NEW YORK -- Houston Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes and
Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings were the top vote-getters
for the WNBA All-Star Game in balloting released Thursday.
Swoopes, one of nine remaining players from the WNBA's inaugural
season in 1997, garnered the most votes for the fifth time (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003)
receiving 108,999. Swooopes, who ranks third in the league in scoring (18.2) and steals (2.42), will be joined in the Western Conference
starting lineup by Sacramento Monarchs center Yolanda Griffith,
Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, forward Lauren Jackson and
guard Sue Bird of the defending champion Seattle Storm.
Catchings, leading the league in steals and fifth in assists and the only player in the WNBA currently in the top 15 in scoring (13.7), steals (2.62), assists (4.9) and rebounds (7.1), received 93,842 votes. Other starters for the Eastern Conference
are guards Dawn Staley of the Charlotte Sting and Becky Hammon of
the New York Liberty, forward Swin Cash and center Ruth Riley of
the Detroit Shock.
Cash, recovering from offseason knee surgery, has yet to play
this year. She was cleared to resume on-court activities Wednesday,
but Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer was still not sure when she will be
able to play.
The sixth WNBA All-Star Game will be played July 9 at the
Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Last year, the U.S. national
team played an All-Star team of remaining WNBA players at Radio
City Music Hall at the start of the league's monthlong Olympic
Diana Taurasi and Ruth Riley, both members of last year's Olympics team, will be making their first WNBA All-Star appearances. Taurasi's West teammates have been here before: Jackson is a four-time All-Star, Griffith a five-time All-Star and Sue Bird will make her third appearance.
In the East, Staley is a four-time All-Star, followed by Hammon's third nod and Cash's second appearance.
Seattle's Anne Donovan will coach the West, and Connecticut's
Mike Thibault the East.
The coaches of each conference will vote for the reserves, who
will be announced Tuesday.
While the West has won all previous WNBA All-Star Games, Eastern Conference teams have beaten West squads in 20 of 35 interconference games this season. Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut is 9-1 against the West and 11-2 overall.
A look at the final returns:
Forwards: Sheryl Swoopes (Hou) 108,999; Lauren Jackson (Sea) 77,065; Chamique Holdsclaw (LA) 56,351; Janeth Arcain (Hou) 54,265; DeMya Walker (Sac) 41,565; Rebekkah Brunson (Sac) 37,892; Alicia Thompson (Sea) 23,056; Penny Taylor (Pho) 19,451; Svetlana Abrosimova (Min) 19,357; LaToya Thomas (SA) 18,697; Kendra Wecker (SA) 17,103; Tamika Williams (Min) 14,660; Sandora Irvin (Pho) 12,674; Mwadi Mabika (LA) 11,898.
Centers: Yolanda Griffith (Sac) 79,505; Lisa Leslie (LA) 59,547; Michelle Snow (Hou) 55,809; Suzy Batkovic (Sea) 19,805; Kamila Vodichkova (Pho) 16,991; Nicole Ohlde (Min) 15,648; Adrian Williams (SA) 10,666.
Guards: Sue Bird (Sea) 92,611; Diana Taurasi (Pho) 73,588; Ticha Penicheiro (Sac) 56,053; Dominique Canty (Hou) 41,684; Kara Lawson (Sac) 40,148; Betty Lennox (Sea) 35,627; Adrienne Goodson (Hou) 33,150; Marie Ferdinand (SA) 28,547; Katie Smith (Min) 24,718; Shannon Johnson (SA) 22,516; Nikki Teasley (LA) 20,942; Anna DeForge (Pho) 18,932; Tamecka Dixon (LA) 13,314; Kristi Harrower (Min) 6,437.
Forwards: Tamika Catchings (Ind) 93,842; Swin Cash (Det) 69,494; Cheryl Ford (Det) 51,678; Taj McWilliams-Franklin (CT) 42,190; Katie Douglas (CT) 41,268; Tangela Smith (Cha) 39,289; Tammy Sutton-Brown (Cha) 31,813; Natalie Williams (Ind) 29,961; DeLisha Milton-Jones (Was) 24,322; Elena Baranova (NY) 21,565; Murriel Page (Was) 18,629; Crystal Robinson (NY) 16,988.
Centers: Ruth Riley (Det) 70,310; Margo Dydek (CT) 51,770; Janel McCarville (Cha) 41,252; Kelly Schumacher (Ind) 34,680; Chasity Melvin (Was) 25,920; Ann Wauters (NY) 20,938.
Guards: Dawn Staley (Cha) 62,191; Becky Hammon (NY) 57,195; Alana Beard (Was) 53,381; Lindsay Whalen (CT) 52,176; Deanna Nolan (Det) 45,583; Nykesha Sales (CT) 39,161; Allison Feaster (Cha) 32,673; Kelly Miller (Ind) 32,201; Tan White (Ind) 31,454; Vickie Johnson (NY) 26,171; Coco Miller (Was) 25,646; Elaine Powell (Det) 24,369.