Erica Wheeler Drops 25, Wins 2019 WNBA All-Star Game MVP as Team Wilson Triumphs

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 27: Erica Wheeler #17 of Team Wilson handles the ball during the game during the AT&T WNBA All-Star Game 2019 on July 27, 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Cooper Neill/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

A'ja Wilson couldn't help her team on the floor, but her drafting skills paid off at the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game.

Erica Wheeler came off the bench and scored 25 points, leading Team Wilson to a 129-126 win over Team Delle Donne on Saturday in Las Vegas.

"Just never give up, man," Wheeler said on ESPN. "Just never give up, no matter what nobody tell you. Just keep moving."

"I use my mom as my motivation," Wheeler said. "I lost her when I was in college to cancer, so I just keep moving because I know she's watching me more than ever. This one right here is for you, Mom."

The Indiana Fever star knocked down seven threes and added seven assists as part of a strong bench effort from Team Wilson, whose namesake missed the event because of an ankle injury. Allie Quigley, who replaced Wilson in the starting lineup, had 14 points.

Nneka Ogwumike led the way for Team Delle Donne with 22 points off the bench. Elena Delle Donne struggled in her 21 minutes of action, scoring just six points on 2-of-6 shooting.

Jonquel Jones of Team Delle Donne had the game's only double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. 

The 2019 All-Star Game was historic on a number of levels. The teams combined to score the most points (255) and assists (69) in an All-Star Game. Team Wilson's 21 three-pointers also set a record, while Wheeler's seven threes tied the all-time mark. 

It was also notable because the WNBA experimented with one live-ball substitution, a rule the league could look to implement in the future. Delle Donne and Courtney Vandersloot pulled off the first-ever live sub during the first quarter.

Overall, there was a typical All-Star Game flair to the festivities. Nearly every player got a chance to shine. Seven different players on Team Wilson scored in double figures, while there were six on Team Delle Donne. No player received more than 24 minutes of playing time, and Napheesa Collier was the only player who didn't receive at least 10 minutes of action.

Team Wilson won in large part because of a dominating 39-23 first quarter, which gave the squad a lead it never relinquished. Team Delle Donne won the final three quarters of the game but never got closer than within one possession.

Wheeler's final three—a stone-cold step-back dagger with 22 seconds remaining—sealed the deal for her team and the MVP honors. 

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