Kia Nurse has been named to her first career WNBA All-Star Game for her efforts in leading a small New York Liberty resurgence.
Kia Nurse of the New York Liberty was named one of ten starters for the upcoming WNBA All-Star Game. It’s the first All-Star experience for the second-year guard out of Connecticut.
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) July 11, 2019
Nurse, 23, has started all 15 games thus far for the Liberty. She is second on the team at 16.0 points per game, a mark good for seventh in the league. She also ranks fourth in the league in minutes per game (32.8), fifth in successful three-pointers (34), and seventh in free throw percentage amongst players with at least 20 attempts (91.8).
The Liberty (7-8) have already matched their win total from all of last season. They have won four of their past five and seven of their most recent eleven to insert themselves into the crowded WNBA playoff picture.
Nurse has been the fiery catalyst behind the mini-resurgence. The Liberty are 4-1 when she reaches at least 20 points. She last did so on July 5 in Phoenix, tying a season-best with 26 (8-11 FG) in an 80-76 win over the Mercury.
Nurse has also played a complete 40 minutes twice this season, both in games against the Minnesota Lynx (June 12, June 22).
“Nurse is somebody who can handle (playing 40 minutes), and still push through,” Liberty head coach Katie Smith said after the first instance, a 75-69 win anchored by another 26 from Nurse. “She’s able to function even when she’s a little tired. I thought she had a monster game and really came up big.”
“She plays hard all the time,” Nurse’s teammate Asia Durr noted earlier this season. “Players who play hard the whole game, good things are bound to happen. She’s that one.”
Starters for the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game were announced on ESPN’s The Jump. The exhibition will be held on July 27 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC).
Three members of the local Aces were named starters. A’ja Wilson will serve as a captain alongside Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics, while Elizabeth Cambage and Kayla McBride were also invited. Other starters included Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles), Brittney Griner (Phoenix), Jewell Loyd, Natasha Howard (both Seattle), and Jonquel Jones (Connecticut). Howard and Nurse are the only ones making their All-Star debuts.
Wilson and Delle Donne will pick from a pool of the remaining eight starters and a dozen reserves. The latter group will be determined by WNBA coaches and be announced on July 15. The two captains were chosen by virtue of having the most votes from fans. Fan voting makes up half of the determination, while current players and a media panel share the remainder evenly.
The Liberty return to action to Friday night, taking on the Chicago Sky (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3).