CHICAGO — Kiki Rice soaked it all up playing at the home of the reigning WNBA champion, and then was named MVP along with her future teammate at UCLA.
Rice scored 17 points and the East defeated the West 95-75 in Tuesday’s McDonald’s All American Game at Wintrust Arena.
Reis made 7 out of 10 shots. She and future college teammate Gabriela Jaquez were co-MVPs.
“Being a McDonald’s All American has been a dream of mine for so long,” Rice said. “Being co-MVP with my future UCLA teammate just makes the experience that much more special. Those were super fun and exciting past few days. I think the future is bright.”
South Carolina’s Talaysia Cooper and Ta’Niya Latson each added 15 points. Chance Gray, who was heading to Oregon, scored 14 points. Janiah Barker added 12 points – all in the first half – to help the East to an easy win in their first McDonald’s game since 2019. The event featuring the country’s best players has been canceled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jaquez, whose brother Jaime Jaquez Jr. plays for UCLA and helped the Bruins reach the Sweet 16 this year, led the West with 17 points and nine rebounds.
“It was a great experience to be out there with all the girls, to play against such great competition, to play with great players,” she said. “And in that atmosphere, there’s nothing really like just getting me ready for college. Go Bruins. Go Kiki.”
Especially in the early stages, the East played like a team that had been playing together for a long time. The East competed at the Chicago Sky Arena and held a 51-36 lead at halftime.
“When you put together a selfless group of girls like that, I think it showed on the court,” Rice said. “From the first day of training you could see the talent that each of us had individually, but also the willingness to pass the ball, share the ball, make each other better. That’s what this whole experience is about.”
Barker delivered great performances as the East took control.
The 6-foot-2 Florida forward, who was fired by Georgia after a coaching change, hit two 3-pointers in the half. She nailed one from the top of the key to cap a 15-0 run early in the second quarter that made it 37-18.
Latson, a 5-9 keeper tied for Florida State, had a three-point game and 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions for the East late in the quarter. Long Island Lutheran’s Paris Clark blocked a fastbreak layup by future Arizona teammate Maya Nnaji of Hopkins, Minnesota. The East remained in control the rest of the way.