Alright, alright! We've reached the halfway point of the WNBA season and we're in Las Vegas for All Star Weekend. The second half of the season will be in full swing on the 30th.
Where to follow the game
ABC is the place to be. Tip off is after 3:30.
Unfortunately, A'ja Wilson recently sprained her ankle and will have to miss the game. Napheesa Collier is taking her place.
Usually, the All Star Game is a chance for players to chill out, relax, and have some fun. However, the WNBA is doing something... interesting. From Matt Ellentuck at the mothership:
These special substitutions will see one player in a designated “check-in spot” near mid-court wait for a player to tag her onto the floor. Only the team on offense can swap a player in while the ball is live. Additionally, a player throwing the ball in-bounds can not be live-subbed. Regular substitutions will occur throughout the game as well.
Also, they're decreasing the shot clock from 24 to 20 seconds. This is a curious decision to say the least. Doing hockey style substitutions is a lousy idea, but the shot clock change could be intriguing. I'd rather they experiment with the clock in preseason, but maybe it won't be so bad.
Despite those changes, the game will be fun. We've got a New York connection as Kia Nurse and Tina Charles of the Liberty will be in the game and figure to get a lot of shine. Nurse was selected as a starter while Charles will be a reserve. Nurse in particular has been having a busy weekend as she was in the three point contest last night.
One thing I love about All Star Games is the footwear. Players tend to break out their best kicks and showcase their fashion for the fans. Here's some of the Nikes we'll be seeing during the game
The @nikebasketball 2019 WNBA All-Star Game collection. pic.twitter.com/UF83Mv2X5n— B/R Kicks (@brkicks) July 26, 2019
We'll see some of the other shoes on display leading up to game time.
Aside from being one of the best players in the league, Liz Cambage can get the party started. Cambage works as a DJ on the side and explained to Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review Journal her learning process in becoming a (good) DJ:
It’s not easy, learning to beat match isn’t easy. But once it clicks — it’s like learning a new move. Once you get it, it’s like, Yes, I’ve got it now, and I can do it all the time. But I was horrible when I started, and a lot of people around me were telling me I was great. I had a lot of yes people around me, but I was lucky I had one friend who was like, Liz, what are you doing? … That ain’t it. I was lucky I had one friend that sat me down and taught me how to beat match.
I wonder what her playlists are hitting for...
Player to watch: Elena Delle Donne
Naturally, all eyes will be on the leading vote getter and front runner for the MVP. Delle Donne has dealt with some injuries this year, but has been sensational when she's been on the court. EDD is averaging 17 points and eight rebounds a night on a .469/.400/.947 shooting split. The Mystics are the favorites to get out the East, and having EDD playing at the peak of her powers will help Washington make it back to the Finals.
We'll see who will be replacing Wilson in the starting lineup. If I had to guess who'll take her place, I'd go with Diamond DeShields. She won the skills contest last night and it would be a great reward to get the start this afternoon. DeShields has helped the Chicago Sky to the third best record in the Esst, and as she plays more, the better she'll become.
Teyana Taylor's the halftime performer, so let's get into it
- Inside The W With Michelle Smith: 2019 WNBA All-Star Game Preview - Michelle Smith - WNBA.com