Aces forward A’ja Wilson speculated earlier this month about the prospects of becoming an All-Star captain.
“That’s a huge deal in just the fans side and everyone behind it,” said Wilson, who was second in voting after the first returns were announced July 2. “That would mean a lot for me of hypothetically thinking I finish second and (becoming) a captain.”
Hypothetical, no longer.
Wilson will indeed captain one of the two All-Star teams, the WNBA announced Thursday, after finishing second in voting to Washington Mystics forward Elena Della Donne. Fans elect the captains, while the rest of the starters were determined by a mixture of fan, media and player voting.
The WNBA’s 16th All-Star game is at Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 27, and Wilson’s teammates, Liz Cambage and Kayla McBride, also were announced as starters — thereby validating the Aces, their 10-5 record and their presence across the WNBA.
“At the end of the day, that just shows so much support,” Wilson added. “I feel it, I feel it every game, I feel it every day, so that’s something special to know that people are out there voting for me.”
And her teammates.
Wilson also was an All-Star in her first year last season and was unanimously voted the league’s top rookie after averaging 20.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. She’s averaging 16.4 points — on an improved shooting percentage of 49.7 — along with 7.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
Cambage, now a three-time All-Star, is averaging 15.6 points on 51.3 percent shooting to go with 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. She averaged 23 points and 9.7 rebounds per game last year for the Dallas Wings, from who she was acquired by the Aces in a May trade that changed the landscape of the league.
McBride also is a three-time All-Star as one of the top two guards in the league. She earned All-Star honors for Las Vegas last year after averaging 18.2 points per game, and is averaging 15.3 points this year on a career-high 48.2 percent shooting, including 48.2 percent from 3-point distance.
Aces coach Bill Laimbeer is also tabbed as one of the game’s two coaches, opposite Mystics coach Mike Thibault. Laimbeer, ironically, will coach Delle Donne’s team and Thibault will coach Wilson’s team.
Las Vegas is in the midst of eight-day, three-game road trip and will play Washington on Saturday.
“We know Vegas has our back,” McBride said earlier this month. “I think we have a lot of players here that our playing really good basketball right now (and) we are as a team. When it comes down to it, whatever happens, happens. We know what our ultimate goal is, and that’s to win a championship and make a playoff push for Vegas.”