Rookie Shoni Schimmel of the Atlanta Dream put on an electrifying show in the WNBA All-Star Game Saturday afternoon in Phoenix, scoring 29 points to lead the East over the West in a 125-124 overtime win, the Associated Press reports.
Schimmel, normally a reserve player who averages about 7 points a game for Atlanta, hit several clutch shots in the fourth quarter and overtime. Her 29 points broke the previous All-Star Game scoring record of 23, set by Candace Parker last year. She was named the game's MVP, according to WNBA.com.
It was the first WNBA All-Star Game to go into overtime.
Schimmel, who is of Native American descent, was voted a All-Star starter, in large part due to her legions of Native American fans. Hundreds of those fans attended the game on Saturday, and she didn't disappoint them, according to WNBA.com.
''Being Native American, it's a huge accomplishment to go out there and be in the WNBA,'' Schimmel said, according to the Associated Press. ''To have the fans look up to me and to be a role model not only for my siblings but also the Native American fans, the Native American people. It's huge. I take it on my shoulders because I enjoy it.''
Tamika Catchings made a layup with 6.9 seconds left in OT to give the East the lead, and then she knocked the ball away from Skylar Diggins on the defensive end to seal the victory. Diggins finished with 27 points and seven assists, leading a furious West rally to force overtime.
Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore, who was the top vote-getter for the All-Star Game, scored 24 points for the West. Lindsey Whalen scored 4 and Seimone Augustus did not play due to injury. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve and her staff led the West team.
Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury, the host team, scored 17 points, including a slam dunk, for the West. She entertained the crowd during warmups with several dunks, and then made one late in the first half.
''Definitely wanted the win, didn't get it, but I think everybody in the stands had a good time, enjoyed the game,'' Griner said, according to the AP. ''That's what it is all about, putting a show for our fans.''
The Lynx return to regular season play on Tuesday evening against Schimmel and the Atlanta Dream at Target Center.