LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The 2021 WNBA All-Star Game drew thousands of fans on Wednesday at the Michelob Ultra Arena inside Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
The game was neck-and-neck the whole way through, but it ended with Team WNBA beating Team USA 93 to 85. Yet, the game was less about the score and stats, and more about how women are making a mark in the sport of basketball.
“It was a great vibe,” said Chelsea Gray, a Las Vegas Aces player on Team USA. “The energy that we feel every time at our home games so it was just a level up.”
In what’s been tapped as the most competitive matchup in WNBA history, the Las Vegas Aces represented with the most players on the rosters in the All-Star Game.
On Team WNBA, Liz Cambage and Derica Hamby represented the Aces. This is Cambage’s fourth All-Star Game and Hamby’s first. Las Vegas Aces Chelsea Gray and A’ja Wilson represented on Team USA. Both are first-time Olympians. For Gray, this is her fourth All-Star Game, and for Wilson, it’s her third.
Wilson has had an incredible career since her rookie season in 2018 and she’s been an All-Star every season except in 2020 when there was no All-Star Game due to the pandemic. That season, she was crowned as league MVP and led the Aces to the WNBA finals.
Now in her first-ever Olympics, she’ll have a global platform to represent women in sports.
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“We’re finally getting the recognition that’s always been there,” said Wilson. “We’ve always been working hard. We’ve always been so true to this.”
That recognition has shown today in the best-selling basketball video game, NBA2K. WNBA All-Star Candace Parker was revealed as the first female basketball player to grace the cover.
“Women’s sports has a place, and it’s necessary,” said Candace Parker. “Look what it can inspire and spark if we’re able to empower women.”
Parker saying this honor was only because women before her paved the way. She referred to the 1996 Women’s USA Olympic Team who won the gold medal in Atlanta. During the game, they were acknowledged.
Now, the 2021 Olympic squad will look to attain that same level of success, as they continue to prepare for their Olympic run. Team USA will get a bit more practice in the exhibition games here at the Michelob Ultra Arena on Friday against Australia and on Sunday against Nigeria before they begin their Olympic run in Tokyo at the end of this month.