Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Sports

Shoni Schimmel leads East to WNBA All-Star Game win

PHOENIX — Showtime Shoni had quite the All-Star debut.

Shoni Schimmel, a rookie who doesn't even start for her own team, put on a record performance with 29 points Saturday to help the East beat the West 125-124 in the first WNBA All-Star Game to go to overtime.

Hitting big shot after big shot in the fourth quarter and overtime, including a behind-the-head flip over 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner, Schimmel gave the fans a great show.

Schimmel is only averaging 7.1 points in limited time for Atlanta, yet she was voted in as an All-Star starter because of a huge Native American following. With 17 family members — the boys wearing "Rez Ball Rules" T-shirts, cheering her — Schimmel earned MVP honors.

"Being Native American, it's a huge accomplishment to go out there and be in the WNBA," Schimmel said. "To have the fans look up to me and to a role model not only for my siblings but also the Native American fans, the Native American people. It's huge. I take on my shoulders because I enjoy it."

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, then knocked the ball away from Skylar Diggins to seal the victory. Diggins had 27 points and seven assists, leading a West rally to force overtime.

Griner, of the host Mercury, scored 17, including the third WNBA All-Star dunk, for the West.

Schimmel, a former Louisville star who grew up on a reservation in tiny Mission, Oregon, broke the All-Star Game scoring record of 23 set by Candace Parker last year.

Leslie leads Hall class

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie headlines the 2015 women's basketball Hall of Fame induction class, announced Saturday.

She is joined by former Houston Comets star Janeth Arcain, University of Georgia standout Janet Harris, former Duke coach Gail Goestenkors, longtime Oregon high school coach Brad Smith and Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke, who was killed in a plane crash in 2011. The Immaculata teams that won championships from 1972-74 will receive the Hall's trailblazer award.

Leslie also won two WNBA titles with the Los Angeles Sparks and was the league's MVP three times. She helped the U.S. win gold medals at the 1996, 2000, '04 and '08 Olympics.

The group will be inducted in June at the Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.

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