Seattle’s Sue Bird shines in 10th WNBA All-Star Game
SEATTLE — Maya Moore provided the example, reigning league WNBA Most Valuable Player Nneka Ogwumike gladly followed along, and Sue Bird received the attention and recognition she deserved.
Those veterans on the West roster knew exactly how to turn the WNBA All-Star Game into a showcase.
“I thought it was a great game, a great pace. You don’t want anybody to get hurt, but you also want to play with a certain intensity to show off your athleticism and I thought we were able to do that,” Moore said.
Moore scored 23 points and Ogwumike added 22 points as the West outlasted the East 130-121 in the WNBA All-Star Game on Saturday. Most of the focus, however, was on Bird, Seattle’s 10-time All-Star playing in front of her home crowd.
She received the loudest ovations as she was introduced, drowning out those that went to former WNBA Most Valuable Player Diana Taurasi, Seattle teammate Breanna Stewart and others.
“I know when she always talks about Seattle, she always gloats and she always gets a smile on her face. So it was nice to see that love back to her and you can tell it’s a mutual love,” Taurasi said.
The 36-year-old Bird seemed more interested in involving others than trying to take control of the game. She regularly bypassed her own shots to provide layup chances for Moore, Ogwumike and Candace Parker, and finished with a game-record 11 assists and eight points.
The veteran West squad, with 55 total All-Star Game selections on its roster, pulled away after a close first half. Moore made 9 of 17 shots, including five 3-pointers, while Ogwumike made 11 of 15 attempts off the bench.
Moore was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive All-Star Game.
The competiveness started to emerge late as the East tried to rally from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit, but Bird’s wide open 3-pointer with 4:05 left to push the West’s lead back to 11. She threw her hands in the air after the make, following an underwhelming performance in the 3-point contest.
“I’ve got no complaints,” Bird said. “Except the 3-point contest. I can complain about that. I was terrible.”
The youthful East was led by Jonquel Jones with a game-high 24 points, including a dunk in the final minute. There were eight first-time selections on the East roster, but Jones clearly came away as the most impressive individual performer.
“She’s an amazing young talent for this league,” East coach Curt Miller said. “She’s only going to get better.”
Layshia Clarendon, Candice Dupree and 3-point contest winner Allie Quigley all had 14 points off the bench for the East.