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Aces’ Dearica Hamby embraces All-Star nod as bench player

Updated July 1, 2021 - 6:27 pm

Dearica Hamby can start in the WNBA. That much is obvious after two consecutive Sixth Woman of the Year awards as the Aces’ ultimate weapon.

But Hamby doesn’t need to start to be recognized as one of the best basketball players in the world.

As an All-Star.

“I think it’s even more special that I’m coming off the bench and doing that,” the 27-year-old said Wednesday after posting 13 points and seven rebounds in a 99-75 road victory over the Los Angeles Sparks.

“For myself, coming every season, every game, playing my game and staying true to who I am — it was rewarded.”

Hamby added another accolade this week, earning All-Star honors for the first time in her seven-year career. She’s in the midst of another stellar season as a versatile reserve, averaging 11.3 points on 52 percent shooting to go with 6.1 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game.

Hamby long had been one of the league’s best players. A 6-foot-3-inch jack-of-all-trades who can check bigs, wings and guards, feasts in transition and can score near the basket or from the perimeter. But even she was a little surprised to learn she was an All-Star, explaining “there was some chatter going around a few days prior that it was a possibility.”

She will team with teammate and fellow All-Star Liz Cambage on July 14 against the American Olympic team. Aces coach Bill Laimbeer said both players are deserving of All-Star selection.

“No question about it,” he said. “For Liz, it was expected, and I think Hamby is very appreciative of it.”

Hamby indeed referred to her selection as an “honor,” but also said teammates Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum deserved All-Star honors, too. Young is one of the league’s best perimeter defenders and is averaging a career-high 12.9 points, and Plum is in the midst of a career year, averaging 13.1 points and 3.6 assists as the first guard off the bench.

“Anybody on this team could have been named an All-Star,” Hamby said. “This team, we sacrifice. Each player is sacrificing. … Everybody is still happy for one another, and our ultimate goal is to win a championship.”

Wilson earns honor

Aces forward A’ja Wilson was named the Western Conference Player of the Month on Thursday. The reigning league MVP averaged 20.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists while helping Las Vegas to a 7-2 record in June.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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