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Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese headline WNBA All-Star team against US Olympic squad

Last Updated 3 weeks by Amnon J. Jobi | Amnon Front Page

NEW YORK (AP) — Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese will team up on the WNBA All-Star team to play against the U.S. Olympic team led by A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart.

The pair of remarkable rookies were selected Tuesday by a combination of votes from the media, players and fans as well as the league’s 12 coaches to play in the game in Phoenix on July 20. It’s the 20th All-Star Game in the league’s history.

Clark was the leading vote-getter from the fans, receiving 700,735 with her Indiana teammate Aliyah Boston finishing second 72,000 votes behind. Reese was fifth with 381,518 votes. Wilson and Stewart were third and fourth. Wilson garnered 607,300 votes and Stewart had 424,135.

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Clark and Reese have been a boon for the WNBA in ratings, merchandise sales and attendance. They are also playing well on the court with Clark third in assists with 6.9 and Reese leading the WNBA in rebounds at 11.4. It’s only the eighth time that two rookies have been on the team. The last was Shoni Schimmel and Chiney Ogwumike in 2014.

Joining the rookies on the WNBA team were DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones of Connecticut, Allisha Gray of Atlanta, Dearica Hamby of Los Angeles, Jonquel Jones of New York, Kayla McBride of Minnesota, Kelsey Mitchell of Indiana, Nneka Ogwumike of Seattle and Arike Ogunbowale of Dallas.

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Ogunbowale was the MVP of the 2021 All-Star game which featured the same format of the U.S. team playing a league All-Star team. The WNBA team won that game.

The U.S. team, which will be going for an eighth consecutive Olympic gold medal in Paris later this month, also features Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi. The pair of Phoenix players will get a chance to play in front of their home crowd in the exhibition game. Taurasi will be vying for a record sixth Olympic gold medal.

Three of Wilson’s Las Vegas teammates — Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young — are on the U.S. team. Gray was on the Tokyo Olympic squad while Plum and Young both helped the Americans win the inaugural 3-on-3 gold medal.

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Other returners from the Tokyo Games include Napheesa Collier and Jewell Loyd. Several first-time Olympians will join the team with Alyssa Thomas, Sabrina Ionescu and Kahleah Copper. All three played on the American team that won the World Cup in Australia in 2022.

Every player chosen for either the U.S. team or the WNBA squad is considered an All-Star making this Taurasi’s 11th time in the game. She’s now alone in second behind Sue Bird for most all time. Bird was a 13-time All-Star.

The league will have a 3-point challenge and skill contest the night before the All-Star game.