By Editor July 18, 2018 08:57


Verizon WNBA All-Star 2018 scheduled for Saturday, July 28 at Target Center in Minneapolis; Game to air on ABC at 12:30 p.m. Phoenix time


PHOENIX – The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury will be well represented in this year’s Verizon WNBA All-Star 2018 Game, as Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner each have been named WNBA All-Stars, as unveiled on SportsCenter and announced by the league today.  As part of the league’s new voting format, the trio were voted in by fans, media and current WNBA players. The Verizon WNBA All-Star 2018 Game will take place at Target Center in Minneapolis on Saturday, July 28, and will be televised on ABC with tip-off taking place at 12:30 p.m. Phoenix time.


With the three selections, this year’s All-Star game will mark the fourth time in franchise history the Mercury has had three players play in the game, joining 2007 (Taurasi, Penny Taylor, Cappie Pondexter), 2014 (Taurasi, Griner, Candice Dupree) and 2015 (Bonner, Griner, Dupree).  The trio will join the Mercury’s coaching staff of Sandy Brondello, Julie Hairgrove and Todd Troxel in Minnesota, as Phoenix’s staff was named coaches for the game on July 12 after being guaranteed to have one of the two best records in the league by July 13.


Following this year’s selection, Taurasi has now been voted a WNBA All-Star in all nine (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018) of the All-Star games in which she was eligible for in her 14-year career (no All-Star Game in 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2016; sat out 2015 season).  At the age of 36, the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer has continued to play at an elite level, ranking sixth in scoring (20.0 ppg), sixth in assists (4.8 apg), and ranks first in both free throw percentage (career-high 93.9-percent) and three-point makes (79) this season.  She became the first player in WNBA history to 8,000 career points on June 5 in New York, surpassed Tina Thompson as the league’s all-time leader in field goals on July 5 against the Sun, and joins Karl Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as the only players in NBA/WNBA history to average 20 or more points in a season at the age of 36 or older.


Griner earns an All-Star nod for the fifth time in her career, also every year in which she has been eligible (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018; no All-Star game in 2016 due to Summer Olympics).  Although she was unable to play in last year’s game due to injury following a breakout year, Griner has continued to be a handful in the post this season.  The 2017 WNBA scoring champion currently ranks third in the league in scoring (20.7 ppg), eighth in rebounding (7.3 rpg), eighth in field goal percentage (54.7-percent) and leads the league in blocks (2.9 bpg), as she has in every season of her career.  Griner is the only player in the WNBA this season averaging at least 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game, a feat accomplished by only Anthony Davis in the 2017-18 NBA season.  Griner is also coming off her best game of the season after finishing with a season-high 36 points (regular season career high for a regulation game) and 12 rebounds in a win at Indiana on July 15.


After missing the 2017 WNBA season to give birth to twins, Bonner will be making her second WNBA All-Star appearance (2015) in her career after a stellar season.  The two-time WNBA Champion is averaging 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds (highest since 2011), 3.4 assists (ties career high) and 1.3 steals in 22 games this season, while shooting 46.5-percent from the field (ties career high).  Bonner ranks in the league’s top-20 this season in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, field goal percentage and free throw percentage, the only player in the league to do so this summer. The three-time WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year has scored in double figures in all but three games this season and has registered two double-doubles on the year.


As part of the league’s new All-Star format, the two captains will select their 11-player rosters from the 20 remaining players who were selected as All-Stars in the coming days.  Teams will be announced later this week, while starting lineups will be chosen by coaching staffs and captains prior to the game and will be announced close to Verizon WNBA All-Star 2018 Weekend.


WNBA all-time leading scorer Diana Taurasi and 2017 WNBA scoring champion Brittney Griner return to Phoenix this summer to lead the Mercury in a quest for the franchise’s WNBA-record tying fourth championship.  Tickets to the Mercury’s next home game on Thursday, July 19 against Las Vegas and the rest of the Mercury’s 2018 home games are on sale NOW and can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting PhoenixMercury.com.

By Editor July 18, 2018 08:57

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