MVP Douglas lifts East to rare WNBA All-Star win

NEW YORK (AP) -- Katie Douglas and her Connecticut Sun teammates
gave the Eastern Conference its first WNBA All-Star game victory.

Douglas scored 16 points, Lindsay Whalen and Taj
McWilliams-Franklin had 10 points apiece and 7-foot-2 center Margo
Dydek had nine rebounds and four blocks to lead the East to a 98-82
over the West on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

"It was a great honor for the Connecticut Sun to have four out
of five players," said Douglas, who shot 4-for-7 on 3-pointers and
had five rebounds and four assists to earn MVP honors. "Having
Lindsay Whalen out there as point guard primarily at the time I was
out there, she knows where I like the ball. She knows my good spot.
As a shooter that's really important and key."

Katie Smith scored 14 points and Detroit teammate Cheryl Ford
added 13 for the East, which lost the first six All-Star games.

"We knew the West was coming in with an undefeated record,"
Douglas said. "We wanted to show we could compete with them. Maybe
they were surprised by our defensive effort."

The East, which led by nine at halftime, took control with a
39-13 run spanning the break. Whalen, who also had six assists and
five rebounds, stretched the East's lead to 72-49 with a driving
layup with 2:20 left in the third quarter. Tamika Whitmore's hook
shot in the final minute of the period increased the lead to 25,
and Candice Dupree's layup with 7:39 to go gave the East its
biggest lead at 85-58.

"We went into halftime believing that we can go on a little
run," the Houston Comets' Dawn Staley said. "But they came out on
fire. They took advantage of every opportunity they had to open the
game up.

"Any time you get four Connecticut players, they're a machine.
They work together."

Minnesota rookie Seimone Augustus was the only double-figure
scorer for the West, finishing with 16 points. Seattle's Sue Bird,
Phoenix's Diana Taurasi and Los Angeles' Lisa Leslie added nine
points each.

"They just put me in good position to score," Augustus said.
"I wasn't looking to come out and try to outshoot anybody. It was
just in the rhythm of the game. It was fun. Nobody wants to lose."

The East won despite playing without injured starters Tamika
Catchings of Indiana, Nykesha Sales of Connecticut and New York's
Becky Hammon. Douglas, Washington's Alana Beard and Detroit's Ford
replaced them in the starting lineup.

"Pretty good experience, I don't know anything's gonna top
that," Douglas said. "I was happy to be a reserve," Douglas
said. "With injuries, I was bumped into the starting lineup. I
just kind of rolled with it, got off to a good start."

With the outcome secure, the teams attempted a mini slam-dunk
contest in the final seconds. Diana Taurasi made a try, but was
stopped by the rim.

"I saw a clear lane to the basket and decided it was my turn to
dunk, and the rim said 'No, it's not your turn,"' the Phoenix star
said. "I had a great time. The result, you'd like it to be
different, but things happen for a reason."

Houston's Michelle Snow rebounded Taurasi's miss and was given a
clear path but also hit the rim. She tracked down the loose ball
and made her second attempt with 6.3 seconds left. The Shock's
Deanna Nolan tried to make one for the East, but was short on her
attempt before time expired.

The East closed the second quarter with a 16-4 run to take a
49-40 lead at halftime, only the second time it has led at the
break and eclipsed its eight-point margin at the midpoint in 2003.
Smith started the run with a jumper and also had a 3-pointer, and
Ford had six points.

"I'm proud of the East players for how hard they played
defensively and how much they ran the ball up the floor," said
Connecticut coach Mike Thibault, who led the East. "That team has
a lot of firepower on the West, and we wanted to make them work a
little bit."

The Sun players stole the show early, combining for 16 of the
team's 27 points in the first quarter. Douglas had all 11 of her
first-half points in the period -- including 3 3-pointers.
McWilliams-Franklin made a layup and a free throw and Dydek had a
basket and three rebounds.

The announced attendance was 12,998 -- nearly 6,000 fewer than
the game drew at the Garden in 1999 and 2003.