Video Credit: WNBA

FSM Essential Recap: 2021 WNBA All-Star Game – Team USA vs Team WNBA

Franchise Sports Media

Team USA | Team WNBA



The WNBA celebrated its 25th season with an all-star game at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas that celebrated its past players, as Team WNBA defeated Team USA 93-85.



Team USA vs Team WNBA
Photo Credit: USA Basketball

Unlike most typical all-star games, both teams (Team USA and Team WNBA) made it known early that this would be a competitive contest. Sue Bird pulled up at the free-throw line to Team USA its first bucket of the game, and Dewanna Bonner cut to the rim for an easy layup to put Team WNBA on the board. In preparation for her three-point contest participation at halftime, Jonquel Jones went three of three from downtown in a dazzling exhibition of shooting. Arike Ogunbowale tagged in from the bench and instantly joined in on the shotmaking. Both squads executed their offensive sets to perfection for nearly all of the first quarter, and Skylar Diggins-Smith closed the quarter with a corner three courtesy of Chelsea Gray. USA took a 28-25 lead into the second quarter.

Sylvia Fowles established herself in the post early in the quarter and passed the baton to Diggins-Smith to carry the scoring load momentarily. From there, both offenses slowed down tremendously after getting off to a blistering start — understandably so as the lineups began to mix and match, and the lack of cohesion was apparent. Eventually, Ogunbowale re-entered the game and ignited some offensive excitement for the WNBA, earning many “oo’s” and “ah’s” to the enthusiastic all-star crowd. Moments later, Dearica Hamby scored her first two all-star game points on a right-handed driving layup. But the offenses would revert to its staleness, and missed shots made up a lot of the final minutes of the half. Team WNBA went into the half with a 44-43 lead.

Team USA vs Team WNBA
Photo Credit: WNBA

After an extra-long halftime break, both teams’ frontcourt players led the way early on. Candace Parker and Jonquel Jones scored seven of Team WNBA’s first nine points in the quarter as A’ja Wilson and Brittney Griner combined for USA’s first five. Breanna Stewart chipped in five straight points to even the score at 53 as the first media break approached. Courtney Williams appeared from the bench following the timeout to knock down two middies off the bounce — all while keeping a smile on her face. The pace slowed down some as the quarter unfolded, and both teams tried to run through their sets. The results were mixed but led to an uncontested Brionna Jones jump shot towards the end of the quarter. But Chelsea Gray answered with an underhanded driving layup to bring the score to 63 apiece as the third quarter ended.


2021 WNBA All-Star Game
Photo Credit: USA Basketball

As she finished the third frame strong, Gray opened up the fourth with a deep three that gave Team USA a 71-68 lead. Yet, Team WNBA put together a quick 7-0 spurt that included perhaps the play of the game — an incredible display of touch passes as Jonquel Jones hit her teammate Brionna Jones in stride for a right-handed layup. Not to be outdone, Ogunbowale isolated her way to an and-one three-pointer on the wing.

USA tried to climb back into it, but there was just too much Courtney Williams and Arike Ogunbowale down the stretch. Williams went on a personal 4-0 run, and Ogunbowale wowed with her handle and three-point shooting. Williams went baseline and threw in a floater to put the WNBA all-stars up 93-85 over USA, which is how the game would end. Arike Ogunbowale earned MVP honors as her 26 points led the way in Team WNBA’s 93-85 victory.





Team USA vs Team WNBA
Photo Credit: USA Basketball

Defense and Competitiveness – As alluded to earlier, the defenses showed up for this game, rare for an all-star game. Of course, the circumstances were different this time around. The members of Team WNBA were tasked with helping prepare Team USA for their upcoming Olympic games. The competitive tone was set from the start and was sustained throughout the game, which ended with Team WNBA beating Team USA.

Stars Power – Both on and off the court, some great basketball players were present, as well as some celebrities. Many WNBA players were in attendance supporting their friends — Alyssa Thomas, Angel McCoughtry, and Reshanda Gray, to name a few — while NBA stars Demar DeRozan and Andre Drummond were in the building.

Three-Point Contest – As Candace Parker dubbed it during Tuesday’s media availability, the three-point contest was “The Allie Quigley Invitational.” Quigley edged out Jonquel Jones on the final rack to win her third WNBA Three-Point Contest title.


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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

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