MVP Wheeler, Griner dunks highlight WNBA ASG

LAS VEGAS -- Erica Wheeler hoped to make her All-Star debut an unforgettable one. She certainly did, walking away with the MVP award.

Wheeler, who was the first undrafted player to debut in the league since 2003 to earn an All-Star spot, scored 25 points and led Team Wilson to a 129-126 victory over Team Delle Donne on Saturday.

The Indiana Fever guard got emotional when she accepted the MVP award, tearing up.

"To me it was to make my mark and I think I did that," said Wheeler, who was one of six first-time All-Stars. "I'm a no-name and left today with a name that everyone can remember."

Her fellow All-Stars also were nearly as emotional, knowing what Wheeler went through to even make the league.

"I was crying my eyes out," team captain A'ja Wilson said. "It's real moments like that that people don't see. That's what it's all about."

Phoenix's Brittney Griner had an All-Star-record three dunks, including an impressive two-handed jam where she hung on the rim over Aces star Liz Cambage. The 6-foot-8 Australian center had her own fun in the game, playing point guard. She waved off Aces teammate Kayla McBride when she tried to take over the guard position.

The WNBA experimented with two new rules during the contest: having a 20-second shot clock and allowing both teams to substitute in one player on offense in a hockeylike move once a quarter. The shot clock barely made a difference as neither team came close to seeing it reach single digits. Team Delle Donne was the first to use the hockeylike sub, putting Courtney Vandersloot in late in the first quarter.

Team Wilson built a 14-point halftime lead behind Wheeler, who hit her first six shots -- all 3-pointers.

DeWanna Bonner rallied Team Delle Donne in the third quarter, scoring 11 points in the period to get it within 10. The team cut it to three with 41.5 seconds left on Nneka Ogwumike's jumper. Wheeler answered, though, as the shot clock was winding down, hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key. She did a dance on the other end to celebrate.

The 255 combined points are the most in All-Star history.

With the game in Las Vegas, it was a star-studded event. NBA player Chris Paul was sitting courtside, as was Kobe Bryant, who got a huge ovation from the crowd when he was introduced.

Team Delle Donne member Jewell Loyd gave Bryant's daughter a hug; Loyd and Bryant go back a long way. The trio took a photo together at the half.

Sitting a few seats over from Bryant was Sue Bird and her girlfriend, Megan Rapinoe, who led the U.S. women's soccer team to the World Cup title earlier this month. Bird, Rapinoe and Breanna Stewart helped throw T-shirts to the crowd in the fourth quarter.