Sylvia Fowles steals the show in her final WNBA All-Star Game with a rare 3-pointer and dunk in Team Wilson’s rout

Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS
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Las Vegas Aces star Kelsey Plum led a team assembled by teammate A’Ja Wilson to a lopsided 134-112 victory in the WNBA All-Star Game on Sunday at Wintrust Arena.

A first-time All-Star, Plum earned the MVP award by scoring 30 points to match the All-Star scoring record set by Maya Moore in 2015.

But it was Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles — also playing for Team Wilson — who stole the show in the final All-Star Game of her career. The 36-year-old Fowles, who announced in February this would be her final season, opened the game by sinking a rare 3-pointer and receiving a big cheer from the crowd as a former Chicago Sky first-round draft pick.

“I appreciate the love that I’m getting, which is kind of weird because I always shy away from it,” said Fowles, who finished with seven points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals in 20 minutes. “But it’s been comforting knowing that people do appreciate the things I’ve done throughout my last 15 years in this league.”

Witnessing Fowles pull up behind the 3-point line is a rare sight for even the most passionate WNBA fan — she has taken only one shot from long range in her entire career, making it in 2010 for the Sky against the now-defunct San Antonio Stars.

Fowles showed off again in the second quarter when she picked off a pass, jogged down the court and hammered a right-handed dunk. Despite her 6-foot-6 frame, the dunk was a similarly rare sight — Fowles hadn’t attempted a slam since 2008.

Fowles said this All-Star weekend in Chicago was one of her favorites among her eight All-Star nods.

She added that she led both teams in urging Sky star Candace Parker to dunk in the game, but Parker, 36, said she’s “too old” and stayed grounded for the game.

“She dunked for both of us,” Parker said.

Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird, who also has announced this is her last season, played only 15 minutes for Team Stewart and didn’t score in her final All-Star Game. She and Fowles earned standing ovations when they exited the court for the last time.

“It’s actually a nice feeling. Maybe a little bit of closure, right?” Bird said. “As an athlete, when you come to the end of your career, so much goes into the decision to actually retire. So the way people have reacted and these little moments I get both in Seattle and on the road — I know it’s the right timing for me, but it gives it a (feeling) like, ‘OK, this is going to be all right.’ Everyone’s getting their moment that we can share.”

Connecticut Sun center Jonquel Jones also made a run at the All-Star scoring record, finishing with 29 points for Team Stewart after missing her final attempt from 3-point range.

Parker mugged for the camera and playfully teased the referees throughout the game as she scored 15 points in 23 minutes for Team Wilson. She hounded Sky teammate Kahleah Copper whenever they were paired against one another, with Copper scoring eight points in 17 minutes for Team Stewart.

“We’re definitely going have to win a championship so we can forget about this part of the season,” Copper joked after the game. “It’s funny because we had the moments where we’re going at it and then we came to each other and Candace was like, ‘I don’t like being across from you.’ So let’s just let it be over and then let’s get back on the same side.”

Sky captain Courtney Vandersloot had eight points, eight assists and six rebounds in 17 minutes for Team Wilson, keeping her style of play consistent from the regular season to the exhibition. The Sky’s Emma Meesseman added eight points and four rebounds in 14 minutes for Team Stewart.

Sky coach James Wade helmed Team Stewart, which was assembled by the Storm’s Breanna Stewart.

Players continued to use All-Star weekend as a platform to bring attention to the detainment of WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russia.

The Phoenix Mercury star was named an honorary All-Star starter, and both teams wore jerseys bearing Griner’s name and number throughout the second half.

“It’s hard for all of us. Not a day goes by that I’m not thinking about Brittney Griner,” Wilson said. “Wearing her jersey and letting the world know that we’re not whole without her, that’s a statement in itself. We’re playing on ABC and ESPN, showing that it’s real and understanding that we’re not going to stop until everyone understands how serious this really is.

“At the end of the day, we’re always playing for BG. We’re just praying that she gets home safe.”