Sunday, July 8, 2007

Some All-Star predictions (Part 1)

Monday, the WNBA announces the reserves for the All-Star Game, scheduled for Sunday, July 15, in Washington.

The Sun’s Katie Douglas and Asjha Jones – both among the top 15 scorers in the league and the clear leaders of a suddenly surging Sun offense – should be included in those added, with point guard Lindsay Whalen having an outside shot of making the team.

Here’s a look at a few others, by position, who should earn a spot:

Eastern Conference:
Alana Beard, Washington (Averages: 18.9 points, 2.2 steals, 43.2 shooting percentage)
Low-down: Anyone who watched Beard scorch the Sun for 20 points on June 26 – scoring 16 of her team’s 18 points in one stretch – can attest to the fourth-year pro’s dangerous offensive game. And she’s finished the first half strong, too: Beard is averaging 22.3 points per game in July.

Katie Smith, Detroit (Averages: 13 points, 4.3 assists, team-leading 31 3-pointers)
Low-down: As if the Shock needed another All-Star representative – they already have three starters – but Smith is as deserving as her teammates. The veteran can score when called upon (20 and 19 points in her last two games) and she leads the Shock in assists. She had 10 of them in one game earlier this season.

Candice Dupree, Chicago (Averages: 19.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 50.2 shooting percentage)
Low-down: Dupree should have been a starter, as she sits third in the league in scoring and has led the Sky’s resurgence this season in just their second year as a franchise. But the second-year star will have to settle for a simple All-Star nod; she has only scored in single figures twice this season.

Catherine Kraayeveld, New York (Averages: 11.2 points, 5.24 rebounds, 1.18 steals)
Low-down: The former late-round pick leads the Liberty in rebounds and, in large part, they go as she goes. In the New York’s eight losses, Kraayeveld averaged 8.1 points per game; in its 10 wins, she’s scored 12.8 per. Her four season-highs this year have all come in Liberty wins.

Tammy Sutton-Brown, Indiana (Averages: 12 points, 5.5 rebounds, 56.1 shooting percentage)
Low-down: Like Dupree, Sutton-Brown probably should be starting, especially over Kara Braxton (5.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 37.1 shooting percentage). One of the best free-agent signings this past off-season, Sutton-Brown has lifted the Fever to first place in the conference and has helped make them one of the league’s better rebounding teams as well.

Check here Monday morning for a run-down on five players in the Western Conference who should playing be in the nation’s capital next Sunday.

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