Eastern Conference Makes it Two All-Star Wins in a Row

By Vin A. Cherwoo
The Associate Press
July 16, 2007

Bill Laimbeer brought some “Bad Boy” toughness to the WNBA All-Star game and coached the Eastern Conference to its first winning streak in the midseason spectacle.

“We talked about it before the game,” East coach Bill Laimbeer said. “We were going to have some fun, but we’re going to win the game.”

Cheryl Ford of the Detroit Shock had 16 points and 13 rebounds and Katie Douglas scored 18 points to give the East a 103-99 victory Sunday, its second straight since losing the first six.

Three Phoenix Mercury players combined to score 29 points for the West, led by Diana Taurasi’s 13 points and game-high nine assists. Cappie Pondexter added 12 points and Penny Taylor had four.

Laimbeer, a physical force on the Detroit Pistons’ NBA title teams in 1989 and 1990, has brought that swagger to the WNBA as head coach of the league champion Shock.

“He was still the same,” said Ford, the All-Star MVP. “He was the fiery coach he is, and he wanted to win.”

Ford took the challenge and led the East to its second straight All-Star game victory after dropping the first six. Ford, who hit her first career 3-pointer in the second quarter, shot 5-for-9 from the floor and was 5-for-7 on free throws.

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“It was a nice award for me, a nice achievement,” Ford said of the MVP honors. “I didn’t come in here expecting to win. I just came to play and show the fans a good time. But I won and, most importantly, our team won.”

Tamika Catchings had 15 points and 11 rebounds, DeLisha Milton-Jones and Deanna Nolan scored 11 points apiece and Asjha Jones had 10 to help the East hold on after nearly squandering a 12-point lead in the final 2 minutes.

Tina Thompson scored 19 points, Lauren Jackson had 14, and Becky Hammon 13 for the West, which had its sixgame All-Star winning streak snapped last year in New York.

“Just couldn’t pull it out in the end,” Jackson said. “It was a fun game, high scoring. If we made a few more 3s we probably would have won.”

The West shot 37 percent, attempting an All-Star-record 100 field goals. It was 17-for-46 on 3-pointers, records for made and attempted.

The East shot 45 percent (40-for-89), 9 of 20 on 3s and 14 of 17 at the line.

COPYRIGHT 2007, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Used with permission.