Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Sports


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Originally published July 14, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 14, 2007 at 2:04 AM

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Leading vote-getter Bird will miss All-Star game

Essentially, Sue Bird's work is done. Not the four-hour rehabilitation sessions the Storm point guard has to endure in her attempt to return...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Sunday

WNBA All-Star Game @ Verizon Center, Ch. 4

WNBA All-Star Game

12:30 p.m. Sunday at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. (Ch. 4)

Skills Challenge: Four contestants, including Storm shooting guard Betty Lennox, will compete in a two-round, timed obstacle course. Minnesota guard Seimone Augustus won the event last summer and is defending her title.

Three-Point Shootout: Players compete in a two-round competition with the top three from the opening round advancing. The title is open since last year's champion, Houston's Dawn Staley, retired.

All-Star Game: The event has been dominated by the Western Conference, though the East won its first matchup last season. Phoenix's Diana Taurasi reportedly will attempt to dunk. Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson will represent Seattle. Grammy-winning artist Mya will perform a medley of hits at halftime.

Jayda Evans

advertising

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Essentially, Sue Bird's work is done.

Not the four-hour rehabilitation sessions the Storm point guard has to endure in her attempt to return for the second half of the WNBA season after arthroscopic left knee surgery on July 6. Her work as the leading vote-getter for Sunday's All-Star Game.

Since arriving on the pro scene after a storied high-school and college career, Bird has had no shame in her pitch to draw fans. She has spouted the "sex sells" line, and her teasing "harder, daddy, harder" bet with local radio personality Mitch Levy sent Seattle into a tizzy. Through it all, the 26-year-old repeated that she didn't care how a potential fan got to the arena, just as long as they came back.

"Someone could come to a game because of me and leave a fan of someone else," Bird said recently.

WNBA All-Star Game

12:30 p.m. Sunday at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. (Ch. 4)

Skills Challenge: Four contestants, including Storm shooting guard Betty Lennox, will compete in a two-round, timed obstacle course. Minnesota guard Seimone Augustus won the event last summer and is defending her title.

Three-Point Shootout: Players compete in a two-round competition with the top three from the opening round advancing. The title is open since last year's champion, Houston's Dawn Staley, retired.

All-Star Game: The event has been dominated by the Western Conference, though the East won its first matchup last season. Phoenix's Diana Taurasi reportedly will attempt to dunk. Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson will represent Seattle. Grammy-winning artist Mya will perform a medley of hits at halftime.

Jayda Evans

With Bird having grabbed a WNBA-record 128,838 All-Star votes, which surpassed Houston forward Sheryl Swoopes' mark of 124,575 set in 2003, the anticipation of seeing her can account for some of sold-out Verizon Center. But attending fans will walk away with something else this weekend.

Bird will remain in Seattle while teammates Lauren Jackson and Betty Lennox represent the Storm at the All-Star festivities. Jackson was voted to her sixth consecutive All-Star appearance, starting for the Western Conference. Lennox will make her first appearance at the Skills Challenge.

"I haven't played [the All-Star Game] without Sue since my rookie year," said Jackson, who leads the league in scoring (22.4). "It's not going to be as fun, definitely. Maybe I won't party as much."

Sure. Let's not forget that buddies Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor of the Phoenix Mercury were nominated to the Western squad. And former Storm assistant Jenny Boucek, now with Sacramento, is coaching.

"Yes, we'll be fine," Jackson said.

All-Star weekend also will be missing the likes of Swoopes and reigning league MVP Lisa Leslie. Swoopes is hampered by a lower back injury, while Leslie gave birth to her first child in June.

New faces like Sacramento guard Kara Lawson, Bird's injury replacement, and Indiana guard Anna DeForge will share the limelight. And others, like second-year Washington guard Laurie Koehn in the Three-Point Shootout and Lennox in the Skills Challenge, will get a chance to show that there is All-Star-worthy talent beyond the prominent names garnering all the attention.

Still, with standards like Taurasi, Minnesota guard Seimone Augustus, Detroit guard Deanna Nolan, Connecticut guard Katie Douglas and Jackson on the rosters, the game still promises to be electric.

The Eastern Conference won its first All-Star Game in 2006, 98-82, helping the league celebrate its 10-year anniversary. The game is making its second appearance in the nation's capital, having also been played here in 2002.

The weekend's other festivities have been squished basically into one day, with the traditional but poorly attended practice open to fans canceled because the WNBA couldn't secure the building. Instead, practice will be held privately in conjunction with a Boys & Girls Club court unveiling.

The Skills Challenge and Three-Point Shootout are scheduled for shortly before tipoff on Sunday. The league party, with a performance by Vanessa Carlton, is tonight.

"I would love to throw the biggest party in the world, but I'd have to get approval from the league," Sheila Johnson, Mystics president and managing partner, told The Washington Post. "It's just tough."

Tell that to Bird. She had to get people here.

But hopefully fans still walk away with a taste of All-Star glitz.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

More Sports

NFL, union resume labor talks at mediator's office

UPDATE - 08:52 AM
Hundreds attend funeral for fallen Mich. player

UPDATE - 09:40 AM
Norway's Tarjei Boe wins men's biathlon at worlds

Crying is OK, but admitting it is apparently not

NEW - 08:46 AM
Tripoli ruled unsafe for international soccer

More Sports headlines...


Get home delivery today!

Video

Advertising

AP Video

Entertainment | Top Video | World | Offbeat Video | Sci-Tech

Marketplace

Advertising