Seattle’s Bird, Five Former MVPs Selected to Start Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017

NEW YORK – Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm joins five former WNBA MVPs in headlining the list of 10 players selected by fans, WNBA players and media to start in Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017.

With her 10th All-Star selection, Bird has tied Tamika Catchings for the most in WNBA history.  Bird will represent the host Storm in the All-Star Game, which will take place on Saturday, July 22 at KeyArena in Seattle (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC).

In addition to Bird (guard), the Western Conference starters include WNBA regular-season MVPs Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury (guard), Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx (frontcourt) and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks (frontcourt).  The West lineup also features 2015 Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles of Minnesota (frontcourt).  Moore and Fowles have led the Lynx to a WNBA-best 13-2 record in 2017.

The Eastern Conference starting lineup includes WNBA MVPs Tina Charles of the New York Liberty (frontcourt) and Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics (frontcourt).  Joining Charles and Delle Donne are three first-time All-Stars: Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream (guard) and Jonquel Jones (frontcourt) and Jasmine Thomas (guard) of the East-leading Connecticut Sun.

The starting lineups for the 14th WNBA All-Star Game were revealed on ESPN’s SportsCenter: Coast to Coast.  The All-Star reserves, who will be selected by the WNBA’s 12 head coaches, were announced on Tuesday, July 18 during ESPN2’s telecast of the Storm and the Chicago Sky (9 p.m. ET).

Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve will serve as the West head coach and New York’s Bill Laimbeer will guide the East after the Lynx and Liberty finished with the best regular-season records in their respective conferences in 2016.

Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote to determine the starters for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017, while current players and a media panel accounted for 25 percent each.  Fans cast 604,680 votes, more than double the number in 2015 (280,670).  No All-Star Game was held in 2016 due to the Summer Olympics.

After all votes were tallied, players were ranked in each conference by position (guard and frontcourt) within each of the three voting groups – fan votes, player votes and media votes.  Each player’s score was calculated by averaging her weighted rank from the fan votes, the player votes, and the media votes.  The five players (two guards and three frontcourt players) with the best score in each conference were named starters for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017.

Moore was the overall leading vote-getter among fans (32,866).  She was followed by Delle Donne (31,414), Parker (29,133), Fowles (24,904) and Bird (24,841).

Fan voting served as the tiebreaker for players in a position group with the same score.  Parker (29,133 fan votes) won the tiebreaker with Sparks teammate Nneka Ogwumike (21,975) for the third starting spot among West frontcourt players.

Eastern Conference Starters

  • Tina Charles, Liberty: A five-time All-Star selection, this marks the third time the 2012 league MVP is an All-Star starter (2011, 2015). She has been an All-Star with both Connecticut and New York.
  • Elena Delle Donne, Mystics: In her first season with Washington, the 2015 WNBA MVP earns her fourth All-Star selection, all as a starter. The overall leading vote-getter in 2013 and 2015, she was sidelined by injury for the 2013 and 2014 All-Star Games.  Her first three selections were as a member of the Sky.
  • Tiffany Hayes, Dream: The first-time All-Star earned the most votes among East guards from all three voting groups. She is averaging career highs of 16.6 points and 4.5 rebounds.
  • Jonquel Jones, Sun: Before the season, the 23-year-old from the Bahamas was voted by WNBA general managers as the player most likely to have a breakout year. With 201 rebounds through 17 games, the first-time All-Star is on pace to top Charles’ single-season record for total rebounds (398 in 2010).
  • Jasmine Thomas, Sun: A first-time All-Star selection in her seventh season, Thomas previously played for Washington and Atlanta. She is averaging career highs of 15.0 points and 5.2 assists.

Western Conference Starters

  • Sue Bird, Storm: The 10-time All-Star selection was voted to the starting lineup for the eighth time overall and for the first time since 2011. In her most recent All-Star appearances, she was added to the West roster in 2014 as a replacement player and was named as a reserve in 2015.  Her first All-Star appearance and starting nod came in her rookie season of 2002.
  • Sylvia Fowles, Lynx: The Western Conference Player of the Month in May and June earns her fourth All-Star selection. This marks her third starting nod and first All-Star selection with the Lynx after representing Chicago three times.
  • Maya Moore, Lynx: The 2014 WNBA MVP and 2013 Finals MVP is a five-time All-Star selection, all as a starter. She was named 2015 All-Star Game MVP after scoring a record 30 points.
  • Candace Parker, Sparks: The two-time WNBA MVP (2008, 2013) and reigning Finals MVP earns her fourth selection, all as a starter. After missing the 2011 All-Star Game due to injury, Parker made her All-Star debut in 2013 and scored a then-record 23 points in an MVP performance.
  • Diana Taurasi, Mercury: The 2009 regular-season MVP and two-time Finals MVP (2009, 2014) became the WNBA’s career points leader last month. A three-time WNBA champion, Taurasi is an eight-time All-Star selection, all as a starter.

Below are the overall scores – based on results from all three voting groups – for the top finishers at each position.  Each player’s score is weighted based on 50% of fan vote, 25% for players vote and 25% of media vote.  The formula to determine a player’s score is (Fan Rank * 2 + Player Rank + Media Rank)/4.

Eastern Conference Frontcourt

Player Fan Rank Media Rank Player Rank Weighted Score
1. *Elena Delle Donne (Washington)      1      1      2      1.25
2. *Tina Charles (New York)      2      1      1      1.5
3. *Jonquel Jones (Connecticut)      3      3      3      3.0
4. Candice Dupree (Indiana)      4      4      5      4.25
5. Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut)      5      4      4      4.5
6. Stefanie Dolson (Chicago)      6      7      6      6.25
7. Tamera Young (Chicago)      8      7      8      7.75
8. Kiah Stokes (New York)      7      7      17      9.5
9. Imani Boyette (Chicago)      9      7      17      10.5
10. Bria Holmes (Atlanta)      12      7      14      11.25

 

Eastern Conference Guards

Player Fan Rank Media Rank Player Rank Weighted Score
1. * Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta)      1      1      1      1.0
2. *Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut)      3      2      2      2.5
3. Kristi Toliver (Washington)      4      6      7      5.25
4. Tayler Hill (Washington)      7      3      6      5.75
5. Cappie Pondexter (Chicago)      8      5      3      6.0
6. Sugar Rodgers (New York)      6      6      7      6.25
7. Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana)      2      10      14      7.0
8. Courtney Williams (Connecticut)      5      12      7      7.25
9. Allie Quigley (Chicago)      10      4      13      9.25
10. Shavonte Zellous (New York)      11      12      4      9.5

 

Western Conference Frontcourt

Player Fan Rank Media Rank Player Rank Weighted Score
1. *Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota)      3      1      1      2.0
2. *Maya Moore (Minnesota)      1      4      2      2.0
3. *Candace Parker (Los Angeles)      2      5      6      3.75^
4. Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles)      4      3      4      3.75
5. Brittney Griner (Phoenix)      6      2      2      4.0
6. Breanna Stewart (Seattle)      5      6      5      5.25
7. Rebekkah Brunson (Minnesota)      7      7      10      7.75
8. Glory Johnson (Dallas)      8      7      8      7.75
9. Karima Christmas-Kelly (Dallas)      10      7      12      9.75
10. Alysha Clark (Seattle)      11      7      11      10.0

 

Western Conference Guards

Player Fan Rank Media Rank Player Rank Weighted Score
1. *Diana Taurasi (Phoenix)      2      1      1      1.5
2. *Sue Bird (Seattle)      1      2      4      2.0
3. Seimone Augustus (Minnesota)      3      6      3      3.75
4. Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas)      4      3      5      4.0
5. Jewell Loyd (Seattle)      6      4      2      4.5
6. Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota)      5      6      6      5.5
7. Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles)      9      5      7      7.5
8. Allisha Gray (Dallas)      7      8      12      8.5
9. Moriah Jefferson (San Antonio)      10      8      9      9.25
10. Alana Beard (Los Angeles)      8      8      14      9.5

 

*–Voted to start
^–Tiebreaker for starting spot is highest fan vote

Individual tickets for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 start at just $15 and can be purchased at StormBasketball.com, or by dialing 206-217-WNBA (9622).

The 2017 WNBA regular season runs through Sept. 3. For more information on the WNBA and game tickets, fans may visit www.wnba.com.

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