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Schimmel’s 29 leads East over West 125-124 in OT

Skylar Diggins, Tamika Catchings

West's Skylar Diggins (4), of the Tulsa Shock, pushes the ball up court as East's Tamika Catchings (24), of the Indiana Fever, looks on during the first half the WNBA All-Star basketball game, Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

By
From page B6 | July 20, 2014 |

PHOENIX — Showtime Shoni lived up to her nickname in her first WNBA All-Star Game. And a wild game it was.

Schimmel scored an All-Star game record 29 points and had eight assists as the East pulled out a 125-124 victory Saturday over the West in the first WNBA All-Star Game to go into overtime. The Atlanta rookie was named the game’s MVP.

Tamika Catchings, an All-Star for a record-tying ninth time, made a layup with 6.9 seconds to go to give the East the lead and then knocked the ball away from Skylar Diggins on the defensive end to seal the victory. Diggins finished with 27 points and seven assists, leading a furious West rally to force overtime.

“They call her Showtime Schimmel,” Catchings said. “She came out and put on a great show.”

Brittney Griner, of the host Mercury, scored 17 points, including a first-half dunk, for the West.

Schimmel, who grew up on a reservation in the tiny northeast Oregon town of Mission and has a vast Native American following, broke the All-Star Game record of 23 points set last year by Candace Parker.

There were many other big scorers in front of a loud Phoenix crowd.

Maya Moore scored 24 for the West. Tina Charles had 19, Chiney Ogwumike 15, Catchings 14 and Angel McCoughtry 13 for the East.

Diggins, the WNBA’s No. 2 scorer, had six of the West’s last eight points in regulation, capped by a layup off a turnover with 26.3 seconds to go to tie it at 112-112.

Griner opened the overtime with a layup and Moore’s 3-pointer put the West up 124-117 with 1:59 to play.

But Katie Douglas sank a 3 to cut it to 124-120 with 1:15 to go, then Schimmel made her seventh 3 of the afternoon with 41.9 seconds left to cut the West lead to 124-123.

Catchings’ driving layup and Diggins’ turnover finally put an end to the frenetic contest.

Schimmel, who was just the third reserve to start an All-Star game, according to STATS, put on quite the show. Besides hitting 3-pointers she also hit a circus over the head shot over Griner.

“The hoop kept getting bigger and bigger,” Schimmel said. “I wanted to lay it out on the line and that’s what I did.”

Lisa Leslie, who was in attendance at the game, was the first to dunk in a WNBA All-Star Game nine years ago. Sylvia Fowles did it in the 2009 contest. But nobody in league history has dunked as often as Griner.

The 6-foot-8 center has four dunks in her two WNBA seasons, two this season, the most recent Tuesday night against Washington.

She got another one with 2:15 left in the first half, taking a pass and launching from the baseline to go above the rim.

Griner had already put on quite a show.

With an array of shots around the hoop, capped by a driving bank shot, she made her first four shots and had eight points in the game’s opening five minutes.

Then, in the opening minutes of the second half, Griner sank a 3-pointer, keeping her hand in a shooting position as she ran back down the court to the cheers of the loud pro-Mercury crowd.

Griner was voted a starter as a rookie last season but didn’t play due to injury.

In the first half, the Ogwumike sisters were on the court together, just not as teammates like they were at Stanford. Chiney plays for Connecticut. Nneka plays for Los Angeles.

Notes: WNBA President Laurel Richie said before the game that six teams finished in the black last season, up from four the previous year. She also said the Golden State Warriors have strong interest in an expansion team. … The Ogwumike sisters are the first siblings to play in the same WNBA All-Star Game. … Schimmel leads the WNBA in jerseys sold. … The East didn’t shoot a free throw until there was 5:16 left in regulation.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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