There’s a new queen of the WNBA 3-point contest.
Sabrina Ionescu of the New York Liberty won the title Friday at All-Star Weekend 2023 in Las Vegas after putting on “the greatest performance we’ve ever seen in this contest,” exclaimed ESPN play-by-play announcer Ryan Ruocco. Ionescu was nearly perfect in her final drive, hitting 25 of 27 three-pointers. This is an absolute record for the NBA or WNBA.
“I was just focused on making one at a time. I didn’t know how many I missed, but I knew it wasn’t a lot,” said Ionescu, who won the WNBA All- Star Skills Challenge 2022. “I practice a lot of these live rehearsals and I was able to do that today.”
Ionescu finished with a score of 37 points. (Silver balls are worth two points and star balls are worth three points.) Sami Whitcomb (24) of the Seattle Storm finished in second place, while Arike Ogunbowale (11) of the Dallas Wings came in third place .
Ionescu was cheered on by the Michelob ULTRA Arena crowd, by her classmates and even by Allie Quigley, who has reigned in the 3-point contest since 2017, winning four of the last five shootouts. Quigley is out for the 2023 season and was not on the field for Friday’s contest, paving the way for Ionescu to lift the 3-point trophy.
“I’m really lucky to have this position,” added Ionescu.
Whitcomb had the highest score (28) in the first round to advance to the final, alongside Ionescu (26) and Ogunbowale (21). DiJonai Carrington (18) of the Connecticut Sun, Kelsey Mitchell (15) of the Indiana Fever and Jackie Young (15) of the Las Vegas Aces failed to advance.
The 2023 WNBA All-Star 3-point contest concluded Friday’s festivities. The All-Star Game will take place on Saturday.
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Team Vegas wins the Skills Challenge
Las Vegas Aces All-Star Chelsea Gray just proved why she was the No. 1 All-Star selection.
Gray carried Team Aces to a victory in the 2023 WNBA All-Star Skills Challenge against defending champion Sabrina Ionescu, who was on Team Liberty with New York teammate Courtney Vandersloot.
“Chelsea carried us,” Kelsey Plum said of her teammate.
Plum wasn’t lying. Plum struggled in the final round of the skills challenge, which consisted of a 25-inch chest pass, pylon dribbles, a lane basket, a corner three and a basket from the other side of the floor . She failed to knock down a third corner, missing all three of her attempts, but Gray came to the rescue.
Gray ran a perfect race to lock in a time of 46 seconds for Team Vegas. “I was training before and just trying to do as much as possible. It’s a cool event and I’m happy,” Gray said after welcoming the skills trophy with Plum.
Team Liberty finished with a time of 58 seconds after Vandersloot and Ionescu both struggled to knock down a three. Vandersloot missed all three of his corner attempts, while Ionescu missed two threes in the corner and on the opposite basket. Ionescu, however, had no difficulty in the three-point contest.
Gray and Plum will play on Team A’ja Wilson on Saturday in the All-Star Game, while Vandersloot and Ionescu will play on Team Breanna Stewart.