Monday, March 16, 2009

WNBA Stars Shine in EuroLeague All-Star Game

MVP honors for Becky Hammon and a dunk from Sylvia
Fowles highlight the 2009 EuroLeague All-Star Game.

Recap courtesy of FIBA Europe

Becky Hammon and Sylvia Fowles made basketball headlines again at the EuroLeague Women All-Star Game on Sunday in Paris.

The CSKA Moscow star, who won a bronze medal with Russia at last year's Olympics in Beijing, poured in a game-high 24 points and was voted Most Valuable Player as Europe won 101-78.

The 31-year-old superstar hit three-pointers like they were going out of style, making six of seven in the game.

At half-time, Hammon also won the Three-Point Shooting Contest by beating Sheana Mosch in the final.

"They put on a great show for everyone, today and last night," Hammon said.

"Now I'm just looking forward to going out and having a nice dinner.

"This is my first time in Paris."

Spartak Moscow Region's Fowles, the dominating center of Team USA who captured Olympic gold in Beijing, warmed up for the EuroLeague Final Four with a dunk in the third quarter.

"That's what All-Star Games are all about," Fowles said. "It's all about the fans and making sure everyone has a good time."

MiZo Pecs' rising Hungarian international star Anna Vajda and MKB Euroleasing Sopron's Jelena Milovanovic contributed 16 and 13 points, respectively, for Europe.

LOTOS PKO BP Gdynia's Alana Beard finished with 17 points for the Rest of the World.

The first quarter had plenty of thrills, with ZVVZ USK Prague guard Lindsay Whalen and Hammon providing several.

Whalen's alley-oop pass to Candice Dupree of Wisla Can-Pack Krakow made it 10-9 for the Rest of the World.

Hammon came off the bench and scored almost immediately with a three-ball to put the Europeans in front at 16-13.

Milovanovic showed her ability to make an adjustment in mid-air.

The Serbian left her feet with the intention of passing to Anastasiya Veremeenko but with the Nadezhda center covered, Milovanovic floated towards the basket and scored for a 22-21 Europe advantage.

Right before the first-quarter buzzer, Whalen caught a long pass from Besiktas center Laura Harper and spun calmly before scoring from several feet away.

Veremeenko, one of the world's premier shot-blockers, rejected Dominique Canty early in the second quarter.

Europe's Israel international Shay Doron came to life in the period and scored five points.

Vajda caught Doron's alley-oop pass and scored right before half-time for a 50-38 Europe lead.

Hammon's three-ball just 40 seconds into the second half gave Europe a 57-40 lead.

The Rest of the World responded with a Tamika Whitmore three before Fowles picked off an errant Hammon pass, dribbled in and dunked to bring the crowd to its feet.

The Rest of the World ended up outscoring Europe 25-19 in the third quarter to trail 68-63.

But Vajda buried a three-ball at the start of the fourth and then made a lay-up as Europe took control again and went on to claim a decisive victory.

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