Reeve hopes all five Lynx starters are picked for home All-Star Game
MINNEAPOLIS—Hosting their first All-Star Game in franchise history, Cheryl Reeve wants the Lynx to be well-represented. Really well-represented.
Minnesota is hoping to have all five starters—Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Sylvia Fowles, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen—selected to the WNBA All-Star Game.
"I know it's something I want badly," said Reeve, the Lynx coach and general manager. "I know how it would make me feel. It took us a long time to get the All-Star Game here, for a variety of reasons. This group deserves that. This group deserves it, our fans deserve it. Hopefully the votes continue to roll in for our starting five to be able to do that."
The league adopted a new all-star voting format this year. On Tuesday, July 17, 22 players will be selected for the game, regardless of conference. The top two vote-getters will be the team "captains" and will select their teams from that 22-player pool to form the two sides for the game, which will be played July 28 at Target Center.
You could make the argument all five Lynx starters deserve berths based on career merits more so than this season's achievements. The Lynx have been the league's dominant franchise for years—four championships and six WNBA Finals appearances over a seven-year span speaks to that. They've set the bar for excellence in the league. Their starters—likely all hall of famers—drove the franchise's success. They have 25 All-Star Game appearances among them.
Four starters made last year's All-Star Game—Augustus, Brunson, Fowles and Moore—making the Lynx the first franchise to send four players to the showcase on three different occasions. Might this be the year to send five?
"Wouldn't that be crazy?" Augustus asked. "To be able to do that, that'd be the first time we'd have five starters from one team. We'll just make history across the board."
Fan voting makes up 40 percent of the vote, and on the first fan voting update in early July, all five Lynx starters were in the top 18. But a coaches vote, a players vote and a media vote all each counted for 20 percent of the process, so all five getting in is far from a guarantee.
Looking at this season's individual success, Moore and Fowles are the Lynx's only no-brainer selections. Brunson is likely on the bubble and, from the outside, Augustus and Whalen would appear to be long shots. Also, teams higher up the standings typically are granted more all-star selections. The Lynx (12-10) are tied for seventh in the 12-team league.
Still, the Lynx are the WNBA's current dynasty and defending champions. And they are the host. That has to count for something.
"Still hopeful that'll happen," Reeve said of everyone getting in. "If not, I think we'll be well-positioned to have strong representation. It'll be exciting for our fans. No matter what happens, most of the group will be around, our staff will be around, so we'll part of the festivities whether we're actually playing in the game or not."
Augustus said she went out to eat last week and fans already were telling her they had their tickets to the game. She has friends and family coming to this All-Star Game and said it'd be a little more special to be selected this season "and represent Minnesota once again."
"Either way it'll be a positive, it'd be a really good weekend," Whalen said. "I know the All-Star Game will be an electric atmosphere in there and our fans will be great and we'll show all the best players ... just how great our fans are, so it'll be cool."