MINNEAPOLIS — To borrow the intro from “Whose Line is it Anyway?”, the points don’t matter in an All-Star Game, but its symbolism mattered to the 15,922 who made their way to Target Center to watch the WNBA’s annual showcase of stars Saturday afternoon.
While Team Parker edged out Team Delle Donne for a 119-112 win, you may only hear the score again if it’s the answer to a trivia question at a Twin Cities bar. Other possible answers would highlight a group of athletes who never run short of inspiration. No matter the focus, encouraging signs were found all over Target Center, as Arielle Chambers and I discovered throughout the weekend.
Maya Moore, one of the architects of the Minnesota Lynx dynasty, captured her third straight All-Star MVP award with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. She became the first player to claim three straight awards and tied Lisa Leslie’s mark for the most MVP distinctions at an All-Star Game. Moore’s All-Star performance wasn’t the most efficient, but her all-around talent was a welcome sight for the hometown crowd. Without Moore, the Lynx likely don’t have four titles in their trophy case. An All-Star Game in the North Star state would be a tougher sell, and there certainly wouldn’t be a young fan who mimicked Moore’s iconic “Wings” pose.
Allie Quigley earned her second straight title in the Three-Point Contest, beating Kayla McBride in a tiebreaker round. Quigley came up clutch in the tiebreaker session with 29 points, breaking her own record of 27 under the current scoring system. Early in her career, the Chicago Sky veteran and Illinois native looked like she would be nothing more than a journeyman. Now with two Sixth Woman of the Year awards and two All-Star selections, Quigley is a personification of persistence.
Whimsical moments also mattered, like Breanna Stewart’s tips for turning pro with no game experience, or Brittney Griner’s brief flirtation with a boxing career. Liz Cambage proposed a switch of positions with Skylar Diggins-Smith. Chelsea Gray’s “crooked fingers” impression of Candace Parker is sure to draw laughs in Los Angeles, and Jewell Loyd’s vacation plans after the season might get some headlines in Seattle.
Naturally, the loudest cheers at Target Center were directed at the quartet of Lynx participants, but all 22 players cheered about how much women’s basketball matters in the state of Minnesota.
For more video coverage recapping the 2018 All-Star Game, visit the High Post Hoops YouTube page.