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Tina Charles, Sue Bird among WNBA All-Star starters

Tina Charles and the Liberty have lost three

Tina Charles and the Liberty have lost three games in a row. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm and the Liberty’s Tina Charles are among the 10 players selected to start in the WNBA All-Star Game, the league announced Tuesday.

It was the 10th All-Star Game selection for Bird, who grew up in Syosset. That ties her with Tamika Catchings for the most in WNBA history. Though it is the eighth time she has been selected as a starter, it is the first time she has been a starter since 2011. Her most recent All-Star appearance was as a reserve in 2015.

There was no All-Star Game in 2016 because of the Olympics.

Charles, who grew up in Queens and like Bird played at Christ the King and the University of Connecticut, will be playing in her fifth All-Star Game. It marks the third time she has been selected as a starter.

“I am grateful to all of the fans, media, and my peers in the WNBA who voted,” Charles said Tuesday. “I am excited to represent the New York Liberty organization for what I know will be a great All-Star Weekend in Seattle.”

Charles is second in the league in scoring at 20.8 points per game and third in rebounding at 9.1.

“No player in the WNBA works harder or means more to their team than Tina Charles, and I congratulate her on being voted a starter for the All-Star Game,” said Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer, who will coach the East team. “She is the most consistent player in the league, turning in close to a double-double every time she steps on the court, and has taken her game to another level this season as she leads our team every night.”

In addition to Charles, the East starting frontcourt includes Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics and Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun. Atlanta’s Tiffany Hayes and Connecticut’s Jasmine Thomas, both first-time all-stars, will start in the backcourt.

Joining Bird in the Western Conference backcourt is Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Suns. The starting frontcourt will be composed of the Minnesota Lynx’s Maya Moore, Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks and Sylvia Fowles, also of the Lynx.

Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve will serve as the West coach. The Lynx and Liberty finished with the best regular-season records in their conferences in 2016, earning Reeve and Laimbeer coaching spots in the All-Star Game.

The game will be Saturday, July 22, at KeyArena in Seattle.

The starters were selected by a vote of fans, media and WNBA players. Moore was the leading vote-getter among fans (32,866). She was followed by Delle Donne (31,414), Parker (29,133), Fowles (24,904) and Bird (24,841).

New York Sports