Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne and Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson led fan voting and will be the captains for the upcoming WNBA All-Star Game.
It’s the second year in a row that Delle Donne will be a captain and choose her team under the current format.
Wilson’s squad will be the hometown favorite, though, as the game will be held at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on July 27 (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET). Wilson also was an All-Star last season as a rookie.
The other top eight vote-getters who will make up the pool of starters also were announced Thursday, led by center Liz Cambage, Wilson’s Aces teammate. She was followed by Los Angeles Sparks guard Chelsea Gray, Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, Seattle Storm forward Natasha Howard, Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones, Seattle guard Jewell Loyd, Las Vegas guard Kayla McBride and New York Liberty guard Kia Nurse.
The All-Star coaches — Las Vegas’ Bill Laimbeer and Washington’s Mike Thibault — will be on the opposite sides of their two star players. Laimbeer, whose Aces are currently in first place at 10-5, will coach Team Delle Donne; Thibault, whose Mystics are in second at 9-5, will coach Team Wilson.
The coach with the best record was assigned to the players with the most votes. The Mystics and Aces have yet to finish an earthquake-suspended game from July 5, which Washington led by 15 at halftime.
Fans accounted for 50% of the vote to determine the starters, while current WNBA players and a media panel accounted for 25% each. Delle Donne finished with 32,460 fan votes, followed by Wilson with 26,475.
The WNBA’s head coaches will vote for the 12 reserves — three guards, five frontcourt players and four at either position — who will be announced Monday. Coaches cannot vote for their own players.
Delle Donne and Wilson then will draft their rosters, beginning with the starters and followed by the pool of reserves. Delle Donne will have the first selection with the starters, and Wilson will pick first with the reserves.
The date of the All-Star draft will be announced later.
Delle Donne, who is averaging 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds, is listed as day-to-day after suffering a nasal fracture in Sunday’s loss at Los Angeles. She didn’t play in Wednesday’s loss to Phoenix, but she should be able to play in the All-Star Game.
Wilson, averaging 16.4 points and 7.1 rebounds, has played every game this season for the Aces.
Among the starting pool, Delle Donne and Griner lead the way in experience, as this will be the sixth time both have been voted All-Stars. It’s the first All-Star selection for Howard and Nurse.