WNBA All-Star Game
A capacity crowd of 9,518 basketball fans packed the Mohegan Sun Arena to see the best and brightest stars in the WNBA compete in the 2009 WNBA All-Star Game. Connecticut favorites Asjha Jones, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Charde Houston joined league veterans and perennial All-Stars Tamika Catchings, Katie Smith and Becky Hammon.
The West was best today, beating the East 130-118. Swin Cash, with a record-setting 22 points, won the game's Most Valuable Player award.
InsideHoops.com presents raw and unedited live game notes taken as the action happened:
West starters: Becky Hammon and Sue Bird at guard, Swin Cash and Tina Thompson at forward, and Lauren Jackson at center.
East starters: Katie Douglas and Alana Beard at guard, Tamika Catchings and Candice Dupree at forward, and at at center.
The West took early leads, going up 7-0, then 11-5, but the East soon caught up and at 3:04 took a 17-15 lead.
As is the case with most All-Star games, there isn't much intensity on the defensive sides of the floor.
At the first quarter buzzer, East forward Erika DeSouza nailed a jumper to put her team up two.
End of one quarter: East 27, West 25. East guard Alana Beard was hot, shooting 4-of-6 for 9 points in the quarter. DeSouza scored 6 off the bench. And Catchings grabbed three rebounds. For the West, forward Swin Cash shot 4-of-5 for 8 points. Hammon on 4 shots scored 4. Tina Thompson grabbed 4 rebounds, and Sue Bird dished 4 assists.
Lauren Jackson hits another three-pointer, her second of the game. This one was also from up top, though she didn't bank it in this time. She's playing with a bad knee.
A minute later, Jackson nails her third three, this time from the left elbow. West up 34-33.
Tamika Catchings, the leading vote-getter for this All-Star game, unleashed a sweet dribble-drive for an old-school, underhand layup.
Sue Bird's outside shooting technique looks nearly perfect. This isn't new, of course.
Swin Cash is on fire for the West and now has 12 points. It's 52-45 west up with 4 minutes left in the first half.
The East is slower than the west in getting into their offense. The West sets up good shots quicker, and it's showing in the scoreboard.
Cash scores inside, and now has 14. She's money. Thanks folks, I'm here all night. Try the veal.
Nicole Powell (West) hits a pair of buckets in a row, including a sweet little off-balance pull-up in the paint.
East forward Erika DeSouza hustles hard inside for a layup that was the last basket of the first two quarters.
This was the most combined points in one half in the history of WNBA All-Star games.
End of first half: West 63, East 60.
For the West, forward Swin Cash is shooting 7-of-10 for 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Lauren Jackson shot 3-of-3, all three-pointers, for 9 points and 3 rebounds. Sue Bird had 8 points, 3 assists and 6 assists. And Nicole Powell, off the bench, also scored 8.
For the East, guard Alana Beard on 9 shots had 12 points. Guard Katie Douglas has 8 points and 4 assists. Forward Erika DeSouza on 3 shots has 8 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. And forward Shameka Christon has 8 points and 4 assists off the bench. Sylvia Fowles has 6 points.
The halftime entertainment is an R&B girl group named Richgirl, with members Audra, Brave, Lyndriette and Seven. Their song, which I believe is called 24 Inches, was hard to hear due to a sound issue, but it sounded just as hot as any other fairly formulatic R&B track. Side note: The group's members are hot.
The defensive intensity is even lower to start the third, as talented offensive players keep pouring it on with little opposition. Again, it's an All-Star game. That's how it's supposed to be.
Just 2.5 minutes in and the score is now 71-71.
Guard Diana Taurasi (West bench) is like a shooting machine. Not today so far, but in general. She reminds me of one of those baseball pitching machines, except in the form of a female basketball player. I'll work on that comparison.
We've got scoring overload. And that's a fun thing for fans. Benches are pouring shots in this quarter and scoring is fairly balanced for both teams.
Katie Smith, one of the best three-point shooters in women's pro basketball history, strokes one in, then laughs because she hasn't been hitting today as she normally would.
Swin cash has been quiet this quarter but gets inside and puts in an uncontested layup, giving her 16.
Late in the third quarter the West got their first free throws of the game.
After an east miss, Taurasi runs a fast break and flips a no-look pass to her left, where Sue Bird catches and pulls up for a sweet three. West leads 99-92.
After the East scored, Taurasi tried to fire an inbound pass across the entire court, but instead of connecting with a teammate the ball sailed into the first row of fans. And then tripped over a fan or something and fell down.
End of three: West 99, East 93.
Perhaps realizing that both teams are scoring at an epic rate, both teams seem more intense to start the 4th.
It's a layup drill, as both teams are running breaks.
West guard Cappie Pondexter is struggling with her shot, hitting 3-of-9, but she has 8 rebounds and 6 assists (but 4 turnovers).
East forward Tamika Catchings is just 3-of-10. And Katie Smith is just 2-of-12 for 5 points.
Nicole Powell, a late addition to this game, has five threes and is pouring it on and going off like Kobe. With 21 points she has the most points ever in a WNBA All-Star game.
With 3:05 left the West leads 117-107. There are 60 assists between the two teams.
Swin Cash scores and now has 22.
All sorts of scoring records are being set, both as a team and individual. More on that after the game.
The west's 123 points are the most ever by one team in a WNBA All-Star game. And there's 1.5 minutes left.
With 26 seconds left in the game, East center Sylvia Fowles had the ball, and every other player on the court cleared the lane so she could attempt an open dunk. She went down the middle, tried to cram it but missed. Taurasi ran at her from the side as she attempted it, but just for fun and cut away during the attempt. But a teammate got the open offensive rebound and flipped it back to Fowles for another dunk attempt. Again going right down the middle of the paint, this time she nailed it, putting it down with one hand, drawing plenty of applause from players on both teams.
And the dunk was the final basket of the game.
Final score: West 130, East 118.
FINAL STATS AND MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
The 2009 WNBA All-Star game MVP award went to Swin Cash (West).
For the West: Cash shot 10-of-16 for 22 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists (just 1 turnover). Powell shot 8-of-14 (5-of-9 threes) for 21 points. Taurasi shot 7-of-11 for 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists (but 4 turnovers). Bird shot 6-of-8 (4-of-5 threes) for 16 points, 5 rebounds and 10 assists (just 2 turnovers). And Charde Houston shot 6-of-10 for 16 poinst, 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
For the East: Fowles (8-of-12) had 17 points and 5 rebounds. Jia Perkins (7-of-11) had 16 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. Beard on 12 shots had 14 points. Dupree, Christon and DeSouza each scored 12.
It was a fun, high-scoring exhibition and perfect All-Star style basketball.