Mercury’s Taurasi, Griner named WNBA All-Stars

Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi and center Brittney Griner were voted starters for the WNBA All-Star Game, the league announced Thursday night.

This is the fifth time in franchise history that the Mercury have had multiple All-Stars (1999, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011).

The selection for Taurasi was the franchise-record sixth All-Star nod of her career. She was previously named to the team in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011; no All-Star Game was played in 2004, 2008, 2010 or 2012 due to Olympic participation. Now in her 10th WNBA season, Taurasi is a five-time league scoring champion who currently sits atop the league scoring chart once again, averaging 21.5 points per game. Additionally, while playing the lead guard position for Phoenix, Taurasi is second in the league with 5.6 assists per game this season.

The No. 1 overall pick in this season’s draft, Griner will make her All-Star debut in a rookie season in which she leads the league in blocks per game (2.83), having already recorded six games with four blocks or more. She also leads the league in field-goal percentage (.598), and in her professional debut she set the league record for dunks in a single game with two. Griner will be joined by fellow rookie and Chicago Sky forward Elena Della Donne, marking the first time in WNBA history the top two draft picks will be among the All-Star starters as rookies.

Taurasi and Griner ranked third and fourth overall in All-Star fan votes among Western Conference selections. Taurasi led all WNBA guards.

Phoenix is one of only three teams in the league to boast more than one player in the All-Star starting lineup; Minnesota with Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus as well as Chicago with Delle Donne and Epiphanny Prince are the others.

Reserve players for the WNBA All-Star Game will be selected by the league’s 12 head coaches and announced on Tuesday.