Injuries to sideline seven-time All-Star Sales

NEW YORK -- East meets West in Wednesday's All-Star Game. The question is: Can East finally beat West?

The Western Conference All-Stars have won all six previous games. But to keep the streak going, they'll have to do it on one of the biggest stages in the East -- Madison Square Garden.

And the East is already at a disadvantage, heading into the annual classic without one of its stalwarts for the first time. Connecticut's Nykesha Sales, chosen for all seven All-Star Games, will be sidelined at least a week because of nagging hip and Achilles tendon problems, the Sun announced Friday night.

Sales was one of three Sun players chosen to start. Third-year guard Lindsay Whalen will make her first appearance and 7-foot-2 center Margo Dydek is set to make her second but first as a starter. Dydek is averaging 10.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and a league-leading 2.6 blocked shots a game. She represented San Antonio in the 2003 All-Star Game.

Whalen, the former Minnesota star, was the Sun's first draft pick in 2004 and since her arrival the Sun have won the last two Eastern Conference titles.

"Lindsay last year deserved to be on the team. This year she has the opportunity to play," Sales said.

Two more Sun players, Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Katie Douglas, are expected to be chosen as reserves. Sun coach Mike Thibault will coach the East All-Stars for the second straight year.

"When you've been in the finals the last two years and you get off to another good start, good things happen to you," Whalen said.

The West defeated the East 122-99 last year.