NEW YORK (AP) WNBA teams and players have gotten creative on social media to try and get out the vote for the All-Star Game.
Whether it's making fun videos, appealing to college fan bases or even calling in a friend with a huge following on Twitter, the ploys seem to be working as fan voting is way up.
The initial returns were released Thursday night and there's a 110 percent increase in votes cast from the same time frame in 2015. There was no All-Star Game last year because of the Rio Olympics.
''Our players aren't just athletic they are darn creative and they are hilarious,'' WNBA President Lisa Borders said. ''I have to tell you, the PR teams supporting our players and franchise are to be commended in every way, the unique approaches they took whether it's the grandma characters, slick graphics, the Washington Mystics did national watch day. People use different approaches.''
Connecticut created a series of web videos that feature Jonquel Jones, Jasmine Thomas and Courtney Williams dressed as older versions of themselves, wearing glasses, bathrobes and slippers.
''I just think I'm a bit of an old soul. A lot of how I act is how I'm going to be when I get older,'' Thomas joked. ''I sometimes walk around the house with a house robe already.''
All three of the Sun players were happy to do the videos and potentially help get the vote out. Jones, who is having a breakout season, is sitting in third in East frontcourt voting, sitting behind Elena Delle Donne and Tina Charles.
Minnesota did a fun video using the opening credits of the old TV show the ''A-Team''.
''It's always great to do videos where everyone gets to see another side of our personalities. It's fun to see so many people enjoying the A-Team!,'' said Moore, who is the top vote-getter overall.
She was happy the overall numbers were up.
''It's exciting to see so many people voting and showing their appreciation for our game and for me,'' she said. ''Hopefully we can keep the momentum going and get more of my Lynx teammates to Seattle.''
Joining Moore in the West frontcourt is teammate Sylvia Fowles and Los Angeles' Candace Parker. Seattle's Sue Bird is leading the guards with Diana Taurasi of Phoenix second in the balloting.
Tiffany Mitchell is second among East guards despite spending most of her time coming off the bench for Indiana. The Fever put out a plea to the South Carolina fan base where Mitchell went to college to get out and vote. The Gamecocks have led attendance the past few seasons in women's college basketball. Fellow Gamecocks alum Allisha Gray, who plays for Dallas, is seventh in the voting.
''It feels great to be a potential starter for this game without being any every game starter with the Fever,'' Mitchell said. ''It's humbling for sure, and I feel like my impact on both sides of the ball keeps me engaged even when offensively could be an off night. Very thankful to the Fever fans and of course my Gamecocks for holding the voting down and continuing to support my career.''
Imani Boyette, who is 10th in voting among the East forwards, may have gotten a boost recently when rapper 50 Cent tweeted to his 9 million followers that they needed to ''support my girl (at)ImaniBoyette.'' It's the third year that fans can vote on Twitter.
''I got 50 Cent to come to a game last year and Maya Moore helped me make him a fan and it's just really awesome to have his support,'' Boyette said. ''I'm hoping the power of social media and some support from the biggest rapper out will get me to Seattle.''
Fan voting concludes on July 6 with the starters announced five days later. For the first time this year, the fan vote will only account for 50 percent of selecting the All-Star starters. Each player gets a vote now as do select media members. The players and media votes will each count for 25 percent in determining who will start the game in Seattle on July 22.
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