Sunday Scroll: Get your game on, go play

Everything you need to know about the WNBA All-Star game ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
The GIST
#594 10.7.2022

Hey now!

Queue up Smash Mouth because the WNBA All-Star Game is set for today at 1 p.m. ET, when the league’s brightest stars will battle it out at Chicago’s Wintrust Arena. From the history of the contest to all the deets on the squads, today’s Scroll has everything you need to know before tip-off. Time to get your game on.

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Quote of the Day

Kah hitting reverse layups and tweeting in the same quarter your fave could never

— WNBA reporter Owen Pence, on Chicago Sky star and reigning Finals MVP Kahleah Copper live-tweeting while playing in last year’s All-Star Game. More of this today, please.

Kahleah Copper clapping while running down the court
Source: WNBA/Giphy

📗 The history

WNBA All Star Game: University of Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt (C) on court with Sacramento Monarchs Ruthie Bolton-Holifield (6) and Washington Mystics Nikki McCray (15) before game at Madison Square Garden. New York, NY
Source: Manny Millan /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

The MLB hosted the first-ever All-Star Game (ASG) in pro sports back in 1933 with great success, encouraging the NBA to launch its own edition in 1951, five years after the league’s inception. It was a no-brainer for the W to get in on the fun and the inaugural WNBA ASG was held in 1999, a few years after the league’s first season.

  • That first W contest featured a sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden, a national anthem performance from Whitney Houston and a matchup highlighted by W legends including Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper and Lisa Leslie. Nothing like the ’90s.
  • With the exception of Olympic years, 2010 (replaced by the exhibition Stars at the Sun event) and 2020 (canceled due to COVID-19), the ASG's been held annually ever since.

🏀 How it works

Source: Sportslogos.net

This year, 10 All-Star starters were selected by a mix of 50% fan, 25% WNBA player and 25% media vote. Then, 12 additional reserve (aka bench) players were chosen by the WNBA head coaches.

  • The Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson and the Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart received the highest fan vote totals, earning them the honor of being named team captains.
  • The Storm’s Sue Bird and Minnesota Lynx’s Sylvia Fowles were also named honorary co-captains, as both are set to retire at the end of the season (still in denial).

From there, the captains drafted from the player pool (starters and reserves) regardless of conference, meaning today’s squads each include a mix of hoopers from East and West. Best of both worlds, baby.

♠️ Team Wilson

Guard Kelsey Plum #10 of the Las Vegas Aces reacts with forward A'ja Wilson #22 in the game against the Los Angeles Sparks at Crypto.com Arena on June 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Source: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

The captains: Averaging 18.5 points and a league-leading 10.1 rebounds per game, it’s no wonder the 2020 MVP topped the fan voting. Wilson’s never missed an ASG in her five seasons in the league and now will serve as a captain for the second time in her young career. Queen sh!t.

  • Fittingly, Team Wilson will be co-captained by W royalty, Sylvia Fowles. The league’s all-time leader in rebounds, this will be Fowles’ eighth All-Star appearance.

The starters: Wilson will have a familiar face in teammate Kelsey Plum, who’s making her All-Star debut after leading the high-flying Aces in scoring throughout the first half of the season. Team Wilson also boasts another first-timer, the NY Liberty’s Sabrina “Triple-Double” Ionescu (pronounced yo-NESS-coo).

  • And rounding out the squad is none other than seven-time All-Star, reigning W champ and hometown hero, the Chicago Sky’s Candace Parker, who knows a little something about triple-doubles herself.

A player to watch: The Atlanta Dream’s Rhyne Howard. The 2022 No. 1 overall pick, Howard’s already set a handful of records in her rookie season, and now she’s the lone member of the 2022 class on an All-Star roster.

⛈️ Team Stewart

Breanna Stewart #30 and Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm celebrate a play during the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Acesat Climate Pledge Arena on June 29, 2022 in Seattle, Washington.
Source: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The captains: A Storm could be brewing in the Windy City with the dynamic Seattle duo of Stewart and Bird joining forces for their fourth and 13th (!!!) All-Star appearances, respectively.

  • Stewie leads the league in scoring (21 points per game) while Bird holds countless records, including most All-Star appearances, assists and games played.

The starters: The reigning league MVP, Connecticut Sun star Jonquel Jones has been a force on both ends of the floor. She leads the Sun with 14.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, and is known for her highlight-reel defensive stops. So ready for a block party.

  • Jones will be joined by another top presence in the paint, seven-time All-Star Nneka Ogwumike (pronounced oh-gwoo-MIH-kay) of the LA Sparks.
  • As for the other guard, the Aces’ Jackie Young will make her All-Star debut and share ball handling duties with Bird. An epic rookie-vet one-two punch.

A player to watch: The 2021 All-Star Game MVP, Arike Ogunbowale (pronounced ah-REE-kay oh-GOON-boh-WAH-lay) of the Dallas Wings. Ogunbowale is known for showing up in big moments, and she did just that last year, dropping a whopping 26 points in her All-Star debut. Mamba Mentality on full display.

📺 How to tune in

Source: WGN.com

No Sunday Scaries here — the festivities tip off today at 1 p.m. ET, airing on ABC in the U.S. and TSN3 in Canada. And if you’d like to follow along behind the scenes, check out our on-the-ground coverage over on Instagram, @thegistusa and @thegistca. Ballin’.

The GIST's Picks

💔 Who’s top of mind:

Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner, who is an honorary starter for today’s game while she’s still being wrongfully detained in Russia. Griner’s case continues to develop, and last week’s guilty plea could be an essential step in bringing her home. It’s long overdue.

👊 Who else to know:

The two coaches for today’s game. Sky head coach James Wade will helm Team Stewart, while Aces first-year skip Becky Hammon will draw up the plays for Team Wilson, marking her seventh All-Star appearance after she made six as a player. Legendary.

🤝 Who’s teaming up:

The Chicago-based non-profit organization Metropolitan Family Services, which helps women who’ve been impacted by gun violence, and fashion designer Model Atelier, which partnered with the W to give makeovers to three women from the org. Truly fashion forward.

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