Forward Rebekkah Brunson of the Minnesota Lynx and guard Sugar Rodgers of the New York Liberty have been named by WNBA President Lisa Borders to replace two injured players in Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 on Saturday, July 22 at KeyArena in Seattle (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC).
The WNBA also announced today that Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller and his staff will coach the Eastern Conference in place of New York Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer and his staff while Laimbeer tends to a family matter.
Brunson, 35, will be making her fourth All-Star appearance and first since 2013. She will replace Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, who suffered knee and ankle injuries on July 14. Griner had been voted to the Western Conference team as a reserve by the conference’s head coaches.
Now in her 14th WNBA season, Brunson is the WNBA’s career leader in offensive rebounds (1,107). She has earned four WNBA championships, including three with Minnesota (2011, 2013 and 2015).
Rodgers will make her All-Star debut in her fifth WNBA season. She will fill the spot vacated by Washington Mystics forward-guard Elena Delle Donne, who injured her ankle on July 14 after being selected as a starter for the East in voting by fans, WNBA players and media. Miller, in his role as East head coach, will choose Delle Donne’s replacement in the starting lineup.
The 26-year-old Rodgers is third in the WNBA in made three-point shots (39). She is averaging 12.7 points per game and posting career highs in rebounds (4.2 rpg), assists (2.6 apg) and steals (1.2 spg). Rodgers will also participate in the WNBA Three-Point Contest at halftime of Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017.
Laimbeer earned the right to coach the East All-Stars after the Liberty finished with the best regular-season record in the conference in 2016. The Connecticut staff was selected to fill in by virtue of having the best record in the conference this season as of July 10. Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve will lead the West after leading the Lynx to the West’s top record last season.
Under Miller and assistants Steve Smith and Nicki Collen, the Sun has rebounded from a 1-5 start to hold the third-best record in the league (12-8).