Minnesota’s Maya Moore Shines in the WNBA All-Star Game

Maya Moore showing happiness post Team Parker’s win against Team Delle Donne. (Anthony Souffle/ Star Tribune)

Moore drained a three-point shot with 1:26 left in the game to give Team Parker a six-point lead against Team Delle Donne in front of a 15,922 crowd of fans at the Target Center.

The format for this year’s contest was different from years past. Usually, it would be the standard conference versus conference play but this year the league did away with that. The teams were split up by captains who would draft the respective players that would be on their teams. The top two leading vote-getters by the fans, media, players, and coaches would be named the captains.

Moore was initially named one of the captains along with Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics. Moore declined the captain duties and Los Angeles Sparks’ star Candace Parker, who came in third, took over those duties for her.

In the team selections, Parker chose her teammates Nneka Ogwumike and Chelsea Gray, Maya Moore (MIN), Tina Charles (NYL), Jewell Loyd (SEA), Allie Quigley (CHI), Angel McCoughtry (ATL), Chiney Ogwumike (CON), Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Dallas Wings. Delle Donne chose Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx, Sue Bird (SEA), Breanna Stewart (SEA), Kristi Toliver (WAS), DeWanna Bonner (PHX), Brittney Griner (PHX), Diana Taurasi (PHX), Kayla McBride and A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces.

Nneka Ogwumike had been dealing with an illness leading into the All-Star Break and ended up being replaced with Minnesota’s Rebekkah Brunson.

The game started off with Team Parker winning the tip and Los Angeles Sparks point guard, Chelsea Gray almost headed in the direction of the wrong basket which had spectators laughing at the mishap. For a few plays in the quarter, Liz Cambage assumed point guard duties for Team Parker as they built a small lead on Team Delle Donne.

Team Delle Donne ended up taking control of the game for the rest of the quarter. Regular season MVP candidate, Breanna Stewart hit a jumper to give them a four-point lead to end the quarter at 31-27.

Rookie sensation A’ja Wilson got some production going early in the second quarter to extend Team Delle Donne’s lead to 41-29. Moore cut into the 12 point deficit as she went on an 8-0 run and assisted on an Angel McCoughtry shot. Team Delle Donne’s lead was cut to four going into halftime, 54-50.

Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky notched a back to back three-point contest win at halftime edging out the Aces’ Kayla McBride in the final round.

McBride shot a money ball to beat the buzzer that tied Quigley’s 18 points to force a tiebreaker round. Quigley won with 29 points to pass McBride’s 21 points to receive the $10,000 prize money for the Paul Quigley Memorial Scholarship.

Quigley set a record of 29 that tops the leaderboard for both of the NBA and WNBA contests. Devin Booker had a record of 28 in the 2018 NBA All-Star contest while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both had a record of 27 in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Quigley and McBride had 21 and 22 points each to beat Washington’s Kristi Toliver (20), Seattle’s Jewell Loyd (19), Atlanta’s Renee Montgomery (18), and Indiana’s Kelsey Mitchell (15).

Early in the third quarter, Skylar Diggins-Smith spearheaded a run for Team Parker in assisting on a Candace Parker dime to bring them within two points, 58-56.

Coming into the game, Cambage wanted to hit her three-point shots and one of her made three-pointers helped to build Team Parker’s 8-0 run. Moore’s jumper gave them a six-point lead, 70-64.

Team Parker kept making transition plays and held an 84-78 lead at the end of the quarter.

Chiney Ogwumike extended the lead to 14 to start the fourth on a Diggins-Smith assisted shot. Kristi Toliver reeled Team Delle Donne back into the game on a three-point tear to help trim the lead to five then assisted on an Elena Delle Donne triple to get them within two at 108-106. Toliver’s last triple, in response to Moore’s shot, gave her game-high 23 points.

Dallas Wings center Liz Cambage sealed the win with a dunk in the closing seconds of the game. Cambage became the sixth player to dunk in the WNBA All-Star Game joining Lisa Leslie, Michelle Snow, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, and Jonquel Jones.

Maya Moore passed the likes of Tamika Catchings and Lisa Leslie to become the All-Time Scoring Leader in points (119) in the All-Star games in Saturday’s contest.

Moore took home the honors of WNBA All-Star MVP for the third year in a row and she is the second player to be named All-Star MVP three times.

Minnesota won the night with their star winning MVP and for hosting a fun-filled weekend for WNBA fans.

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