The WNBA is taking its All-Star Game back to Las Vegas.
The league announced Monday it will stage its annual showcase at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Sin City on July 14. Vegas also hosted the All-Star Game in 2019.
The event will come one day before the WNBA takes a four-week break for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
During the last three Olympic cycles, the WNBA declined to have an All-Star Game, and the COVID-19 pandemic precluded the league from having one at the IMG Academy bubble in Bradenton, Florida.
The format for the 2021 installment will mimic The Game at Radio City in 2004. In lieu of a traditional All-Star Game that year, the WNBA had the USA women's Olympic team face off against a collection of stars who didn't make the national team.
This time around, the battle lines will be drawn along a similar framework. One side will be made up of Team USA players who led the All-Star voting against the best of the rest.
Team USA lists 29 players in its 2021 roster pool, so there shouldn't be much trouble in identifying 12 deserving All-Stars from the group.
Aside from those who don't represent the U.S. at the international level—most notably Jonquel Jones and Liz Cambage—the door remains open for a number of domestic-born stars.
Of particular interest will be whether Betnijah Laney, Jackie Young or Marina Mabrey are rewarded with a first All-Star selection for their strong performances this season.
Laney was the league's Most Improved Player in 2020 and has raised her game to another level for the New York Liberty by averaging 21.0 points and 5.4 assists per game. Young is putting up 14.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals as a jack of all trades for the Las Vegas Aces. Mabrey is torching opposing defenses to the tune of 16.9 points per night while shooting 39.2 percent from beyond the arc.
During recent Olympic years, their contributions would've gone unnoticed in an All-Star context. Now, they can be recognized among the game's top players.