Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Team Wilson wins 2019 WNBA All-Star Game, Erica Wheeler warms hearts winning MVP honor

Published on July 27, 2019


July 27, 2019 (Las Vegas, NV) – Erica Wheeler. Photo © Hoopfeed.

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LAS VEGAS – Team Wilson held off a fourth-quarter comeback by Team Delle Donne to win the 2019 All-Star Game in Las Vegas Saturday afternoon at Mandalay Bay Events Center in front of 9,157 fans. Led by Indiana Fever guard Erica Wheeler who came off the bench for 25 points, four rebounds and seven assists, Team Wilson lead for most of the game until the fourth quarter.

At the half, Team Wilson lead 77-63. Heading into the fourth quarter, Wilson’s squad had a 10-point lead, 105-95. However, Team Delle Donne outscored their opponent 31-24 in the last period and got within three points with just 41 seconds left in the game. A step-back three-point shot from Wheeler sealed the deal for her team to give them a six-point lead. Team Delle Donne guard Kristi Toliver (Washington Mystics) hit a trey at the buzzer but it was not enough for her team to beat Team Wilson.

For her efforts, Wheeler earned the MVP award for the game. The post-game ceremony to present the award was an emotional moment for her as well as many of the players from both teams who stood on the court during the presentation. Wheeler, who lost her mother to cancer, dedicated the award to her mother.

“The first thing I said to myself was like, ‘Mom, thank you,’ because more than ever I know she’s watching me, and like I tell everybody, what I do and how I do it, I do it for my mom,” said Wheeler. “So that’s the first thing I said was thank you, and I said, ‘Thank you, God,’ because without him, I’m not here. So that was going through my mind, just to give my mom that praise.”

Las Vegas Aces center A’ja Wilson, the captain of the winning team did not play due to an ankle injury she sustained July 19 playing at Seattle. Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley replaced Wilson in starting lineup. Aces head coach served as the head coach of Team Wilson along with assistants Vickie Johnson and Kelly Raimon.

“To get my first win as a captain, it’s super special,” Wilson said. “That was just a huge — we kind of cut it close. We had to make it interesting. But I mean, at the end of the day, I’m so proud off Erica Wheeler. She really made us all so proud.”

Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike lead Team Delle Donne with 22 points plus six rebounds. Teammate center Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury) dunked three times in the game and entertained fans with a two-hand jam that including hanging on the rim and follow-up comedic light horseplay with Aces center Liz Cambage. Mike Thibault of the Washington Mystics coached Team Delle Donne along with Marianne Stanley and Eric Thibault.

Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne shared her thoughts on what is was like to see Wheeler win the MVP as someone who did not get drafted.

“Yeah, just looking where she’s come from, and probably at times feeling like she was the only one who believed in herself, and that’s why she’s here, because she never doubted herself,” said Delle Donne. “She continued to believe. She’s worked so hard. You can see it in her game from year to year, her improvement and the way she’s been able to shoot the ball so much better now. It’s super impressive that she can make strides like that so quickly.”

The league experimented with new rules in the All-Star game include hockey-style substitutions.

“It was fun for an All-Star Game,” Delle Donne said. “I definitely don’t want to see it in regular games. There was one time Sylvia Fowles came out of nowhere and got a rebound, and I was like, ‘When did you get in the game?’ So yeah, it’s cool for an All-Star Game, but do not bring that into our games, please.”


  • A press conference featuring USA Basketball stars Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and national team coach Dawn Staley preceded the game. USA Basketball unveiled a new training program for national team athletes leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Games.
  • The league also held a presser for new commissioner Cathy Engelbert. It is customary for the league’s leader to meet with media before the All-Star Game. However, this year, the USA Basketball announcement limited the amount of time media had for questions to the commissioner as there was no prior notice from the WNBA that the time would be cut short.
  • During a break after the first quarter, the league recognized several legends of women’s basketball including Teresa Weatherspoon, Rebecca Lobo, Sheryl Swoopes, Dawn Staley and Lynnette Woodard.
  • Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth will perform the national anthem.
  • Recording artist Teyana Taylor performed at halftime.
  • Celebrities and sports stars in attendance included soccer champion Megan Rapinoe, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and others.

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