Sting forward Tangela Smith -- along with Connecticut Sun forward Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Chicago Sky forward Candice Dupree and Houston Comets center Michelle Snow -- have been named as replacement players for the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game Presented by Vonage.
Smith, currently in her ninth WNBA season is making her first WNBA All-Star appearance. The 6-4 forward leads the Sting this season with 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds. Smith ranks among WNBA career leaders in blocks, field goals made, field goals attempted, blocks per game, rebounds, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, points and minutes. She posted her 3,000th career point on Tuesday, May 23 against Los Angeles.
Smith, McWilliams-Franklin and Dupree will fill the spots on the Eastern Conference roster vacated by Tamika Catchings, Becky Hammon and Nykesha Sales. Snow will replace her Comets teammate Tina Thompson on the Western Conference squad. Sales is unable to play due to an Achilles tendon injury; Hammon is out with a sprained left ankle sustained over the weekend; Catchings is hobbled by acute Achilles tendonitis and Thompson will be unavailable with a strained right calf.
McWilliams-Franklin, posting 11.6 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 2006, will make her fifth All-Star appearance and brings the number of Sun players on the All-Star roster to five, a WNBA record. In addition to McWilliams-Franklin and Sales, Connecticut players Margo Dydek and Lindsay Whalen will start for the East and Katie Douglas will make her first All-Star appearance as a reserve.
Snow, the WNBA�s Most Improved Player in 2003, makes her second All-Star appearance and is averaging 11.6 points and 7.2 rebounds this season. The Comets will be represented by four players at the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game presented by Vonage. In addition to Snow and Thompson, Houston�s Sheryl Swoopes and Dawn Staley were voted as starters by the fans earlier this month. Aside from the Sun�s record five players, this marks just the third time in league history that any team has had four players make an All-Star roster in the same year. Houston joins Detroit (2006) and New York (1999) in this category.
Dupree, the sixth pick in the WNBA draft this past April, becomes the fourth rookie named to the squad, joining fellow first-year pros Seimone Augustus, Cappie Pondexter and Sophia Young, the first, second and fourth picks, respectively. The Temple University product is leading the Sky in scoring and rebounds, averaging 13.4 points and 5.7 boards. She also tops the Chicago roster in terms of minutes played, averaging 31.2.
By virtue of their teams� respective conference championships in 2005, Connecticut�s Mike Thibault will coach the East All-Stars and Sacramento�s John Whisenant will guide the West All-Stars. Thibault will name an alternative to replace Sales in the starting lineup later this week. It would have marked Sales� first start as an All-Star despite the fact that she and Lisa Leslie are the only two players in WNBA history to be named to each of the seven all-star squads in league history.
The 2006 WNBA All-Star Game Presented by Vonage will be hosted by the New York Liberty on Wednesday, July 12 at Madison Square Garden and will be televised nationally on ESPN at 7:20 p.m. ESPN�s pregame show, WNBA Shootaround, begins at 7:00 p.m.