Sunday, July 3, 2022

2022 WNBA All-Star Game starters: Aces’ A’ja Wilson, Storm’s Breanna Stewart named captains

Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson and Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart have won the fan vote and will be named captains for the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game in Chicago next month. They will be joined by retiring legends Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles, who were also named honorary co-captains. Bird will be paired with Wilson, while Fowles will be paired with Stewart. 

On Wednesday, the league announced the starters for the game, which was determined by a combination of voting from fans, a panel of media members and other players. There was a 50 percent weight for fan votes, and a 25 percent weight for both media and player votes. Together, they resulted in a weighted score that determined the 10 starters — four from the backcourt and six from the frontcourt. 

In addition to the 10 players voted as starters, commissioner Cathy Engelbert named Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner an honorary All-Star and starter. Griner remains detained in Russia on alleged drug charges, and has not played this season. 

“During each season of Brittney’s career in which there has been an All-Star Game, she has been selected as an All-Star,” Engelbert said. “It is not difficult to imagine that if BG were here with us this season, she would once again be selected and would, no doubt, show off her incredible talents. So, it is only fitting that she be named as an honorary starter today and we continue to work on her safe return to the U.S.” 

Here are the 10 starters for the game:

Sue Bird

Seattle Storm

Backcourt

13th 

Sabrina Ionescu

New York Liberty

Backcourt

1st

Kelsey Plum

Las Vegas Aces

Backcourt

1st

Jackie Young

Las Vegas Aces

Backcourt

1st

Sylvia Fowles

Minnesota Lynx

Frontcourt

8th

Jonquel Jones

Connecticut Sun

Frontcourt

4th

Nneka Ogwumike

Los Angeles Sparks

Frontcourt

7th

Candace Parker

Chicago Sky

Frontcourt

7th

Breanna Stewart

Seattle Storm

Frontcourt

4th

A’ja Wilson

Las Vegas Aces

Frontcourt

4th

Bird, who last week officially announced she will be retiring at the end of the season, will extend her All-Star appearance record to 13. Meanwhile, young backcourt stars Ionescu, Plum and Young will all be making their first All-Star appearances. 

While Plum and Young easily made the cut as starters, the race for the final two backcourt spots was quite narrow. Ionescu finished with a weighted score of 5.25, while Bird (5.5) snuck ahead of teammate Jewell Loyd (5.75) to start the game. Perhaps the most interesting note from the voting results was that the Phoenix Mercury’s Skylar Diggins-Smith (6.25) missed out on starting due to a bizarrely low player vote. She had the fourth-most fan votes and third-most media votes, but was 14th in player votes. 

The league’s head coaches will now begin voting for the reserves, and those results will be announced on June 28. Then, once we have the full player pool, it will be time for the All-Star draft, which will be held live on ESPN on Saturday, July 2 at 3 p.m. ET. Wilson and Bird will serve as co-captains for one team, while Stewart and Fowles will be co-captains for the other. 

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