As advertised, here’s a look at five standouts in the Western Conference who should earn a reserve spot in the WNBA All-Star Game, set for Sunday, July 15:
Seimone Augustus, Minnesota (Averages: 22.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 50.9 shooting percentage)
Low-down: It’s not often the league’s second-leading scorer doesn’t get a sniff of the All-Star starting lineup, but with Sue Bird and Becky Hammon leading the ballot, Augustus didn’t come close to garnering enough votes. Her talent, though, is undeniable – Augustus hasn’t been held to single figures all season and for a guard, her 50.9 field-goal percentage is downright ridiculous.
Cappie Pondexter, Phoenix (Averages: 16.9 points, 3.4 assists, 3.25 rebounds)
Low-down: One of the many cogs in the Mercury’s high-powered offense, Pondexter currently sits ninth in the league in scoring and has actually made more baskets than All-Star starter Diana Taurasi (106 to 99) in fewer minutes (499 to 545). And it’s not like its unexpected – Pondexter averaged 19.5 points per game as a rookie last year.
Tina Thompson, Houston (Averages: 18.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 37.1 minutes)
Low-down: Thompson didn’t get much love in the All-Star voting – teammate Sheryl Swoopes, who has played just three games thus far, beat her out – but the 11th-year veteran deserves a spot. Thompson leads the league in minutes played per game, is sixth in scoring and is second on the Comets in rebounding.
Penny Taylor, Phoenix (Averages: 16.6 points, 6.05 rebounds, 49.5 shooting percentage)
Low-down: Like Pondexter and Taurasi, Taylor clearly benefits from the Mercury’s style of offense, but on a team that lacks a low-post presence, Taylor picks up the slack, as she leads the team in both offensive and total rebounds. In Phoenix’s 111-109 double-overtime victory on Friday – perhaps the game of the year thus far – Taylor was the star, scoring 30 points in 33 minutes.
Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Los Angeles (Averages: 11.6 points, 5.87 rebounds, 50.4 shooting percentage)
Low-down: Though slowed by a hamstring injury as of late, McWilliams-Franklin is one of the few major offensive threats in the West at center, perhaps the thinnest position in the league. She played 23 minutes, scoring 10 points, against her former team, the Sun, on Saturday. But don’t be surprised if an extra forward, such as Nicole Powell, gets this spot instead.
Open up Tuesday’s Bulletin for a story on who made the cut.