- Nancy Lieberman, Basketball analyst / Writer
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When this year's All-Stars light up the floor at the Mohegan Sun on Saturday, a player who has perhaps shined the brightest at the Uncasville arena the past two seasons won't be part of the festivities.
In perhaps the biggest snub in the All-Star game's five-year history, Connecticut Sun point guard Lindsay Whalen was left off the Eastern Conference roster. The All-Star starters, as determined by fan balloting, were announced last Thursday. The rosters were finalized Tuesday as the Eastern and Western Conferences coaches named six reserves to each squad.
Leaving Whalen off the list is absurd. Connecticut not only is the best team in the league right now at 12-2, Whalen runs the Sun. Yes, Nykesha Sales and Taj McWilliams -- both of whom were named East reserves -- are the only tandem in the WNBA currently averaging at least 15 points per game. But Whalen should have been included too. She ignites Connecticut. She gets the ball in the right position and in the right hands game after game. And if there's one player who truly can be called the cog that makes the engine go, it's Whalen.
Through 14 games, Whalen is averaging 11.5 points, 5.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds in almost 32 minutes per contest. She shoots 44 percent from the field, 85 percent at the foul line. The only knock on her stat line is a 1-for-13 performance from downtown, but Whalen ranks tied third in assists per game and total assists (79).
This is just a bad decision. Perhaps some East coaches didn't want the Sun to have three players represented, but that's a tough case to argue considering Detroit put four players on the All-Star roster.
In the West, it was surprising to see Seattle's Betty Lennox omitted. Last year's WNBA Finals MVP is having another solid season, and should be joining Storm teammates Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson in Connecticut.
Nancy Lieberman, an ESPN analyst and Hall of Famer, is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage. Contact her at www.nancylieberman.com.
Leaving Connecticut guard Lindsay Whalen off the All-Star roster is one of the biggest snubs in the game's five-year history.