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Baller Watch: How the WNBA’s hottest stars played this week

The WNBA All-Star break is this weekend, but appearances by a number of the game’s key players could be in jeopardy due to a recent rash of injuries over the past few days.

In the Washington Mystics’ game Friday against the Indiana Fever, Elena Delle Donne rolled her ankle in the first quarter and did not return. She is out indefinitely with an ankle sprain and didn’t play against the New York Liberty Sunday. It got even worse for Washington later in the Indiana game as starting guard Tayler Hill tore her ACL and is out for the season.

In the first of the Phoenix Mercury’s back-to-back match ups against the Minnesota Lynx, Mercury center Brittney Griner bruised her left knee and sprained her right ankle in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game. She will miss three to four weeks of action. Diana Taurasi scored 14 points Friday but didn’t make the trip with the team to Minnesota Sunday for an undisclosed injury.

Speaking of the Lynx, Maya Moore was the star of the show in their first game against Phoenix, with 19 points. But the second time around she struggled to score, and finished the day with only nine points.

Two Los Angeles Sparks players who continue to shine are Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike. In quelling the surging Connecticut Sun  87-77 on Thursday, Parker scored 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished six assists in providing the push her team needed to come from behind in the first quarter. Reigning MVP Ogwumike had 29 points and 11 rebounds in yet another display of her phenomenal consistency.

Sun starters Jonquel Jones, Jasmine Thomas and Courtney Williams continued to shine bright despite the loss, as all scored in double-digits in both of the team’s games last week.

There are four days of game action this week leading to Saturday’s All-Star Game – full rosters will be revealed Tuesday – in Seattle. One of the most intriguing match ups will be Wednesday when the Sun visit the Liberty. Connecticut leads the season series 2-0 and have momentum, but New York will be rejuvenated after Sunday’s blowout of Washington. Watching Jones and Liberty center Tina Charles face off again will be a treat.

The other two “must-watch” games this week are also Wednesday: the Atlanta Dream at the Mystics, and the Dallas Wings at the Lynx.

Though Atlanta has sputtered lately, they have some real gamers in All-Star starter Tiffany Hayes, Layshia Clarendon, Bria Holmes and rookie Brittney Sykes. If the Dream annihilates Washington the way the Liberty did this past weekend. the Mystics are in trouble.

The Lynx, though strong as ever, could be challenged by the Wings, who will be riding the wave from their double-overtime comeback win over the Chicago Sky Sunday

The All-Star Game will be fun, though who will fill out the official rosters remains to be seen in the wake of injuries. In the meantime, several teams have a chance to set an early tone for the second half of the season over the next four days.

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