Las Vegas Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer and Washington Mystics head coach Mike Thibault have earned spots as the head coaches for AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019.
Laimbeer and Thibault will be joined on the bench by their respective coaching staffs at the 16th WNBA All-Star Game, which will be played on Saturday, July 27 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, home of the Aces. ABC will televise the game live at 3:30 p.m. ET.
🗣️More All-Star news! 🌟 The @LVAces Bill Laimbeer and the @WashMystics Mike Thibault have earned spots as the head coaches for the 2019 All-Star Game! Full release ➡️https://t.co/syPAcmhHpP
Las Vegas (10-5, .667) has clinched the best record in the WNBA through July 12, which is no surprise to the rest of the league.
Even before they swung the trade for low-post scoring machine Liz Cambage, which changed the balance of power in the WNBA, the second-year Aces franchise was predicted to be much improved after adding Notre Dame underclassmen Jackie Young with the No. 1 overall pick.
Cambage had Skylar Diggins-Smith and mostly role players alongside her on the Dallas Wings, but once she brought her MVP-caliber skills to Vegas, the team was automatically elevated to championship contenders. In fact, some feel that the Aces have the potential to be a WNBA SuperTeam, rivaling the early Houston Comets and more recently, the Minnesota Lynx teams that were both stuffed with Hall of Famers.
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Cambage is the center; A’ja Wilson, the 2018 rookie of the year, plays power forward; Kayla McBride, a two-time All-Star, is at small forward; Kelsey Plum, the 2017 No. 1 overall draft pick 2017, is the shooting guard; and this year’s No. 1 draft pick, Young, is handling point guard duties.
“Our starting five is ridiculous,” Cambage said.
But some of them will be playing on opposite teams in the WNBA All-Star game
Former NBA great Laimbeer will coach the All-Star team captained by Washington’s Elena Delle Donne, the All-Star starter who received the most fan votes in WNBA All-Star Voting 2019 presented by Google.
Washington (9-5, .643) is guaranteed to have the second-best record through July 12. As a result, Thibault will guide the All-Star team captained by Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson, the All-Star starter with the second-most votes among fans.
Laimbeer, a two-time WNBA Coach of the Year (2003, 2015), has earned All-Star head coaching honors for the third time.
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Thibault, a three-time WNBA Coach of the Year (2006, 2008, 2013), also will serve as an All-Star Game head coach for the third time.
The 10 starters for AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 – announced earlier today on ESPN’s The Jump – were selected by a combination of fans (50 percent of the vote), current WNBA players (25 percent) and a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters (25 percent). The WNBA’s head coaches will select the 12 reserves, who will be revealed on Monday, July 15.
🗣️ Announcing the 2019 #WNBA All-Star captains and starters! 🌟
Delle Donne and Wilson will select their respective rosters in the WNBA All-Star Draft by first choosing from the remaining pool of eight starters and then from the pool of 12 reserves.