Storm forward Natasha Howard and guard Jewell Loyd were named starters for the 2019 WNBA All-Star game Thursday afternoon.
This will be Howard’s first All-Star appearance and Loyd’s second, as she was voted in as a reserve last year. The 12 roster reserves for this year’s game will be voted on by coaches and announced on July 15, prior to the All-Star game on Saturday, July 27 in Las Vegas.
Howard, who led Seattle with 20 points in last Friday’s loss to Atlanta, ranks fourth in the league with an average of 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. She was named the WNBA Player of the Month for June after scoring a career-high 26 points against Indiana and earning her fourth double-double after the first 12 games of the season. She was named the 2018 WNBA Most Improved Player for helping the Storm clinch the 2018 WNBA championship during her first year in Seattle.
“It is my first time being picked so it felt really good for all the hard work that I’ve put in and also having all my teammates behind me,” she said. “It’s just a blessing to have this opportunity to be honest.”
Before suffering an ankle injury against Las Vegas on June 25, Loyd was averaging 15.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. She has yet to return to the court since her injury. Last year, in her All-Star debut, Loyd helped lead Team Parker to victory by scoring 12 points and providing four assists.
“The respect that I have from the people who have been watching us, and from who voted, plus that I’ve been injured for the past couple weeks, the fact that they still want me to be a part of the game, even before I was injured, really means a lot,” Loyd said.
Captains for this year’s All-Star game are Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics and A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces. They will draft their individual teams after all participating players have been announced.