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.
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.
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.
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.
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.