No. 2 Incarnate Word claims Naples title
Some of the brightest women's basketball prospects hit the Florida courts for the Naples Holiday Shootout, and the tournament rang in the new year with a showdown between two of the nation's best teams.
In a game that featured several matchups of future Division I players, No. 2 Incarnate Word Academy (Mo.) beat No. 3 Blackman (Tenn.) 53-44 in the final of the American Division.
At the point, Iowa State-bound senior Nakiah Bell of Incarnate Word and undeclared sophomore star Crystal Dangerfield of Blackman did battle, while undeclared juniors Napheesa Collier of Incarnate Word and MeMe Jackson matched up at the small forward position.
Trailing 3-2 early after a deep 3-pointer by Dangerfield, Incarnate Word went on a 16-0 run and led 18-3 at the end of the first quarter. Tournament MVP McKenna Treece, a Kansas State signee, was instrumental in the early surge as she connected on numerous mid-range jumpers. Blackman was ice cold from the floor through the first half and trailed 30-16 at halftime.
But Blackman came out swinging in the third quarter, closing the game to 30-25 on a Micah Norris transition basket. But then Bell answered the bell, scoring five straight points and giving IWA a 39-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Blackman could get no closer than eight points in the final frame as Bell (20 points, 4-for-6 from 3-point range), Treece (17 points, 7-of-10 from the floor) and Collier (12 points, 9 rebounds) of IWA dictated the outcome.
Treece, the impact player of the game, has made significant strides in her face-up game, bringing a more versatile offensive arsenal that will bode well for her in Big 12 play.
Blackman and Incarnate Word Academy are set to meet again later in January.
Here are the all-tournament teams, which were broken down into the American and National divisions:
Anna Hammaker, Christian Academy of Knoxville (Tenn.)
Sasha Dailey, Toledo Rogers (Ohio)
Kalani Brown, Salmen (La.)
Megan Brown, Salmen (La.)
Daija Ruffin, Sacred Heart Academy (Ky.)
Asia Durr, St. Pius X (Ga.)
Cheyenne Wallace, Sierra Canyon (Calif.)
Crystal Dangerfield, Blackman (Tenn.)
Aliyah Mazyck, Myers Park (N.C.)
Erin Boley, Elizabethtown (Ky.)
Nakiah Bell, Incarnate Word Academy (Mo.)
Napheesa Collier, Incarnate Word Academy (Mo)
Most Outstanding Player: McKenna Treece, Incarnate Word Academy (MO)
Here's a closer look at four standouts from the tournament:
Kalani Brown, Salmen, La.: The 6-foot-4 4undeclared junior and the No. 13 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Super 60 simply changes the tempo of the game with her presence. Outstanding on the left block, she finishes plays with consistency. Although not as effective on the other side of the rim, her defensive ability to block shots makes the other team settle for jump shots rather than driving in the lane. Brown finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks in Salmen's 48-36 win over previously ranked Toledo Rogers (Ohio) in the National Division final. She has helped her team to get off to a 13-1 record.
Aliyah Mazyck, Myers Park (N.C.): The fast-rising junior prospect has one mission with the ball in her hands -- find the rim. Superb in an up-tempo game, the 5-9 point guard has the size, scoring ability and body control to score in bunches. A consistent mid-range game is the key for Mazyck to make the jump to the upper echelon of the 2015 class.
Reauna Cleaver, Elizabethtown (Ky.): The undeclared junior emerged from the Naples Holiday Shootout as one of the most improved interior prospects in the junior class. With efficient footwork and the ability to finish around the rim with either hand, Cleaver would be a great addition to many college programs.
Kennedy Burke, Sierra Canyon (Calif.): The No. 47 prospect in the Super 60 was superb in the Shootout, helping her team defeat No. 25 Elizabethtown (Ky.) 62-48. Burke is a versatile 6-1 point/forward who handles the ball in transition, manufactures with consistency and involves her teammates. Sierra Canyon improved to 10-1 due in part to the efforts of Burke.