Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

WNBA: Ogwumike Sister Act and Dupree's Return Highlight All-Star Reserve Selections

By ROB KNOX @knoxrob1

Candice Dupree will be participating in the WNBA’s biggest midsummer party for the first time since 2009.

With the All-Star game being played in Phoenix Saturday afternoon (3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, ESPN2), Dupree, a Temple graduate, will be celebrating at being named an all-star for the fourth time in her remarkable career (2006, 2007 and 2009).

Dupree will enjoy being part of a festive atmosphere that will recognize the best players in the sport and honor her Mercury, who have won 10 straight games entering Tuesday’s home game against Washington.

With Dupree contributing 15.7 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per outing, the Mercury are a league best 16-3 overall.

She has scored in double figures in 13 straight games and recently notched her franchise-best 28th double-double and fourth this season as the Mercury beat the Chicago Sky last Friday.

Dupree also became the 22nd player in WNBA history to score 4,000 career points.

She will join teammates Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, who were named starters last week, as Phoenix representatives in the All-Star game.

Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike, who in April became only the second set of siblings ever selected with the top overall pick in an American professional sports draft made history again.

Chiney, the No. 1 overall pick by the Connecticut Sun this year, and Nneka, the No. 1 overall selection by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2012, have been chosen by the league’s head coaches as reserves.

With that, Chiney, who will be making her first All-Star appearance, and Nneka, who will be making her second, become the first pair of sisters ever selected to participate in the WNBA’s All-Star event.

They started the week by playing against each other for the first time in a game and now they will end the week most likely doing the same thing at some point Saturday.

Nneka scored 24 points to Chiney’s 18 points during an easy Sparks win Sunday in Connecticut.

Also highlighting the reserves are former regular-season MVP Tina Charles (2012), former MVP of the WNBA Finals presented by Boost Mobile Seimone Augustus (2011), former All-Star MVP Katie Douglas (2006), and third-year forward Jessica Breland, who is enjoying a stellar 2014 campaign just two years after being out of the league following just one season.

For the Eastern Conference, Chiney Ogwumike, Charles of the New York Liberty, Breland of the Chicago Sky, and Erika de Souza of the Atlanta Dream will serve as frontcourt reserves.

Douglas of the Sun and Briann January of the Indiana Fever were both voted in as backcourt reserves.

Douglas will be making her fifth All-Star appearance and Charles and de Souza their third, while Breland and January will join Chiney Ogwumike in making their All-Star debuts.

January played collegiality at Arizona State so this all-star appearance will be meaningful for her.

In addition to Dupree, the reserves for the Western Conference are a pair of two-time WNBA champions from the Minnesota Lynx – backcourt star Augustus and backcourt star Lindsay Whalen.

Joining Augustus and Nneka Ogwumike as frontcourt reserves and Glory Johnson of the Tulsa Shock, while Danielle Robinson of the San Antonio Stars joins Whalen as a reserve in the backcourt.

This marks the fifth All-Star appearance for Augustus and the fourth for both Dupree and Whalen, while Johnson and Robinson join Nneka Ogwumike in returning to the All-Star stage for a second time.

Among the Eastern Conference reserves, Charles and Chiney Ogwumike enter Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014 tied for third in the league in double-doubles (8 apiece).

Charles also ranks sixth in scoring (17.1 ppg) and fifth in rebounding (9.0 rpg), while Ogwumike ranks seventh in both scoring (15.4 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg), and sixth in blocks (1.3 bpg).

Breland, who overcame cancer while at the University of North Carolina, and was out of the WNBA in 2012, is having a career year, averaging 11.8 ppg (more than double her previous best of 5.3 ppg) and 7.7 rpg (nearly double her prior best of 4.0 rpg).

De Souza is tied for second in the league in rebounding (9.7 rpg) and ranks 10th in scoring (15.2 ppg), WNBA season – is averaging 13.5 ppg. January is averaging a career-best 11.1 ppg in her sixth WNBA campaign while Douglas – now in her 14th.

For the Western Conference, Johnson sits in fourth place among WNBA rebounders (9.3 rpg) and is 13th in scoring (14.8 ppg). Nneka Ogwumike (15.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Dupree rank among the top 15 in both scoring and rebounding, while Robinson is among the top 10 in both assists (5.2 apg) and steals (1.86 spg).

Whalen ranks third in assists (5.6 apg) and 12th in scoring (15.0 ppg), and her Lynx teammate, Augustus, ranked sixth among WNBA scorers (17.2 ppg) prior to sitting out the last six games due to knee bursitis.

The Ogwumike sisters are two of nine former No. 1 overall draft selections on this year’s All-Star rosters.

The others include starters Diana Taurasi (2004, by Phoenix), Candace Parker (2008, Los Angeles), Angel McCoughtry (2009, Atlanta), Maya Moore (2011, Minnesota), and Brittney Griner (2013, Phoenix), as well as fellow reserves Augustus (2006, Minnesota) and Charles (2010, Connecticut).

Reserves were chosen by the league’s 12 head coaches.

Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team and selected reserves by voting for six players within their own conference, including two guards, three frontcourt players, and one player regardless of position.

Seattle and Washington are the only two teams without any all-stars.

Replacement players, who will take the roster spot of players who cannot play due to injury, will be named by WNBA President Laurel J. Richie.

Any changes to the starting lineup necessitated by injury will be made by the head coach of the respective All-Star team.

Under WNBA guidelines, the coach of the previous season's conference champion serves as the All-Star coach for that conference, provided that the coach remains in the same position.

Since Fred Williams, head coach of the 2013 Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream, is now at the helm in Tulsa, the East head coach – Atlanta’s Michael Cooper – was selected based on the club with the best winning percentage through games on June 29. Cooper earned the honor after guiding his club to an 11-4 mark (.733) at that point in the season.

Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve, the former La Salle star from South Jersey who guided the Lynx to the 2013 WNBA title, will lead the West squad.

Individual tickets for Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014 start at just $20 and can be purchased online at PhoenixMercury.com/allstar, through Ticketmaster viaTicketmaster.com, by dialing 800-745-3000, or at the US Airways Center Ticket Office.

For every All-Star Game ticket sold, the Mercury will donate $1 to its “All-Stars and Stripes” program benefiting local military heroes and their families.

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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