lynx
Averages: 20.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.1 APG
Breakdown: Shooter! Smith missed the final portion of 2004, including the playoffs, and Minnesota's weaknesses were exploited. This season, she is averaging roughly 1/3 of her team's points and shooting the lights out in the process. She has consistently been the world's top shooting guard for half a decade and shows no signs of slowing down.

Diana Taurasi, Mercury
Averages: 19.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.0 APG
Breakdown: So it didn't take long for Diana Taurasi to merit consideration as the best guard in the West. A potential top All-Star vote-getter in years to come, Taurasi's numbers are most impressive. She shoots, rebounds and scores even with defenses keying in on her and is one of the top-drawing attractions wherever the Mercury.

Nikki Teasley, Sparks
Averages: 7.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.5 APG
Breakdown: Since hitting the championship-winning shot as a rookie in '02, Nikki T. has not looked back, winning another title, being selected as an All-Star and leading the league in assists per game in 2004. This season, her scoring numbers are down, but then again, she is playing with two of the most dominant frontcourt players in the history of women's basketball.