CASHING IN: In her return to the All-Star scene, Cash is looking supreme. She’s 6 of 9 from the field for 12 points. The game is still tight with her last bucket helping the West pull back ahead 45-44 with 5:30 remaining. There’s a timeout, but it’s more Bird mugging for the camera than strategy talk.
SHORT SHORTS: There may not be a replacement for Leslie’s prowess at center, but Houston is taking the reigns for the Sparks star on-court style. Houston rolls the elastic trim of her shorts at least three times to make them shorter. Leslie just orders them X-small.
KISS OFF: Connecticut doing that kiss-cam thing. Why don’t they ever show lesbians or gays? Instead it’s just a bunch of “older” fans.
BOUNCE BACK: Taurasi was crushed by media, including me, for her DUI in interviews Friday, but it doesn’t matter to the crowd. She received a massive applause when she checked in for Jackson. She’s just 1 of 3 from the field, though. Would have expected the shooting to be better overall. East, with the help of the reserves, leads 27-25 at end of the first quarter. Top scorer is Erika De Sousa, who has six points and two boards.
SPOTTED: I think Jordan Swoopes is a ball boy and I saw former Storm G Sonja Henning in the stands. She works for Nike, so mot surprising to see her here. West leads 15-12 with the East shooting 31.3 percent.
HOUSTON SHAKE: League had players stand in a military-esque line for intros, which limited creativity. Surprised? Don’t be. This is the WNBA, after all. Taurasi received the biggest applause and Hammon got the heroics going with a reverse layin. Houston did a little boogie in a pregame West huddle. West leads 5-0 with 9:06 remaining in the opening quarter.
Did my part in begging for more entertainment value for you by asking the players if they’ll dance during pre-game intros ala Shaq and the NBA. Chicago C Sylvia Fowles said she might bring out the stanky leg, but Washington G Alana Beard said you might have to look for the West to do more dancing.
“They seem to have a lot more personality than us,” said Beard, who had a funny moment when she forgot her jersey top during the skills competition, having to run back to the locker room to dress. “I know I’m not a dancer. I’m not going to embarrass myself out there, I do that enough in front of my teammates. I can’t put it on national television.”
Storm F Swin Cash begged to differ when it came to personalities, however.
“We have more entertainers that are willing to do it out there,” Cash said. “They have entertainers, but they’re not going to do it out there. They’re more in the closet, in the locker room. I did say Sylvia [Fowles] and Charde [Houston] should have a dance-off.”
The East did say they were aiming to win, coming to play in the opening quarter. West All-Star Tina Thompson (Los Angeles) said that’s not going to happen, this probably being her last game.
Thompson said she’s being geeky about the experience, taking pictures and collecting mementos for the first time. Thompson will start in place of C Lisa Leslie, who missed the experience due to a right knee sprain. Leslie announced at season’s end that she’s retiring.
“She will be missed considerably,” WNBA president Donna Orender said. “I don’t think there is an athlete on the court today or in this league or in young youth leagues all around this country that doesn’t owe a debt of gratitude to Lisa Leslie or don’t look up to her as an iconic figure. I think she’ll be truly missed.”
With that, let’s get to it with your All-Star starters:
F Swin Cash
F Tina Thompson
C Lauren Jackson
G Sue Bird
G Diana Taurasi
F Tamika Catchings
F candice Dupree
C Sylvia Fowles
G Katie Douglas
G Alana Beard