By Jeffrey Newholm
All-Star games are usually tiring affairs. Players go through half-motions, especially on defense, and the game feels very soft. Saturday’s WNBA All-Star game in Minneapolis was a familiar experience. The league tried to shoot new life into the game by pitting team Elena Delle Done versus team Candace Parker (in the same style as the NBA). However, team Parker’s 119-112 triumph, as the score indicates, seemed a bit dishonest. Despite an inspiring MVP performance by the Lynx’s own Maya Moore, attention will quickly shift back to a heated seedings race. However, the halftime show, a three-point shooting contest, contained more drama than many hoops games present in entirety. The Chicago Sky’s Allie Quigley, two time sixth woman of the year, showed smooth and confident form in reaching a final against Kayla McBride. And perhaps in contrast to the main game, the game’s best shooters hotly contested the three-point shootout.
With the winner receiving a $10,000 check to her favorite charity-and a very nice trophy–Quigley and McBride ground through the final. After scoring 18 points leading off, Quigley seemed to have ended the affair. But then McBride forced a tiebreak round with her final shot. For Quigley, defending her 2017 title was now personal. She focused: “I was like, ‘It’s go time, now or never. You just have to be relaxed and confident.” Quigley didn’t blink in the lights of the deciding round. Instead, she shot them out:
By sinking 20 of 25 concluding treys, Quigley continued to honor the legacy of her father, who passed in her youth. She stated her fund is “a nice scholarship that I’m able to give back, and it means a lot. Every time even last year I think about him right before I start shooting, so that’s probably the reason why I’m able to win it.” In fact, in 2017 Quigley stated she felt her father’s presence while winning the challenge. Too often ballers present, fairly or not, as playing for personal glory, rings, and millions in cash. But Quigley proved that focused competition leads to a forgotten sense of self and sleek success.
Quigley’s 18 points was enough to push team Parker to victory. Her shooting left her All-Star comrades in the same perspective as her Sky’s opponents: hopelessly standing and watching:
And the sweetest detail came from Moore, the event’s biggest star. The three-time MVP verbally admired Quigley’s example in the postgame ceremony, leaving Quigley with a huge smile and self-esteem boost. “Yeah, I was shocked”, Quigley exclaimed. “I mean, Maya is a proven winner. She’s a legend. For her to say that, that’s just the kind of person she is, the kind of player she is.” But for one night the real hero wasn’t Moore. Quigley, the journeywoman turned veteran mentor, rightly claimed that title. And Quigley demonstrated, by not giving up, that a champion can only be stopped by her surrender-certainly not trivial obstacles.