Nneka Ogwumike got a couple of deserved hat tips from the WNBA on Monday.
After she was recognized as one of two players of the week early in the day, the league announced the Sparks forward was named to the 2019 All-Star team around lunchtime.
Ogwumike, 29, has been selected to be an All-Star six times in eight seasons (and in 2016, no All-Star contest was held on account of the Summer Olympics). She was chosen this year by the league’s coaches as one of the 12 reserves for the game, which will be played July 27 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The former Stanford star and 2016 WNBA MVP joins Sparks teammate Chelsea Gray as an All-Star this season. Gray was introduced last week as one of the backcourt players selected to start in the game by fans, media and players.
Ogwumike is averaging 15.5 points per game (10th-most in the WNBA), 9.5 rebounds per game (third) and shooting 39.5 percent from 3-point range on career-high 2.5 attempts per game.
Playing beside her younger sister Chiney in L.A. for the first season, Nneka Ogwumike has proved a reliable contributor for the fifth-place, often short-handed Sparks, whose lineup has been beset by injuries, including hamstring and ankle issues that have kept two-time MVP Candace Parker off the floor for all but seven games.
Ogwumike helped keep the Sparks afloat on their recent three-game road trip, when they won twice despite having as few as eight available players for their 76-71 overtime victory in Atlanta on Sunday.
In those three games last week, Ogwumike averaged 18 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.7 steals — effort that earned her Player of the Week distinction along with the Connecticut Sun’s Jonquel Jones, who averaged 16.7 points and 9.3 rebounds last week, when she was named an All-Star starter.
NNEKA TO THE ALL-STAR GAME
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LA_Sparks) July 15, 2019
Ogwumike, the WNBPA president, was drafted first overall by the Sparks in 2012 after having reached four Final Fours with Stanford. She’ll be one of five top picks in this year’s game. Last season, illness kept her from playing in last year’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis.
The other reserves, as selected by the league’s 12 coaches (who weren’t permitted to vote for their own players) include a pair of former Sparks guards: Minnesota’s Odyssey Sims and Washington’s Kristi Toliver.
The other reserves: Chicago’s Diamond DeShields, Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot, Indiana’s Erica Wheeler and Candice Dupree, Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner, New York’s Tina Charles, Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles and Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas.