The 2021 WNBA All-Star roster was announced on Wednesday with seven first-time honorees named including Liberty standout guard Betnijah Laney, Aces two-time reigning Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby, and last season’s scoring champion, Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale.
The complete roster for the All-Star team includes: Candace Parker, Liz Cambage, DeWanna Bonner, Kahleah Copper, Dearica Hamby, Brionna Jones, Jonquel Jones, Betnijah Laney, Arike Ogbunowale, Satou Sabally, Courtney Vandersloot and Courtney Williams. WNBA legends Tina Thompson and Lisa Leslie will serve as the team’s co-head coaches.
This season, the All-Star Game will be under unique rules as the All-Star team will compete against Team USA’s Olympic team in Las Vegas on July 14. The 12 U.S. Olympians who they’ll be competing against include: Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Chelsea Gray, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Jewell Loyd, Ariel Atkins, Tina Charles, Napheesa Collier, Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson, Sylvia Fowles, and Brittney Griner. Dawn Staley is the team’s head coach.
The most noteworthy exclusion from both teams was 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike, whose snub from the Olympic team was highly controversial. Her omission from the All-Star Game made more sense as the veteran is recovering from a knee sprain and has only appeared in five games this season.
Voting was open from June 15 to June 27 at 11:59 p.m. ET. On two Sundays, votes counted twice. Fans and media were able to vote for four backcourt and six frontcourt players. Fan vote accounted for 50 percent of the total vote, and media and WNBA players accounted for 25 percent of the vote each. The top 36 players (nine backcourt and 15 frontcourt) were then put in a pool that WNBA coaches voted for. Coaches could not vote for their own players. Starters for both teams will be determined by their respective head coaches.
The WNBA finding a way to add an All-Star Game in an Olympic year is a wonderful add for both players and fans. Every four years since 2000, the league’s best players weren’t awarded an All-Star nod for their performance. Now they’ll be able to add this accolade to their resume