Six Fever Stars on Stars at the Sun Ballot
When the Indiana Fever selected its allotted five players to be placed on the “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun ballot, little did they know they would end up with six players on the list.
Due to the acquisition of Shavonte Zellous from the Tulsa Shock, the Fever now has six players on the ballot, in what is believed to be the first time in WNBA history a team has had more than five players on an “all-star” ballot.
Zellous, who is averaging 11.3 points per game with the Fever and is already number two on the team is free throws, said she happy to be on the ballot for the first time. “It’s very exciting,” she said. “I hope I can make it, but if I don’t, I am honored just to be on the ballot and have people consider me to make the team."
The six Fever players on the ballot are: Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas, Tammy Sutton-Brown, Ebony Hoffman, Briann January and Zellous.
This year the format of the annual midsummer classic is different. The Stars at the Sun event will feature a team of USA Basketball players against a team of remaining WNBA stars. Fan balloting will dictate players to appear in the game. USA Basketball coach Geno Auriemma will select USA players from among those already training on the national team roster.
The format was adopted to accommodate the 2010 World Championship which will be conducted in late September. The new format allows the chance for fans to enjoy an all-star setting while allowing USA Basketball a final training opportunity during the WNBA season. The game will be hosted by the Connecticut Sun, played in Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday, July 10 and televised nationally on ESPN.
Catchings knows a little something about playing in all-star games as she has been voted to the team every year there has been a game since her arrival in the league in 2002. Although she is routinely selected, Catchings said it is always special.
“It is definitely an honor,” Catchings said. “More so when you get selected by the fans because they are the ones that buy the tickets, they’re the ones that come support us, they’re the ones that keep this league going.”
With the new format of the event, Catchings will likely play on the USA team.
The 10 players that receive the most votes from fans will be guaranteed a spot on team rosters. Any players selected who are in the USA National Team Pool will play on the USA team, while the remaining players will play on the WNBA team.
Of the six Fever players on the ballot, Catchings and Hoffman are eligible to be on the USA team. The others, if selected, would play on the WNBA team.
Another Fever player with all-star experience is Katie Douglas. Douglas, a three-time All-Star had a very memorable time her first outing.
Douglas, who played for the Connecticut Sun, was one of five Sun players in the 2006 All-Star game. She led the East to their first victory with 16 points and earned the Most Valuable Player award.
“It was definitely crazy my first time,” Douglas said. “It was overwhelming being part of that experience. To win the All-Star MVP the first time I went out there was crazy. To win that in Madison Square Garden, in New York, on the biggest stage, it was an unbelievable feeling.”
Douglas added that each year she has been back has been a great experience.
“It’s fun to see everybody,” she said. “I think it’s definitely cool to catch up with a lot of other players from the east and west coast that you don’t get to see regularly. It’s a lot of fun. It’s for the fans and we try to go out and put on a good show for them.”
Fans can vote for their favorite players at FeverBasketball.com or WNBA.com through June 21. Following the completion of voting, the top 10 will be unveiled on June 29, during the Fever’s nationally televised game at Washington.
Catchings, who got the most overall votes in 2006 and again in 2009, said it is a big deal for her to be selected to the team and whenever she steps on the court, she is thinking about people who haven’t seen her play.
“I play for myself, my family, and my team, but also to keep these people coming back,” she said. “I want them, when they leave, to think, ‘that number 24, I don’t know who she is, but she was everywhere, offense, defense, whatever.’ To me, that is what I play for, with that energy and motivation and having a lot of fun.”