By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
Still, as expected, Griffith and Williams are among the league leaders in every conceivable statistic, taking some of the spotlight from the WNBA's preordained glamour girls. And yet, this year's All-Star starting lineups offer no new faces, save rookie phenom Chamique Holdsclaw, who's already a grizzled veteran of the league's hype machine.
That the West is led by three starters from the dominant Houston squad is not surprising Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, and Tina Thompson are why Houston will be the team to beat once the season enters its second half. Like Lobo, Lisa Leslie remains one of the league's celebrity faces, and her selection is not surprising, nor is that of Phoenix's Michelle Timms, the sensational Aussie point guard.
Though out for the season with a knee injury, New York's Rebecca Lobo was voted a starter for the East, proving that women's hoops fans are no more or less discriminating than those in other pro sports when it comes to selecting big names for All-Star representation. New York's Vickie Johnson was named to play in Lobo's place. Also elected to start: Washington's Nikki McCray, originally an ABLer but now a WNBA vet. She's joined by Teresa Weatherspoon, who remains the physical and emotional heart of the Liberty, and is second in the WNBA in assists.
And then there's center Kym Hampton, a sentimental favorite having a solid season (if a bit of a surprise as a huge vote getter). "I never thought that I would be playing in the WNBA," says Hampton, icing her battered knees in a traditional postgame ritual. After 13 years playing overseas, says Hampton, "I never thought that I'd be around when this happened to play in it and to be voted an All-Star. It's just like a fairy tale, really. It's pretty cool."