CHICAGO — Just like that, the halfway point of the 2022 WNBA season is here.
For the first time in league history, Chicago is hosting the WNBA All-Star Game this Sunday. The WNBA switched to a team-captain format for the All-Star Game in 2018. This year, the two sides will be led by former UConn women’s basketball star and Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart and Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson, who received the most fan votes.
Three Connecticut Sun players and two former UConn legends in total will be taking part in this weekend’s festivities. Here’s everything you need to know to follow along with the action:
Joining Stewart and Wilson as co-captains are former UConn star and Storm guard Sue Bird and Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, both in their final seasons of professional basketball.
Stewart and Bird were originally on opposite sides, but Stewart asked for a trade during the draft of team rosters. As such, the Huskies duo of Stewart and Bird will co-captain Team Stewart, coached by Chicago Sky coach James Wade, while Wilson and Fowles will lead Team Wilson, coached by Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon.
Three Connecticut Sun players were named All-Stars. Jonquel Jones is making her fourth appearance as an All-Star after being named the league’s MVP last season. Averaging 14.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game this year, Jones will be a starter for Team Stewart after being selected fourth overall in the draft.
Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones were both selected as All-Star reserves by league coaches.
Thomas, who sat out the majority of last season with an Achilles tear, is making her third All-Star appearance and her first since 2019. She’s averaging 13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game this season.
Her fellow former Maryland star Brionna Jones is making her second consecutive All-Star appearance. A front-runner for sixth woman of the year, she’s averaging 13.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game this season.
Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner, who has been wrongfully detained in Russia since Feb. 17, was named an honorary starter.
Here are the full rosters:
Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm *
Sue Bird, Seattle Storm *
Jackie Young, Las Vegas Aces *
Jonquel Jones, Connecticut Sun *
Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks *
Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm
Kahleah Copper, Chicago Sky
Skylar Diggins-Smith, Phoenix Mercury
Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Sun
Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas Wings
Emma Meesseman, Chicago Sky
A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces *
Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx *
Candace Parker, Chicago Sky *
Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Aces *
Sabrina Ionescu, New York Liberty *
Rhyne Howard, Atlanta Dream
Dearica Hamby, Las Vegas Aces
Courtney Vandersloot, Chicago Sky
Ariel Atkins, Washington Mystics
Brionna Jones, Connecticut Sun
Natasha Howard, New York Liberty
* = starter
The WNBA All-Star Game, held at Wintrust Arena, will air on ABC at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
The Mtn Dew 3-point contest and skills competition will be held on Saturday and broadcast on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET.
The league announced Thursday that Allie Quigley (Sky), Kelsey Plum (Aces), Arike Ogunbowale (Wings), Jewell Loyd (Storm), Rhyne Howard (Dream) and Ariel Atkins (Mystics) will be competing in the 3-point contest.
Though the WNBA has yet to announce the full list of players competing in the skills challenge, former UConn forward/center Azurá Stevens shared on social media that she will be participating. She’s averaging 10.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for the Sky this season.
If you decided to come to Chicago for the weekend, there are plenty of other fun events to take part in.
The inaugural WNBA Live will be held at McCormick Place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. The outdoor fan festival will bring together basketball, music and culture. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required either online at https://www.wnba.com/wnbalive/register/ or on-site.
The WNBA Live event on Saturday will be highlighted by a discussion on Title IX moderated by former WNBA star Taj McWilliams-Franklin featuring former UConn star and Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier and the New York Liberty’s Betnijah Laney at noon CT. There will be a viewing party of the Saturday’s All-Star events followed by a meet and greet with the Sky’s Stevens and Kahleah Copper, as well as a youth basketball clinic.
If you weren’t able to get a ticket to the All-Star Game, there will also be a viewing party at the WNBA Live site, hosted by DJ Megan Taylor. There will be a postgame celebration with players and music as well.