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3 Aces team up against teammate in Sunday’s All-Star game

A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Dearica Hamby are circling the wagons. Teammates for this year’s All-Star game, the trio is presenting a unified front against any outsiders ahead of Sunday’s event.

Unfortunately for Aces teammate Jackie Young, she is now included in the latter camp for the upcoming All-Star game.

“She’s not our teammate this weekend, so we don’t know who you speak of, this Jackie,” Wilson said.

Wilson, of course, is joking. Making the fourth All-Star appearance of her career, Wilson is one of the team captains, along with Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart, for Sunday’s game at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Wilson picked Hamby and Plum during the All-Star draft and will be joined by Aces coach Becky Hammon on the sideline.

However, after choosing Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker No. 1 overall, Wilson missed out on the chance to draft Young, who was Team Stewart’s first pick.

“She’s the opposition,” Wilson said.

Hamby, who revealed she will be mic’d up for Sunday’s All-Star game, said she wants to talk trash with her Aces teammate, but all three of the Aces on Team Wilson admitted it’s hard to get Young to respond. For her part, Young is just happy to see her hard work from the offseason rewarded with an All-Star appearance.

“I just really tried to come out and be a better player, just be more aggressive and assertive to start the season,” Young said.

Jokes aside, the four Aces All-Stars are all looking forward to Sunday. Playing in one final All-Star game with WNBA legends Sylvia Fowles and Sue Bird, who will both retire at the end of the season, is an exciting prospect. Additionally, Wilson picked Parker No. 1 overall because she wanted to play with the Sky forward in Parker’s hometown of Chicago.

The Aces also used the platform of All-Star weekend on Saturday to address ongoing issues affecting the league. Wilson and Plum both mentioned how inaccessible simply watching the WNBA can be at times, and Wilson, the 2020 MVP, also pointed out how difficult it can be for fans to acquire merchandise.

“The product is great and when we get people to watch the game, they love it,” Plum said. “But the hardest part is getting people there.”

Young and Plum compete

While the Aces will be well-represented in the actual game Sunday, the team also had participants in Saturday’s events: the skills challenge and the 3-point contest.

Both Young and Plum competed in the skills challenge, which paired WNBA players with an Elite Youth Basketball League talent, and consisted of dribbling, passing and shooting sections.

Young and her partner had a sizable lead in a matchup against 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones, but the Connecticut Sun center nailed a heave with her foot on the logo to knock out Young in the first round.

Plum and her teammate defeated Atlanta Dream rookie Rhyne Howard’s duo, but lost against eventual champion Sabrina Ionescu after Plum missed all three of her passing attempts.

Plum then competed in the six-player field for the 3-point contest, but a slow start through her first two racks proved too much to overcome. She was eliminated in the first round with 14 points.

She was the first player to make the 3-point shot though, which was farther behind the 3-point line than the normal racks. Sky guard Allie Quigley won the event for a record fourth time.

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.

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