2011 WNBA All-Star Game: Swin Cash Wins MVP As West Falls 118-113

Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird and small forward Swin Cash were announced as 2011 WNBA All-Star starters by the WNBA. Gonzaga Bulldogs star and Chicago Sky rookie Courtney Vandersloot has also been selected by WNBA coaches as an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve. The game will be played on July 23 at 12:30 p.m. PST on ABC and the Western Conference team will be coached by Storm coach Brian Agler. For the complete list of the 2011 WNBA All-Star starters and reserves as well as complete coverage of the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game, visit SB Nation's women's basketball site Swish Appeal.

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2011 WNBA All-Star Game Final Score: Swin Cash Named MVP As West Falls 118-113

Apparently someone forgot to send Seattle Storm forward Swin Cash the memo that All-Star games are about fun and not necessarily about winning.

True to form, Cash out-hustled and out-worked just about everyone during her nearly 21 minutes on the court in San Antonio to record game-highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds and making the same type of energy plays we see at KeyArena.

Cash was rewarded for her efforts with her second WNBA All-Star MVP award despite the Western Conference losing 117-113 today in San Antonio in front of 12,540 fans.

But the game was pleasantly competitive, with Storm coach Brian Agler drawing up a play in the final 20 seconds to set up a game-tying 3-point shot that could have sent the game into overtime. After the East initially fouled after a sideline inbounds, San Antonio Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon was trapped on the second attempt and turned the ball over on a travel.

Yet those final moments of defense were something of a rarity in today's game.

As expected, there wasn't much focus on defense as six players on each team scored in double figures, with New York Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter leading the Eastern Conference with 17 points and seven assists.

Storm point guard Sue Bird finished with two points and four assists, while Gonzaga alum Courtney Vandersloot finished with eight points and two assists.

Cash is the second player in WNBA history to win two All-Star MVPs (2009 and 2011), with women's sports legend Lisa Leslie one ahead of her with three (1999, 2001, 2002). She is the first in WNBA All-Star game history to win the MVP on the losing team, to which Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings said afterward, "I’ve never really heard of that."

For more on the 2011 WNBA All-Star game and the WNBA, visit SB Nation's women's basketball site Swish Appeal.

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2011 WNBA All-Star Reserves: Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot Selected As Eastern Conference Reserve

The 2011 WNBA All-Star reserves were announced during the Seattle Storm's 78-69 loss to the Chicago Sky today, which was fitting as Sky rookie point guard Courtney Vandersloot was named as an All-Star reserve for the Eastern Conference.

The WNBA's 12 coaches selected the WNBA's reserves and were instructed to select one center, two guards, two forwards, and one player independent of position. Vandersloot could easily have been the "wild card" selection and that's what might make her selection surprising to some, particularly as a rookie.

Vandersloot's statistics don't necessarily match up to some of the other players in her conference, particularly Indiana Fever center Jessica Davenport or New York Liberty forward Plenette Pierson, who fans could perhaps legitimately be considered "snubs". However, as Gonzaga Bulldogs fans already know, what Vandersloot brings to the floor goes beyond the numbers she records.

Although she has struggled with the strength and speed of the WNBA to some extent, she has still shown the poise to step into the starting lineup of a relatively young playoff team for the young Sky franchise. With veteran Sky point guard Dominique Canty out after knee surgery, Vandersloot has had to shoulder even more of the load than expected than when drafted third overall in the 2011 WNBA Draft out of Gonzaga.

Vandersloot is joined by Sky teammates Epiphanny Prince and center Sylvia Fowles, both of whom had big games against the Storm tonight, as Eastern Conference reserves. Vandersloot is also one of three rookies to make the 2011 All-Star team, with Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore being selected as a starter and San Antonio Silver Stars forward Danielle Adams being named as a reserve tonight.

But while Moore has garnered as much spotlight as any WNBA rookie ever has in the WNBA and Adams is generally considered the front-runner as 2011 WNBA Rookie of the Year, Vandersloot has quietly put together a fantasy year of her own in taking tiny Gonzaga to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, leaving college with a claim as one of the best NCAA point guards ever, getting drafted third, and then becoming an All-Star.

It's a pretty remarkable run for the 5-foot-8 Kent native when considering that few people even considered Vandersloot a first round draft pick when she last visited Seattle for a Christmas tournament in December.

For more on the 2011 WNBA All-Star reserves and starters, visit SB Nation's women's basketball site Swish Appeal.

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