The West breaks the East’s two-game winning streak in 2009 WNBA All-Star game
In the highest scoring game in WNBA All-Star history, the West beat the East 130-118 led by Swin Cashâ€™s record performance of 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. She was selected as the gameâ€™s MVP.
The West broke the Eastâ€™s two-game winning streak and is now 7-2 all-time in All-Star games. Sacramento Monarch Nicole Powell, an All-Star first-timer had 21 points. Powell was the replacement for injured Los Angeles Sparks forward Lisa Leslie. Phoenix Mercury Diana Taurasi scored 18 and the Seattle Stormâ€™s Sue Bird added 16.
â€œIt was a great game,â€ said Bird. â€œIâ€™m glad that the West was able to finally get another victory, breaking Katie Smithâ€™s streak. Way to go West.â€
Both Cash and Powell broke the previous single-game scoring record of 20 (achieved three times, the last in 2005 by the Detroit Shockâ€™s Deanna Nolan). Cash also set the WNBA All-Star game record for field goals in the game with 10. The previous record was set by Leslie in 2000 and 2001.
â€œWe we were definitely led by Swin,â€ said Bird of her teammateâ€™s record-breaking effort, â€œwho was well deserving of the MVP.â€
Bird set the All-Star record for assists with ten.
The Chicago Skyâ€™s Sylvia Fowles led the East in scoring with 17 points. Jia Perkins, also of the Sky, had 16 and Washington Mystics guard Alana Beard added 14.
The game was sold out, according to the league, with a capacity crowd of 9,518 at Mohegan Sun Arena in rural Uncasville, just under an hourâ€™s drive away from the University of Connecticut.
Fans were excited to see a strong UConn connection at the game with several former players in action: Asjha Jones, Cash, Diana Taurasi, Bird and Charde Houston.
Four of them (Jones, Cash, Taurasi and Bird) were on the 2002 NCAA championship team with a perfect 39-0 record. Jones of the Connecticut Sun played for the East while Cash, Taurasi, Bird created a dÃ©jÃ vu moment for the audience as they ran up the floor passing the ball between the three of them. The UConn players were excited for the opportunity to play together again in Connecticut.
â€œItâ€™s just been an amazing weekend thus far,â€ said Bird. â€œTo be back in Connecticut and have five UConn players in the game â€“ Coach Auriemmaâ€™s here, Rebecca [Lobo] being named to the Hall of Fame â€“ this is definitely a WNBA event but I think UConn might have taken over a little bit.â€
Cash did not seem surprised at having so many UConn players from the same time period playing in the game.
â€œI think people have always marked us, and it started during our freshman year, as possibly the best recruiting class ever,â€ said Cash. â€œI think if you look at our body of work, both during college and in the pros, we sort of stapled that.â€
Overall, the game resembled a pick-up game and there was little defense played giving the fans the satisfaction of having a high-scoring affair. The highly anticipated dunk from Fowles came with 14.9 seconds remaining. She missed her first attempt and made the second in a completely uncontested shot as players stood around to give her space to get to the basket.
The Womenâ€™s Basketball Hall of Fame announced its 12th group of inductees during the All-Star game. They are:
- Leta Andrews â€“ The winningest high school girlâ€™s basketball coach in the U.S.
- Teresa Edwards â€“ The most decorated Olympic athlete, with four gold medals and one bronze. Former ABL, WNBA and Georgia player.
- Rebecca Lobo â€“ Former UConn player who led the Huskies to their first national championship with an undefeated record in 1995. Former WNBA player.
- Gloria Ray â€“ The first womenâ€™s Athletic Director at the University of Tennessee. Led the drive to plan and construct the Womenâ€™s Basketball Hall of Fame
- Teresa Weatherspoon â€“ One of the original players in the WNBA. New York Liberty legend. Member of the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal team.
- Chris Weller â€“ Legendary Maryland coach. Coached for 25 seasons average nearly 20 wins per season at her alma mater.
Before the game, WNBA league president Donna Orender answered questions from the media. She replied with confidence when asked about the league having 13 teams next season:
â€œWe work very closely with each and every market tracking each of their businesses. We have a good understanding of where they are. Iâ€™m as confident as I can be looking at our numbers.â€