The Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird was named this week to her 10th WNBA All-Star Game, matching Tamika Catchings for the most selections in league history.
The 36-year-old guard has another big milestone in her sights: the WNBA assists record.
Bird ranks second in WNBA history with 2,519 assists, putting her 80 behind all-time leader Ticha Penicheiro (2,599). If Bird plays all 16 remaining games on Seattle’s regular-season schedule, she would need to average just over five assists per game to pass Penicheiro in 2017.
In her 15th season, Bird is averaging a career-high 6.8 assists per game, which is tied for the league lead with Atlanta Dream guard Layshia Clarendon. Bird is seeking her fourth career assists title and second in a row.
In addition to Bird, the Western Conference All-Star starters include former WNBA regular-season MVPs Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury (guard), Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx (frontcourt) and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks (frontcourt) as well as 2015 Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles of Minnesota (frontcourt).
The Eastern Conference starting lineup features two WNBA MVPs in Tina Charles of the New York Liberty (frontcourt) and Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics (frontcourt) as well as three first-time All-Stars in Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream (guard) and Jonquel Jones (frontcourt) and Jasmine Thomas (guard) of the Connecticut Sun.
Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote to determine the starters for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017, while current players and a media panel accounted for 25 percent each. Fans cast 604,680 votes, more than double the number in 2015 (280,670).