Shoni Schimmel “shows out” to lead East over West 125-124 in 2014 WNBA All-Star game

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PHOENIX – Atlanta Dream rookie Shoni Schimmel silenced the critics that questioned her selection by fans as an All-Star with a record-breaking performance in the East’s 125-124 victory over the West in overtime Saturday afternoon in Phoenix in front of 14,685 fans. It was the first time in WNBA history that the All-Star game went into an extra session.

Schimmel finished with 29 points and eight assists. She broke the All-Star record for points set by Candace Parker last year when the Sparks star and 2013 MVP scored 23 points. Parker complimented Schimmel’s performance.

“Man, she showed out,” said Parker. “She did a good job. She played on my overseas team when she was younger…and she was amazing then. So I wish she would have went to Tennessee.”

For Schimmel, winning the MVP trophy was special because she did it in front of her entire immediate family. Pre-game, she said it would be the first time that all of her family would be able to see her play as a pro. After the game, her relatives including grandmothers from both sides of her family, spent several minutes taking pictures in the underground hallway of U.S. Airways Center.

Before the game, league president Laurel Richie mentioned Schimmel as one of the All-Stars with a fascinating storyline and as one of the top three vote-getters in the balloting for the event. In addition, Richie reminded the press that Schimmel has “the most jersey sales of any WNBA player” this season.

“So we are thrilled to have her with us today and with us in the league.”

A Back and Forth Contest

Phoenix’s Brittney Griner was the first to score in the game with a theatrical alley-oop after a pass from the Minnesota Lynx’s Maya Moore.

It was back and forth contest until the West pulled away, earning a six-point lead at 5:42. The East closed the gap to one but let the West build the lead again until New York’s Tina Charles, Chicago’s Jessica Breland and Indiana’s Briann January finished the period with shots to narrow the deficit to just one again. At the end of the first quarter the West led 28-27.

The tide turned in favor of the East in the second quarter as veterans took over including Charles, Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry and Connecticut’s Katie Douglas. At the half, the East had the lead 57-53.

The second half of the game was the showtime for Schimmel. She entered the third quarter with just five points but scored nine in the period after the half, nine in the fourth and six in overtime. The East nearly stole the show in regulation leading 112-106 with 1:26 left. However, a layup from Moore and two layups from the Tulsa Shock’s Skylar Diggins evened the score and led to overtime.

Four other players in the East finished in double figures: Charles (19 points plus five rebounds), Douglas (15 points plus four assists), the Indiana Fever’s Tamika Catchings (14 points plus 13 rebounds) and McCoughtry (13 points plus seven rebounds).

Diggins led the West with 27 points plus four rebounds and seven assists. Moore finished with 24 points, five rebounds and eight assists. Griner scored 17 points including a dunk, and pulled down five rebounds. Mercury forward Candice Dupree had 12 points and eight rebounds.

The league resumes play Tuesday with four games: Tulsa at San Antonio, Atlanta at Minnesota, Indiana at Chicago and Phoenix at Seattle.

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