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Another Star for Cappie Pondexter

Yesterday’s announcement was just a formality but it confirmed that Cappie Pondexter will be the Eastern Conference’s starting shooting guard in the WNBA All-Star Game, scheduled for July 23 in San Antonio. The All-Star nod caps a week loaded with honors for Pondexter, the 2011 ESPY Award nominee who was named the East’s Player of the Week for July 5 to 10 after averaging 19 points and 5.5 assists while shooting 100 percent from the free throw line.

Pondexter was the leading vote-getter (20,226) among Eastern Conference guards. She will start in the backcourt with Indiana’s Katie Douglas. Fever forward Tamika Catchings led all players with 32,706, and she will start in the frontcourt with Connecticut center Tina Charles and Atlanta forward Angel McCoughtry.

Elected by the fans to the starting lineup for the Western Conference will be Seattle’s Sue Bird and Swin Cash, Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi, Minnesota rookie Maya Moore and Los Angeles center Candace Parker. Parker suffered a knee injury in a game against the Liberty earlier this season and is expected to be replaced in the starting lineup.

For Pondexter, this year marks the first time in her six-year career that she has been voted in as an All-Star starter, and the selection is well-deserved. Easily the most explosive guard in the WNBA, she ranks fourth in the league in scoring (17.8 ppg), fifth in assists (5.23 apg) and is eighth in total efficiency (17.5).

All-Star reserves will be announced during the ESPN2 game broadcast between Seattle and Chicago on July 19. Coaches will select the six reserves for each team in their respective conferences, and coaches cannot select players on their own teams.

Let’s hope that the Eastern Conference coaches have taken notice on several other Liberty players that deserve All-Star spots. Essence Carson definitely should garner heavy consideration. Though she missed two games because of an eye injury, Carson ranks 10th in the conference in scoring and field goal percentage, and is perhaps one of the league’s top shut-down defenders.

Kia Vaughn and Plenette Pierson have also upped their stock but are on the outside looking in. Vaughn might be shut out because of the East’s depth at the center position, but her 11.6 ppg and 7.2 rebounds should catch the eye of some coaches. The veteran Pierson ranks fifth in scoring among Eastern Conference forwards, and her rebounding prowess and never-ending intensity makes her one of the hardest working players in the league.

Here are my choices for the All-Star reserves.

East: Of course, I’m going with Carson, New York’s second All-Star. Then I have Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince, Chicago; Crystal Langhorne and Matee Ajavon, Washington; and Renee Montgomery, Connecticut.

West: First, I’m picking Phoenix’s Penny Taylor to replace Parker in the starting lineup. Tulsa’s 6-8 rookie Liz Cambage is the only true center of my selections, but with Lauren Jackson also out because of injury, Taylor should be in the starting lineup. My reserves are Cambage, Candace Dupree, Phoenix; Becky Hammon, Danielle Adams and Sophia Young, from hometown San Antonio; and Seimone Augustus, Minnesota.

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