WNBA Players Featured in Video Game for 1st Time

By DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer

Breanna Stewart can now compete against other WNBA players in a video game.

Her teammates will be featured in a video game for the first time this fall, with NBA Live 18 adding women’s basketball players.

“It really is cool. For me, I played video games when I was younger, whether it was the NCAA basketball game or 2K,” Stewart said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “To be in a video game, it’s humbling. You see men’s players all the time, but it’s good for women’s basketball to have us in there.”

Head scans of WNBA players were conducted over the past year. The developers held motion capture sessions with No. 1 draft pick Kelsey Plum of the San Antonio Stars. Veterans Candace Parker and Tina Charles are featured, along with stars Maya Moore, Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne.

The game’s creators fine-tuned player ratings and skill moves. There’s a WNBA play mode where video gamers can pit two WNBA teams against each other with authentic jerseys, rosters and courts.

Stewart hopes that her younger brother, who plays video games a lot, will pick her when he plays the game.

“I’m going to have to talk to him about this,” she said, laughing. “It’s the first question I’m going to ask him.”

The second might be what her rankings are. Always a bone of contention in other sports games, Stewart is confident EA Sports will get the rankings right.

“My rating is going to be important, I’m curious to see what it will be,” she said. “EA Sports will do me right.”

It’s not the first time that EA Sports has added females to its game. FIFA2016 highlighted 12 women’s soccer national teams, including the U.S., to the game in 2015.

“It should have happened a while ago,” she said. “They should have given video gamers the option.”

South Carolina star A’ja Wilson admits she isn’t really into video games, but that could change. She was happy to hear that WNBA players are included, and she may someday be featured the video game.

“That’s great, that’s something that’s very positive,” she said at USA Basketball Under-23 training camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I definitely will be playing video games now. It’s great news and a good step.”

Wilson will have to wait a year. There isn’t a franchise option yet to create players.

“We are delighted to collaborate and make history with EA as NBA LIVE 18 becomes the first video game to feature the WNBA’s full roster of teams and players,” said WNBA president Lisa Borders. “With EA’s expertise and ingenuity, the game will provide a terrific platform to showcase the players and the league, enabling fans to experience the WNBA in a new, exciting way.”

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Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

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