Sylvia Fowles told Holly Rowe ahead of the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game that she was uncomfortable with the attention of her final season and expected the young-ins to carry the day for Team Wilson.
Things didn’t start that way.
Becky Hammon and Team Wilson drew up the very first play of the game for Fowles — not in the post for the 6’6 WNBA all-time leading rebounder — but for a 3-pointer, which Fowles drained. Maybe she was referring to her All-Star rookie Sabrina Ionescu doing the dirty work of setting a screen to clear out Jonquel Jones from contesting the shot.
First play of the game being for a Sylvia Fowles three is fun. pic.twitter.com/k5Ga3jKnWa— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) July 10, 2022
Fowles’ team won 134-112, and the legend wasn’t done with the highlights. The Team Wilson co-captain joined A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum to trap Jackie Young on the sideline in the second quarter, forcing a steal, and then taking the ball coast-to-coast for a dunk. Fowles previously dunked in the 2009 exhibition, in her first All-Star Game appearance.
Who would have thought that Fowles recently missed two weeks with a knee injury? Breanna Stewart has to be kicking herself for trading Fowles for Sue Bird during the All-Star draft.
Team Wilson was up seven at the time of Fowles’ steal and finished the half up 20 on Team Stewart. Wilson and Plum also played a big part in their team’s 36-11 second quarter that changed the tenor of the game.
Wilson brought a defensive ferocity to the All-Star proceedings, perhaps inspired by the four defensive player of the year awards of her co-captain. Trapping Young wasn’t an isolated instance, as she and Plum regularly doubled their Las Vegas Aces teammate.
Truthfully, it wasn’t much better for the other Ace on Wilson’s team, Dearica Hamby. Hamby smoked a lay-up and had her Twitter account hacked by Wilson, who at one point stood up on the bench and told her coach to “get [Hamby] outa here” and also asked Stewart on Twitter if in-game trades were allowed.
Hamby responded with a strong third quarter, leading Team Wilson with eight points and redeeming herself. Her teammate Plum, however, needed no time to get going. She found her niche getting into the paint while the rest of the All-Stars preferred the long ball (2-of-14 on 4-point shots in the first half, though. yikes.) Plum led all scorers with 30 points, an All-Star Game record, incidentally tying the mark with a 4-point shot in the fourth to earn the game’s MVP award.
For Team Stewart, Jonquel Jones had a strong start with 14 of her team’s first 17 points as James Wade’s club was up seven early. The trailing squad attempted to rally in the fourth behind a flurry of Jewell Loyd threes (she finished with seven, tied for an All-Star record), cutting the deficit to as low as seven, but Ionescu — finally heeding the pregame words of Fowles — hit four triples after a mid-quarter timeout and assisted on two buckets to Candace Parker to maintain the advantage. Two of those threes came off of offensive rebounds by none other than Fowles.