The Storm will send three players to the WNBA All-Star Game, including Sue Bird who will make her league-record 11th appearance.
Third-year forward Breanna Stewart, the WNBA’s leading scorer, will play in her second All-Star Game while fourth-year guard Jewell Loyd is one of two players who will make her first appearance.
The three Storm players will be joined by head coach Dan Hughes who will lead one of the teams in the 15th WNBA All-Star Game that will take place July 28 at Target Center in Minneapolis. ABC will televise the game live at 12:30 p.m. PT.
Bird, the league’s oldest player at 37, headlines the list of 22 All-Stars who were announced Tuesday.
The former University of Connecticut star has appeared in 10 of the 11 All-Star Games played since she was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick by Seattle in 2002. Bird wasn’t an All-Star in 2013, when she missed the season due to knee surgery. She was voted a starter for eight All-Star Games, including last year when she dished out an All-Star record 11 assists.
There wasn’t an All-Star Game in 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012 or 2016 due to the league scheduling to accommodate either Summer Olympic Games or FIBA World Championships.
“Seventeen years ago, if you told me I’d be setting a new record with 11 All-Star appearances, I would have called you crazy,” Bird said in a statement released by the Storm. “It’s a testament to my teammates and coaches throughout the years, and an absolute honor given all of the greats who have played in this league.”
Bird is averaging a career-best 7.1 assists, which ranks second in the WNBA, and 9.7 points.
Meanwhile, Stewart is rolling towards possibly her first MVP award while leading the league with a 22.5 scoring average on a career-best 53.9 percent shooting. She’s also fifth in rebounding (8.1), tied for seventh in steals (1.5) and seventh in blocks (1.6).
And Loyd is averaging 15.5 points to go along with career-highs of 4.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
For the first time, WNBA All-Stars were selected without regard for conference affiliation.
Fans accounted for 40 percent of the vote, while current players, current head coaches and a media panel accounted for 20 percent each. Players were not allowed to vote for their teammates. Head coaches could not vote for players on their own team.
Minnesota’s Maya Moore (47,620) and Washington’s Elena Delle Donne (42,171) were the leading vote-getters among fans and slated to be captains. However, Moore told the league that she’ll play in the game, but will not serve as a captain whose primary duty includes drafting a team.
Moore was replaced by Los Angeles’ Candace Parker, who finished third in the fan voting with 38,575 ballots. Delle Donne will pick first among the remaining pool of 20 All-Stars and they’ll alternate selections to fill out 11-player teams.
Hughes will lead Team Delle Donne while Team Parker will be guided by Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello. Hughes and Brondello earned All-Star trips by virtue of their respective teams (Seattle is 16-6 and Phoenix 15-8) having the best records in the WNBA.
The All-Star teams will be revealed Thursday during ESPN2’s telecast of a game between Washington and Dallas (5 p.m. PT tip-off). And the All-Star starting lineups will be announced July 27 on ESPN2 (4 p.m. PT) during a live telecast of the WNBA All-Star Welcome Reception in Minnesota.