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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese are set to join forces on the WNBA All-Star team, which will take on the Olympic squad

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese have been selected to join forces on the WNBA All-Star team, slated to face the formidable U.S. Olympic team led by A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart. The announcement came following their standout rookie seasons, where both players garnered significant attention and accolades in the league.

Clark, buoyed by an overwhelming show of support from fans, secured the highest number of fan votes with 700,735, outpacing her nearest competitor, Aliyah Boston, by 72,000 votes. Reese also impressed, finishing fifth overall with 381,518 votes. Wilson and Stewart, stalwarts of the U.S. Olympic team, followed closely in the voting ranks, underscoring their pivotal roles in the upcoming competition.

Their inclusion marks only the eighth time in WNBA history that two rookies have been named to the All-Star team, a testament to their impactful debut seasons. The last time this occurred was in 2014 with Shoni Schimmel and Chiney Ogwumike. Beyond their popularity, Clark and Reese have made substantial contributions on the court, with Clark ranking third in the league in assists at 6.9 per game, while Reese leads in rebounds with an impressive 11.4 per game.

Joining Clark and Reese on the WNBA All-Star roster are seasoned players like DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones from Connecticut, Allisha Gray from Atlanta, Dearica Hamby from Los Angeles, Jonquel Jones from New York, Kayla McBride from Minnesota, Kelsey Mitchell from Indiana, Nneka Ogwumike from Seattle, and Arike Ogunbowale from Dallas. Ogunbowale, the MVP of the 2021 All-Star game, adds further firepower to the team.

In a format reminiscent of previous years, the All-Star game will pit the WNBA All-Stars against the U.S. Olympic team, which includes stars like Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi. Notably, Griner and Taurasi, both representing Phoenix, will have the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of their home crowd during this exhibition match. Taurasi, aiming for an unprecedented sixth Olympic gold medal, stands out as one of the most decorated players in the sport’s history.

The U.S. Olympic team also features a strong contingent from Las Vegas, with Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young joining Wilson in pursuit of another gold medal. Gray, a member of the Tokyo Olympic squad, and Plum and Young, who contributed to the historic 3-on-3 gold medal win, bring valuable experience and skill to the team. Returning Olympians Napheesa Collier and Jewell Loyd add further depth, alongside first-time Olympians Alyssa Thomas, Sabrina Ionescu, and Kahleah Copper, all of whom played pivotal roles in the American team’s recent success at the World Cup in Australia.

Each player selected for either the U.S. team or the WNBA All-Star squad is recognized as an elite performer, highlighting the event’s prestige. For Diana Taurasi, this marks her 11th appearance in the All-Star game, solidifying her position as one of the game’s all-time greats. She trails only Sue Bird, who holds the record with 13 All-Star appearances.

The All-Star festivities will also include a 3-point challenge and a skills contest the night before the game, adding excitement and entertainment to the weekend’s events. As anticipation builds for this clash of basketball titans, fans can expect an electrifying showcase of talent and competition in Phoenix on July 20th, marking the 20th edition of the WNBA All-Star Game.

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