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Parker and Toliver Spark the West

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All-Star MVP Candace Parker led the West to a 102-98 win over the East with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Emergency starter Rebekkah Brunson also had 11 rebounds, while Kristi Toliver had 21 off the bench. Epiphanny Prince and Ivory Latta led the East with 15 points apiece. For ennui, a lack of expectations, miserable bus rides, Cynthia Cooper jerseys, a sore lack of merchandise, and general disinterest, join your intrepid and struggling blogger after the jump.

Wonder Twin Powers activate?
Wonder Twin Powers activate?
Christian Petersen

My favorite part of All-Star is seeing all the fans from across the league join together, proudly flying their colors to watch their favorite players showcase their skills in joyous exhibition. The game itself tends to be underwhelming, especially for someone who values defense.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I realized that there was no fan fest of any kind. I was already irked that the open practices were on Friday, and I couldn't take the day off because I'm already taking off two days in a three-week period for Liberty games. And then I realized there was no skills challenge, no three-point shootout- nothing but the game. Why bother? (Especially as it seems I would have heard more about the game on TV than actually seeing the game live.)

Saw fans from every team but Tulsa. Pleasantly surprised by the turnout from LA and Minnesota- and no, not all the Sparks jerseys were Parker, and not all the Lynx jerseys were Whalen or Moore. Lots of Liberty fans, of course- I think there might have been more people in Liberty gear than in Sun gear, and if not, it was very close. Crowd cheered a good bit during intros- Whalen got a lot of applause, as did all the Huskies, and even Pondexter.

The one thing I wanted out of this game and didn't get was a fast break with Glory Johnson, Danielle Robinson, and Kristi Toliver. I got one with D-Rob and Toliver, so that had to do. Glory Johnson threw down a beautiful and powerful dunk during warm-ups, and was fun to watch in action during the game- she had a tendency to end up in the front row a lot. I think I need to find a way to watch more Tulsa games, except then I'd have to hear commentators talking about how great Diggins is. Danielle Robinson didn't get a lot of chances to show off her blazing speed, but the one basket she hit in the third was a pretty spinning move in the lane (we won't talk about the one she hurled over the basket). Kristi Toliver must have gotten a warning about her huge enormous ponytail dust mop of doom, because the first time she was in, she looked like she had a pet dust bunny following her around- the second time she came in, her hair was tied up a bit more strongly. She lit it up in the third- for a while, it looked like she and Ivory Latta were waging a personal battle in the midst of the East/West game. Nneka Ogwumike did work under the basket. Tina Thompson kept taking long threes- you could tell how badly her teammates wanted her to get a basket in her final All-Star appearance. As soon as she got in, they were giving her the ball. Lindsay Whalen threw a shoulder at Ivory Latta (I think) that made her look like she was in the wrong All-Star Game.

Brittney Griner doing the wave. Yes, really. To be fair, most of the Eastern bench also joined in, but when Griner does it, the effect is almost majestic, like unfolding a sheet of instructions. That's a lot of long skinny arm going up. She also ended up signing at least one autograph while on the bench for a fan who dodged security for just long enough. (Points for moxie, points off for "are you that stupid?!")

Diana Taurasi's sneakers were certainly... they were definitely... well, they weren't the ugliest shoes in the room. And they were definitely sneakers, no question about that. She hit one shot very early and then seemed more interested in messing around on the court with her friends. Her passing was pretty good, though. Seimone Augustus had her crossover working, but early on, she looked more like Brunson with the rebounding. Rebekkah Brunson had a resounding block that got as much applause as anything else in the game, and she was all over the boards. Trying to cross over one's opponent when one is Rebekkah Brunson, on the other hand, is a bit of an adventure. Maya Moore was all over the place. Candace Parker erupted in the second half, showing off her smooth grace and her ability to rebound around the basket.

Line change! No, that was pretty much how the East did their subs, except when Lin Dunn decided to bring the pain with Crystal Langhorne and Érika de Souza.

I think Ivory Latta needs to be tested for naturally producing caffeine. She has entirely too much energy. It's scary. (I'm also worried she tried to recruit minions during the Be Fit clinic on Thursday.) She was not afraid to shoot. Crystal Langhorne seemed entirely too fond of the midrange jumper on the wing, a shot that was not falling for her. Érika de Souza was a reliable target in the middle, using her build to generally kick butt. Shavonte Zellous looked like she was having a lot of fun- I expected her to put on more of an on-court show, but I'm cool with a player just goofing off in a game like this, especially a reserve. Allison Hightower's first touch was a turnover, but she settled in later.

I'm sorry these notes aren't more detailed. To be honest, if you were watching on television, you had a better idea of how the game on the floor went than I did from the upper deck.

Cappie Pondexter used her head... literally. She got hit in the head with a pass early in the game, and the facepalming was epic in Liberty land. I don't think she had the right shot at the end of the game, but she was the right person to take it. I have no idea how she got all the assists in the box score, I really don't. Tina Charles threw in a pretty hook shot during a brief second quarter spurt, but otherwise looked much as she has during the regular season. Epiphanny Prince was bombing threes in the first quarter like they were water, the way that Latta did in the second half, but was less involved in the second half when Dunn emphasized her reserves more. Tamika Catchings was quiet, inasmuch as Tamika Catchings can be quiet in a game. Angel McCoughtry seemed torn between showboating on offense, being flashy on defense, and trying to have fun. All things considered, I'm not surprised that Angel was torn in so many different directions.

Officials were irrelevant. Refs with cameras look stupid and have possibly been assimilated.

Seriously, if you have not had the pork flautas at Sol Toro, what are you waiting for? I talk them up every time we go to Sol Toro, and they were on point tonight.

We skipped halftime, so we skipped the entertainment, and if there was any announcement of the WBHOF inductees, we missed that as well.

Not surprised Parker got MVP, not arguing it. It was going to be her or Toliver for the West. If the East had pulled it out, it would have been Latta, IMO.

I know I should have more to say about this game, but really, there wasn't anything to write about. Other than passing Anne Donovan in the hall, we didn't even have any celebrity sightings to claim. Usually there are plenty of players in attendance, but most of them seem to have gone home.