The WNBA's season takes place in the summer, which means when the Olympics roll around, they have to put things on hold while players head overseas to represent their countries. As a result, the All-Star Game usually doesn't happen during the Olympic years. This time, however, the league made an exception and introduced a new format in the process.
On Wednesday night, Team WNBA took down Team USA in the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game, 93-85. Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale led the way for Team WNBA, putting up a game-high 26 points en route to MVP honors. Not too bad for a first-time All-Star who was also live-tweeting during the game.
Ogunbowale scored nine of her 26 points in the fourth quarter, including a clutch four-point play with 5:37 remaining to extend Team WNBA's lead to six points.
The Connecticut Sun's Jonquel Jones also played a terrific game for Team WNBA, finishing with 18 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three steals in a typical all-around performance. Meanwhile, Courtney Williams of the Atlanta Dream chipped in 15 points off the bench.
As for Team USA, they were led by 17 points from the Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner and 15 points from the Seattle Storm's Breanna Stewart. They couldn't find enough offense down the stretch, however, and were limited to just 19 points in the decisive fourth quarter.
To tie into the Olympic theme, the league pitted Team USA against the WNBA All-Stars in this year's game. Team USA, as you can guess, was the USA Basketball women's national team, which will be heading to Tokyo later this month in search of a historic seventh straight gold medal. Team WNBA was a collection of 12 stars from around the league selected by a combination of voting from fans, media and coaches.
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While it's hard to imagine this format sticking around, at least in non-Olympic years, it was certainly a success. The level of competition was much higher than a typical All-Star Game, and Team WNBA seemed to have something to prove.
In addition to the game, the league also brought back the 3-Point Contest this year. Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley made easy work of the rest of the field to take home her third trophy to prove once again why she's one of the best shooters in the league. She made nine of her last 10 shots in the championship round to seal the deal.