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Former Sun Devil Briann January makes first WNBA All-Star appearance

Briann January took ASU to the Elite Eight as a sophomore and senior.
Briann January took ASU to the Elite Eight as a sophomore and senior.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Briann January’s first WNBA All-Star Game will be played just 10 miles from the court where she was a two-time Pacific-12 Defensive Player of the Year for Arizona State.

After wearing the maroon and gold of the Sun Devils from 2005 to 2009, January has already captured the 2012 WNBA title with the Indiana Fever and has twice been on the all-defensive team. She will come off the bench for the Eastern Conference at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in downtown Phoenix.

“It means a ton,” January said during practice Friday. “Just to be able to come back and play in front of the fans who have supported me six years ago, seven years ago, eight years ago, and just to be able to show them how far I’ve come and the progress I’ve made. It’s just great, the support is still there, I hear people in the stands yelling ‘Go Devils.’”

The 27-year-old, who is originally from Spokane, Wash., is averaging 11.2 points and 4 assists per game for the Fever, which is in second place in the East. She is also fourth in the WNBA in three-point shooting.

“You’re among the best players in the league,” January said of the All-Stars. “They can fill it up and run the court, they can do anything, you have all the tools on the court, and as a point guard, you feel like a kid in a candy shop, you want to dish and get them open and let them do what they do, so it’s exciting.”

January is joined on the East roster with Indiana teammate and future Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings, who is playing in her record-tying ninth event.

“I’m excited to see the growth in her,” Catchings said. “She continues to get better, and that’s really what it’s all about is, every new year in the league, you got to bring something different to the game, and to see her, in her sixth year in the All-Star Game is great.”

Also in the stands for the practice Friday was ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne, who mentioned she was very proud of January’s accomplishments.