Virginia women’s basketball had past and future representatives on opposite sidelines in Wednesday night’s WNBA All-Star game as current head coach Tina Thompson squared off against Wahoo legend Dawn Staley. Thompson, alongside Lisa Leslie, coached the WNBA All-Stars, while Staley carried out her role as the US Women’s National Team coach.
Thompson has been the head coach of the Cavaliers since 2018, coming to Charlottesville by way of the University of Texas. Her WNBA career is an illustrious one, spanning from 1997 until 2013, and Thompson was the No. 1 overall pick in the inaugural WNBA Draft in 1997. Thompson is a four-time WNBA Champion, winning the title every year from 1997-2000. Her on-the-court performance led to Thompson being selected as a member of the 2018 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and she also has two gold medals from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
For the pregame festivities and on the sideline, Thompson rocked her signature red lipstick with a navy and white Virginia tee:
#wnba All-Star game live now on ESPN #GoHoos⚔️ pic.twitter.com/wHW5QxOz3d— Virginia Women's Basketball (@UVAWomensHoops) July 14, 2021
Staley, the current coach at South Carolina also has Virginia ties as she remains one of the best basketball players — men’s or women’s — to have played with the Cavaliers. Her college career spanned from 1988-1992, and she earned the Naismith Player of the Year Award twice (1991, 1992). Staley also led Virginia to three Final Fours in her four-year career. She has three Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000, 2004), and Staley was the United States flag bearer in the 2004 Parade of Nations as part of the Opening Ceremonies.
The WNBA All-Star team led by one point at the halftime break, 44-43, led by Arike Ogunbowale’s 12 points in 13 minutes. Brittney Griner led the US Women’s National Team with 10 points. The second half is underway on ESPN.