Seattle Storm stars Sue Bird and Swin Cash are in San Antonio this weekend for the 2011 WNBA All-Star game this afternoon along with coach Brian Agler.
All-Star games have become routine for Bird and Cash, who are having something of a reunion with a game-high six UConn alums between the Eastern and Western Conference rosters. Former teammates Bird and Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi sat down with WNBA.com for a video interview and discussed how old Bird is as she prepares for what is technically her ninth All-Star game (the league tends not to count the two years she played in the game as a member of the U.S. National Team).
However, the game is an entirely new experience for rookies like Gonzaga Bulldogs alum Courtney Vandersloot, who was selected as a reserve for the Eastern Conference. Vandersloot is one of four rookies and 11 newcomers to make the All-Star Game this year.
Jessica Lantz of SB Nation's women's basketball site Swish Appeal is in San Antonio this weekend and had a chance to catch up with Vandersloot during yesterday's media availability.
2011 WNBA All-Star Game - The Year of the Rookie - Swish Appeal
Going straight down the top of the 2011 draft board brings you to the third pick, and a third all-star. Vandersloot, the lone rookie representing the East team that has seven first-time all-stars, was a surprise reserve selection to some - and perhaps even to herself on some level. The point guard for the Chicago Sky averages 8.3 points, 4.6 assists and 1.9 rebounds a night.
"Honestly, I didn't expect it but I'm more than happy to be here," Vandersloot said. "It's a great honor for me and the other rookies. We get a chance to play with the top 15 players in the league, some of them, so it's incredible. It's fun, you can tell everybody is here to have a good time and it's a nice little break in between the season just to kind of lay low and then to play with the best players."
But while it's all about having a good time, who can be expected to win?
The Eastern Conference is arguably the superior defensive and interior team, but these games aren't about offense - the West is a bit deeper and has a bit more offensive firepower on the perimeter, which is probably a better estimation of what might dictate the outcome of the game.