Ariel Atkins receives second straight WNBA All-Star selection, named reserve

Ariel Atkins receives second straight WNBA All-Star selection originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

For the second straight season, Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins will represent the team at the WNBA All-Star Game when the league’s top players gather in Chicago in two weeks. Atkins was selected as a reserve player by the league’s coaches and is the lone Mystic named to the initial All-Star rosters.

She becomes just the eighth Mystic to receive multiple All-Star nods as a member of the organization.

Averaging 15.0 ppg as the second-leading scorer on the Mystics, Atkins only trails two-time MVP Elena Delle Donne on the team’s offense. The fifth-year player is shooting 41.4% from the field and 37.1% from behind the arc, slightly above her career averages.

This recognition marks another point in Atkins’ ascension in the league where she has made continuous improvement year after year.

Most of Atkins’ initial presence in Washington was on the defensive side of the court. There, she has been named to an All-Defensive team all four years of her career. It earned her a spot in the starting rotation as a rookie back in 2018 and over time her offensive production has increased every season.

Coaches across the league laud Atkins for her defensive ability and how effectively she is able to fit into a team’s system. That includes with the Mystics and on Team USA where she won an Olympic gold medal.

Last year Atkins was an All-Star for the first time as a member of Team USA who competed in the 2020 Toyko Olympics. The 2021 WNBA All-Star Game was an exhibition between Team USA and the non-national team-selected WNBA stars.

Notably absent from the All-Stars list is Delle Donne who is playing her first complete season since coming back from multiple back procedures. It is the first time – where she completed a full season – that the six-time All-Star was not named to a team since joining the league in 2013. In 2016 the WNBA did not hold an All-Star Game due to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The co-captains, A’ja Wilson and Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart and Sylvia Fowles will select their respective All-Star rosters during ESPN’s broadcast of the WNBA All-Star Team Selection Special on Saturday. The two squads will play Sunday, July 10 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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