Bird, Jackson Named All-Star Starters
NEW YORK - Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird and forward Lauren Jackson were amongst the starters announced today by the league for the 2005 WNBA All-Star Game. Bird, who currently leads the league in free-throw percentage (.963) and is second in the league in assists (5.9), is making her third All-Star appearance. This is the fourth trip to the All-Star Game for Jackson, who is leading the league in rebounds (9.6), ranks fourth in blocked shots (2.21) and sixth in scoring (16.8).
Houston Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes was the leading vote-getter, the fifth time in her career that she has earned this distinction. Swoopes, who is one of the WNBA’s nine original players, has been the top vote-getter in five of the league’s six All-Star games (1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003). Swoopes, who has spent her entire WNBA career with the Houston Comets, led the team to four WNBA Championship titles (1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000) and has led the West to four WNBA All-Star Game victories. She currently ranks third in the league in scoring (18.2) and steals (2.42).
The Indiana Fever’s Tamika Catchings received the second highest votes in the balloting. The three-time All-Star forward is currently leading the league in steals and ranks fifth in assists. Catchings was the 2002 WNBA Rookie of the Year and is the only player in the WNBA currently in the top 15 in scoring (13.7), steals (2.62), assists (4.9) and rebounds (7.1).
In addition, two of the league's top players will be making their first WNBA All-Star appearances. The game will bring 2004 WNBA Rookie of the Year and Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi back to Connecticut as one of the Western Conference’s elite players. The Detroit Shock’s Ruth Riley, the 2003 WNBA Finals MVP, will also be making her WNBA All-Star debut. Following are the starting lineups for the Western and Eastern Conferences for the 2005 WNBA All-Star Game:
Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets) - Forward
Lauren Jackson (Seattle Storm) - Forward
Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) - Guard
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) - Guard
Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento Monarchs) -Center
Eastern Conference Starters:
Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) - Forward
Swin Cash (Detroit Shock) - Forward
Dawn Staley (Charlotte Sting) - Guard
Becky Hammon (New York Liberty) - Guard
Ruth Riley (Detroit Shock) - Center
About the West’s Starting Five: In addition to Bird, Jackson, Swoopes and Taurasi, the Western Conference 2005 WNBA All-Star starting lineup features Yolanda Griffith of the Sacramento Monarchs, will be making her first WNBA All-Star start at center. Griffith, who is now a five-time All-Star, ranks fourth in the league in rebounds (7.3).
About the East’s Starting Five: Together with Catchings, the Eastern Conference 2005 WNBA All-Star starting lineup includes Charlotte Sting guard and four-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley who is third in the league in assists (5.8) and fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.478); New York Liberty guard Becky Hammon, who will be making her third WNBA All-Star appearance. Hammon is fourth in the league in free-throw percentage (.914) and ranks seventh overall in assists (4.4); Riley, and Detroit Shock forward Swin Cash. Cash, who is recovering from an ACL injury, has not been activated thus far this season. This is Cash’s second selection as a WNBA All-Star.
While the West has won all previous WNBA All-Star Games, the Eastern Conference is currently tracking far better against their Western Conference rivals this season. In head-to-head battles, Eastern Conference teams have won 20 out of the 35 games played so far this season against the West. The Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut Sun are 9-1 against the West and 11-2 overall.
The 2005 WNBA All-Star Game will be hosted by the Connecticut Sun on Saturday, July 9 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The game will be televised nationally on ABC at 4:00 p.m. EDT.
Anne Donovan of the Storm and Mike Thibault of the Connecticut Sun will coach the Western Conference and Eastern Conference All-Stars, respectively. The head coaches of each conference will select the remaining All-Star players for each team. These reserves will be announced on Tuesday, July 5.
The WNBA tipped off its ninth season on Saturday, May 21, 2005 under the leadership of new President Donna Orender. In 2004, for the sixth consecutive season, more than two million fans attended WNBA games. Also in 2004, three consecutive WNBA Finals sellout crowds witnessed the Seattle Storm defeat the Connecticut Sun to capture its first WNBA Championship. WNBA programming is broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and NBA-TV. For more information, visit WNBA.com.
Complete final return voting results from the 2005 WNBA All-Star Balloting Program follow.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL RETURNS
Forwards: Sheryl Swoopes (Hou) 108,999; Lauren Jackson (Sea) 77,065; Chamique Holdsclaw (LA) 56,351; Janeth Arcain (Hou) 54,265; DeMya Walker (Sac) 41,565; Rebekkah Brunson (Sac) 37,892; Alicia Thompson (Sea) 23,056; Penny Taylor (Pho) 19,451; Svetlana Abrosimova (Min) 19,357; LaToya Thomas (SA) 18,697; Kendra Wecker (SA) 17,103; Tamika Williams (Min) 14,660; Sandora Irvin (Pho) 12,674; Mwadi Mabika (LA) 11,898.
Centers: Yolanda Griffith (Sac) 79,505; Lisa Leslie (LA) 59,547; Michelle Snow (Hou) 55,809; Suzy Batkovic (Sea) 19,805; Kamila Vodichkova (Pho) 16,991; Nicole Ohlde (Min) 15,648; Adrian Williams (SA) 10,666.
Guards: Sue Bird (Sea) 92,611; Diana Taurasi (Pho) 73,588; Ticha Penicheiro (Sac) 56,053; Dominique Canty (Hou) 41,684; Kara Lawson (Sac) 40,148; Betty Lennox (Sea) 35,627; Adrienne Goodson (Hou) 33,150; Marie Ferdinand (SA) 28,547; Katie Smith (Min) 24,718; Shannon Johnson (SA) 22,516; Nikki Teasley (LA) 20,942; Anna DeForge (Pho) 18,932; Tamecka Dixon (LA) 13,314; Kristi Harrower (Min) 6,437.
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL RETURNS
Forwards: Tamika Catchings (Ind) 93,842; Swin Cash (Det) 69,494; Cheryl Ford (Det) 51,678; Taj McWilliams-Franklin (CT) 42,190; Katie Douglas (CT) 41,268; Tangela Smith (Cha) 39,289; Tammy Sutton-Brown (Cha) 31,813; Natalie Williams (Ind) 29,961; DeLisha Milton-Jones (Was) 24,322; Elena Baranova (NY) 21,565; Murriel Page (Was) 18,629; Crystal Robinson (NY) 16,988.
Centers: Ruth Riley (Det) 70,310; Margo Dydek (CT) 51,770; Janel McCarville (Cha) 41,252; Kelly Schumacher (Ind) 34,680; Chasity Melvin (Was) 25,920; Ann Wauters (NY) 20,938.
Guards: Dawn Staley (Cha) 62,191; Becky Hammon (NY) 57,195; Alana Beard (Was) 53,381; Lindsay Whalen (CT) 52,176; Deanna Nolan (Det) 45,583; Nykesha Sales (CT) 39,161; Allison Feaster (Cha) 32,673; Kelly Miller (Ind) 32,201; Tan White (Ind) 31,454; Vickie Johnson (NY) 26,171; Coco Miller (Was) 25,646; Elaine Powell (Det) 24,369.