Phoenix Mercury forward Brandy Reed was added to the WNBA's Western Conference All-Star team Friday, quieting a storm of protests and boycott talk by Mercury fans.
Despite being the hosts for Monday night's All-Star game at America West Arena, the Mercury had no representatives on the team until Reed was added.
Fans selected the starters, and the coaches in each conference selected the six reserves for each team on Wednesday. But the league created an additional roster spot for the West to add Reed, who leads the Mercury in scoring (17.2), rebounding (5.9) and steals (2.3).
"We simply had not anticipated that the team would not be represented in this year's All-Star game by virtue of either the fans' or coaches' ballots," WNBA president Val Ackerman said. "Brandy is having an outstanding year and is as deserving as anyone of being an All-Star."
Reed joins Katie Smith and Betty Lennox of Minnesota, DeLisha Milton and Mwadi Mabika of Los Angeles, Natalie Williams of Utah and Sacramento's Yolanda Griffith as Western Conference reserves.
Houston coach Van Chancellor will lead the West against New York coach Richie Adubato and the East.
"I'm really excited about this honor," said Reed, who had 25 points and 10 rebounds Thursday night against Sacramento in her first game after being left off the roster. "It means even more that the league really respects my game. Hard work pays off."
Reed's omission had some fans asking for refunds on tickets, and others planned to either boycott the league's second All-Star game or show up in black clothing to reflect their mood.
Ackerman said she expected the uproar to subside quickly.
"One reason we chose Phoenix is that the crowd support out there is outstanding," Ackerman said.
Mercury vice president Seth Sulka said the league, formed in 1997, showed uncommon wisdom in creating a spot for a player with unquestioned credentials.
"It was a great decision," Sulka said. "I'm not sure a lot of leagues would have seen something like this happen and taken the steps necessary to correct it. You had the fans' vote and then the coaches who failed to select a deserving Mercury player, so the league hadn't really had input into it until now."
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