SEATTLE — In her role as team captain/general manager Breanna Stewart orchestrated a trade at the end of the WNBA All-Star selection show that corrected a mistake by the league and is sure to be popular among Storm fans.
After filling out their respective 11-player rosters for the July 10 All-Star Game, Stewart proposed swapping co-captains Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles, who were originally chosen and assigned teams by the league last week.
Las Vegas forward A’ja Wilson agreed to the deal, which reunites Stewart with Bird and sent Fowles to Team Wilson.
“Spicy,” Stewart said on the ESPN show, which was taped Thursday and broadcast Saturday afternoon. “Mic drop.”
Wilson added: “OK, we can do legend for legend. I’m good with that. … We’re back on track.”
There was plenty of good-natured trash talking and playful verbal jabs between Stewart and Wilson as they put together their teams.
“The mindset is to win,” said Wilson, who is making her fourth WNBA All-Star appearance and served as team captain in 2019 when her team won 129-126. “I have some, not some, probably the best players and at the end of the day we’re going to get a dub.
“This isn’t my first rodeo. I’m not new to this, I’m true to this. So Stewie, just be on the lookout. It’s about to get real.”
Stewart, who is also making her fourth WNBA All-Star appearance, countered: “This might be my first time as team captain, but I’ve been scouting. I’m ready. … I’m ready to go.”
In the first round, Wilson had the first pick by virtue of tallying the most All-Star votes, and the captains alternated picking the All-Star starters who were selected by the fans, media and players.
Wilson picked (in order) Candace Parker, Kelsey Plum and Nneka Ogwumike while Stewart chose Jackie Young, Jonquel Jones and Sabrina Ionescu.
With a clipboard in hand, Stewart began the second round selecting Storm teammate Jewell Loyd before taking Kahleah Copper, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Alyssa Thomas, Arike Ogunbowale and Emma Meeseman.
Wilson’s second-round picks included: Rhyne Howard, Dearica Hamby, Courtney Vandersloot, Ariel Atkins, Brionna Jones and Natasha Howard.
The trading option is a new twist to the WNBA All-Star selection show, and the captains agreed to a deal that sent Ogwumike to Team Stewart while Team Wilson added Ionescu.
Stewart’s draft strategy was all about alliances. Her All-Star squad includes two Storm teammates, notably Bird, who recently announced her retirement at the end of the season and is making her record 13th and final All-Star appearance.
Stewart, who signed with Puma in 2021 and is expected to debut her signature shoe Stewie 1 at the All-Star Game, also selected Puma endorsers Young and Diggins-Smith.
“What concerns me on A’ja’s roster is, actually nothing,” Stewart said smiling when asked about Team Wilson.
Chicago Sky coach James Wade will lead Team Stewart while Las Vegas’ Becky Hammon will command Team Wilson.
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