The WNBA All-Star game in Las Vegas on Saturday won’t be just about who rules among the star-studded lineups, but also about the rules themselves.
They will be different. Very different.
• The shot clock will be reduced four seconds to 20, although it will still reset to 14 seconds after offensive rebounds.
• Some substitutions will be permitted hockey style, allowing teams once per quarter to have an offensive player replaced during action. Incoming players will be required to “check in” near midcourt and then tag the player leaving the court to designate the exchange.
The team rosters also were created differently this year, with the top two vote-getters being named captains and selecting teammates from the remaining pool.
The Sparks will be represented by guard Chelsea Gray and forward Nneka Ogwumike, who ended up on different sides when Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics and A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces drafted teams Tuesday. Gray is a starter for Team Wilson and Ogwumike is a reserve for Team Delle Donne.
Gray was also selected to compete in the three-point contest, which was won by Shekinna Stricklen of the Connecticut Sun on Friday. She defeated Kayla McBride of Las Vegas, 23-22, in the final.
Diamond DeShields of the Chicago Sky won the Skills Challenge, outperforming Jonquel Jones of the Sun in the final.
On Saturday, Delle Donne will be joined in the starting lineup by Jewell Loyd of Seattle, Kia Nurse of New York, Brittney Griner of Phoenix and Jones. Besides Ogwumike, coming off the bench will be Kristi Toliver of Washington, Courtney Vandersloot of Chicago, DeWanna Bonner of Phoenix, Alyssa Thomas of Connecticut and Tina Charles of New York.
Besides Gray, joining Wilson in her starting lineup will be Kayla McBride and Liz Cambage of Las Vegas, and Natasha Howard of Seattle. Coming off the bench will be DeShields and Allie Quigley of Chicago, Odyssey Sims of Minnesota, Erica Wheeler of Indiana, Napheesa Collier and Sylvia Fowles of Minnesota and Candice Dupree of Indiana.