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Phoenix Mercury's Candice Dupree named All-Star reserve

Candice Dupree goes up against Kia Vaughn and the Mystics Tuesday.
Candice Dupree goes up against Kia Vaughn and the Mystics Tuesday.
Scott Mammoser

Tuesday night, Phoenix Mercury forward Candice Dupree was among 12 athletes selected as reserves for Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game, which will tip off at US Airways Center at 12:30 p.m.

This will be the fourth such game for Dupree, but first since 2009, her final season in Chicago before coming to the Mercury. At 29 and in her eighth season, she is averaging 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds for a Phoenix team with the league’s best record (16-3).

“It’s something that was a goal of mine this year,” Dupree said after scoring 19 and grabbing six during the Mercury’s 90-78 win over the Washington Mystics Tuesday. “The biggest thing is playing in front of our home fans, they do a great job supporting us during the regular season and playoffs. I’ve been trying to work really hard, I knew I wasn’t going to get picked as a starter, you know who those players are going to be, but to get the recognition means a lot.”

The 6-foot-2 Dupree joined Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen of the defending champion Minnesota Lynx, Glory Johnson of the Tulsa Shock, Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks, and Danielle Robinson of the San Antonio Stars on the Western Conference bench.

The Connecticut Sun will send rookie Chiney Ogwumike and 35-year-old veteran Katie Douglas, while former Arizona State guard Briann January represents the Indiana Fever, and Atlanta Dream center Erika de Souza, the New York Liberty’s Tina Charles, and the Chicago Sky’s Jessica Breland complete the Eastern Conference roster.

January, who is in her sixth season, is making her first appearance, as is Breland, who is in her third year.

Already elected by the fans to start for the West were the Mercury’s Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi, the Sparks’ Candace Parker, Minnesota’s Maya Moore, and Tulsa’s Skylar Diggins.

“It tells you how good she plays here, and she deserves all the credit,” Taurasi said of Dupree.

Tamika Catchings (Indiana), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago), Cappie Pondexter (New York), and Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry and Shoni Schimmel are starting for the East.

“She’s having a great year and it justifies that,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said of Dupree. “Her being picked for the All-Star team, the coaches got that one right in that regard. She’s so smart, I call her ‘Smooth,’ she’s a pleasure to coach, any kind of schemes I throw in there, she knows how to execute them right on the point.”

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