Playing in her first WNBA All-Star Game on Saturday, Los Angeles Sparks guard Kristi Toliver (Maryland) scored 19 of her 21 points in the second half to help the West to a 102-98 victory in Uncasville, Conn.
Toliver, last season's Most Improved Player in the WNBA, made three of six 3-point attempts and added two assists off the bench.
Washington Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne, who was Toliver's teammate when the Terps won the 2006 national championship, scored six points for the East.
Atlanta Dream forward and former St. Frances standout Angel McCoughtry scored 11 points as a starter on the East. McCoughtry, who averages 20.3 points per game, also tied a team high with eight rebounds.
Candace Parker, Toliver's Sparks teammate, scored a record 23 points and added 11 rebounds to earn Most Valuable Player honors.
"I've never even been to an All-Star Game, even as spectator," Parker said. "So this was very special for me. The chance to be around all these special players is what I will remember more than being on the court."
Parker was voted a starter for the 2011 game, but she couldn't play because of a knee injury. This time, she put on a show.
After a quiet first half, Parker helped rally the West after the break. With her team trailing by 11 early in the third quarter, she scored seven straight points.
Then, after Toliver hit back-to-back 3-point shots to the tie score, the Mystics' Ivory Latta hit her own 3-pointers to give the East an 81-74 advantage heading into the final period.
The West led 100-98 with 30 seconds left when Cappie Pondexter missed a 3-pointer that would have given the East the lead. Parker got the rebound and Toliver clinched the win by making two free throws.
Parker broke Swin Cash's All-Star game record of 22 points with a layup midway through the fourth quarter.
Epiphanny Prince and Latta scored 15 points each to lead the East.
The teams combined for 51 3-pointers and only 17 fouls were committed.
"It was fun to be out there," McCoughtry said. "It looked like everyone had a lot of fun. We gave the crowd what they wanted to see."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun