PHOENIX – Showtime Shoni lived up to her nickname in her first WNBA All-Star Game.
And a wild game it was.
Schimmel scored an All-Star Game-record 29 points and had eight assists as the East pulled out a 125-124 victory Saturday over the West in the first WNBA All-Star Game to go into overtime. The Atlanta rookie was named the game’s MVP.
Tamika Catchings of the Fever, an All-Star for a record-tying ninth time, made a layup with 6.9 seconds to go to give the East the lead and then knocked the ball away from Skylar Diggins on the defensive end to seal the victory. Diggins finished with 27 points and seven assists, leading a furious West rally to force overtime.
They call her Showtime Schimmel,’ Catchings said. She came out and put on a great show.
Brittney Griner, of the host Mercury, scored 17 points, including a first-half dunk, for the West.
Schimmel, who grew up on a reservation in the tiny northeast Oregon town of Mission and has a vast Native American following, broke the All-Star Game record of 23 points set last year by Candace Parker.
There were many other big scorers in front of a loud Phoenix crowd.
Maya Moore scored 24 for the West. Tina Charles had 19, Chiney Ogwumike 15, Catchings 14 and Angel McCoughtry 13 for the East.
Diggins, the WNBA’s No. 2 scorer, had six of the West’s last eight points in regulation, capped by a layup off a turnover with 26.3 seconds to go to tie it at 112-112.
Griner opened the overtime with a layup and Moore’s 3-pointer put the West up 124-117 with 1:59 to play.
But Katie Douglas sank a 3 to cut it to 124-120 with 1:15 to go, then Schimmel made her seventh 3 of the afternoon with 41.9 seconds left to cut the West lead to 124-123.
Catchings’ driving layup and Diggins’ turnover finally put an end to the frenetic contest.
Schimmel, who was just the third reserve to start an All-Star game, according to STATS, put on quite the show. Besides hitting 3-pointers, she also hit a circus over-the-head shot over Griner.
The hoop kept getting bigger and bigger, Schimmel said.