A look at the Eastern and Western Conference starting lineups for Monday's WNBA All-Star game serves as a reminder that there is no perfect way to select the most deserving players.
The Western Conference team consists of three Sacramento Monarchs, forward Ruthie Bolton-Holifield, center Yolanda Griffith and guard Ticha Penicheiro, and two players from the Houston Comets, guard Janeth Arcain and forward Tina Thompson.
The Eastern team has three New York Liberty players, forward Vickie Johnson, center Tari Phillips, and guard Teresa Weatherspoon, and two from the Washington Mystics, forward Chamique Holdsclaw, who will miss the game because of a foot injury, and guard Nikki McCray.
In the West, even though it can be argued that Spark center Lisa Leslie is having a better season, averaging 19.5 points and 9.9 rebounds, Griffith's selection is not out of line. She is averaging 13.5 points and is the league's leading rebounder at 11.5. Griffith and Leslie are tied for second in double-doubles with nine.
But Bolton-Holifield? She hasn't started a game for the Monarchs, having come off the bench in all 16 of her appearances this season, and is averaging 7.6 points. She ranks no higher than 13th in any statistical category. Minnesota's Katie Smith, the WNBA scoring leader at 25.3 points, would be a better fit here.
And Penicheiro, an all-star last season, is a dubious choice this season. She has played in only eight games after starting the season on the injured list. She is averaging 6.3 assists, which would tie her with Weatherspoon for second if she had played enough games to qualify. But as passers, Utah's Jennifer Azzi (5.4) or Phoenix's Kristen Veal (4.9) would have sufficed.
In the East, McCray is having a down season. Her 10-point scoring average is her worst in four WNBA seasons, six points off her career mark. She has scored 20 points only once and has been held under 10 in seven of her 16 games.
Charlotte's Andrea Stinson (15.2), or Cleveland's exciting Merlakia Jones (14.3) would have been better choices.
But no matter who squawks about the All-Star selections, don't expect WNBA officials to take the vote away from fans any time soon.
Said Holdsclaw, who was the leading vote getter with 105,006: "There's probably a different level of respect [when peers vote], but it's like all All-Star games. The men have been doing it for years, where the fans vote because the fans are going to vote for who they want to see. It's a marketing thing.
"They want people to come out and support us, so the fans are given an opportunity to say, 'This is who we want to see. This is who excites us.' It would be cool either way for me, if my peers did it or the fans. It's been this way for so long and it's what the fans look forward to. It's giving them back something."
NBC, on the WNBA Web site, is asking for fans to choose the halftime feature for each WNBA game the network will televise this season.
A word to the wise: Avoid game shows and two-song concerts.
Fred Williams' departure as coach of the Utah Starzz last week had a feel similar to his departure as the USC women's coach four years ago.
After going 13-14 in the 1995-96 season, his first at USC, Williams raised the Trojan record the next season to 20-9, then was replaced by current Coach Chris Gobrecht. No one said it publicly, but there were private complaints about Williams' ability to organize and run a team.
He joined the Starzz as an assistant under Frank Layden, then took over when Layden resigned in June 1999. That Utah team finished 15-17, but last year's Starzz went 18-14 for the franchise's first winning season.
As Utah lurched to a 5-8 start this season, however, Williams resigned. He said he hadn't been forced out, a statement supported by owner Larry Miller and chief operating officer Jay Francis.
Several players suggested Williams might have been "too nice on them."
Others suggested Williams was not a particularly good motivator or bench coach.
He now may be labeled as a good assistant, period.