Team USA women’s basketball squaring off against the WNBA’s best players is going to give fans the most competitive All-Star main event in years. Both sides have reason to play their hardest with the Olympic roster debuting as a group of 12 en route to what they hope will be a seventh straight gold medal, and the WNBA All-Stars, filled with snubs, rivals from other countries, and 2024 Olympic hopefuls, looking to take them down.
The game tips at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN Wednesday, July 14.
Here are a few bold predictions of how the game will go.
1. The WNBA All-Stars win
Yeah, I’m going to go there and say Team USA goes down, except I don’t actually think it’s as big of an upset as you think. The WNBA All-Stars have last season’s scoring leader Arike Ogunbowale, this season’s MVP frontrunner Jonquel Jones, the 2016 Olympic Games’ leading scorer Liz Cambage, basketball legend Candace Parker, and more. This team would win, minimally, a silver medal in Tokyo.
I’m rolling with them on Wednesday.
2. Jonquel Jones wins All-Star MVP AND the 3-point contest
I think she’s the best women’s basketball player on the planet right now, and she’s proved that not just by dominating in the WNBA — she’s done it at EuroBasket, too. Though Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson and more will try, you can’t defend a 6-foot-6 point-center. You just can’t.
Did I mention that she’s shooting 43.7 percent (31-of-71) from 3-point range? Yeah, she’ll take home the three-point contest crown as well.
3. Arike Ogunbowale hits a step-back buzzer-beater
It might not happen to win the game, but it’s Ogunbowale on a huge stage. This is happening. She’s already done it once this WNBA season, and I don’t see what’s going to stop her from hitting the brakes, throwing her defender sideways, and launching into her signature dagger shot.
4. Brittney Griner dunks
We’ve seen her do it in the regular season, so there should be no surprise when she does it again in Las Vegas. BG is playing some of her best basketball right now and we should get a throwdown for the fans.
5. We question if Betnijah Laney’s a frontrunner to make the 2024 Olympic team
Laney’s breakout bubble campaign with the Dream in 2020 was one thing, but now the Most Improved Player of the Year is an established star. She’s one of the best scoring guards in the world, averaging 19.0 points on 48.5 percent shooting with 5.0 assists.
This game could be her first step in competing for a roster spot in 2024.
6. Chelsea Gray throws a behind-the-back dime
THIS IS WHAT SHE DOES!
Chelsea Gray going behind the back on the dish pic.twitter.com/Db30vvkMLU
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) February 15, 2020
7. Diana Taurasi gets a technical foul
OK, maybe this won’t actually happen. But please, Diana. Please, refs. Give us a See You In The Lobby-level gif.
“I’ll see you in the lobby later”
Diana Taurasi to a ref 🤣💀 pic.twitter.com/D0dEP9VYV6
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) August 22, 2020
8. We get an iconic meme from Courtney Williams
Actually, check that. I think it already happened.
“Who can have green hair and look this good?? Not a lot of people can do that.”
— Spencer Nusbaum (@spencernusbaum_) July 13, 2021
9. A’ja Wilson and Napheesa Collier spill Olympic tea on their next podcast
The first-time Olympians co-host a podcast called Tea With A & Phee, so they’re ready for this. Between the Olympic snubs and all the best players in the world sharing the floor together, we’re headed for a content overload. Our guides are gonna hand it all to us soon enough.
10. We come away thinking this was the best All-Star Game in years
An exhibition game was held between Team USA and WNBA All-Stars in 2004, but the format has been dropped ever since. I think we’ll be asking ourselves why after this event. This format is the perfect blend of talent, entertainment, and high-stakes hoops an All-Star game should bring.
See you in 2024.