Bonus awards from McDonald's game
CHICAGO -- Notre Dame recruit Brianna Turner, the No. 2 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100, was named MVP of the 2014 McDonald's All American Game on Wednesday night after scoring 10 points, including the game-winner in the West's 80-78 win. She also grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots.
But now it's our turn to hand out some awards from the annual showcase of the nation's best high school girls' basketball players.
UCLA recruit Jordin Canada set a McDonald's All American Game record by dishing out seven assists for the West. "It's the point guard's job to get people involved," she said. "I wasn't trying to set a record or anything, I just wanted to play my game." Canada's record-setting assist was on Turner's game-winning basket. The Windward (Los Angeles) star and the No. 6 prospect in the 2014 class filled up the stat sheet by adding 10 points, six rebounds and four steals.
Florida State recruit Shakayla Thomas, a 5-foot-11 guard from Sylacauga (Ala.), led all scorers with 19 points. Thomas scored the first four points of the game for the East, initially with a step-back jumper from 15 feet and then to the rim on a dribble-drive finish. The No. 12 prospect in the class attacked the rim in transition and, as advertised, flourished in the uptempo game. After scoring 11 in the first half, Thomas turned it on down the stretch with six straight points and was almost able to lift her team to the win.
Best moves in the paint
Duke recruit Lynee' Belton, a 6-foot-2 center from the Bullis School (Maryland), was able to finish inside versus contact consistently throughout the game for the East. The No. 10 prospect in the 2014 class, finished inside with contact consistently during the game. She finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, displaying superb footwork.
The first McDonald's All American from Nebraska, Chatrice White, had a big hand in the West's win by battling consistently on the glass and grabbing with nine rebounds. The 6-3 center from Shelby (Neb.) added six points and showed off the blue-collar game that will be on display in the state regularly when she joins the Fighting Illini.
South Carolina recruit Bianca Cuevas, a 5-6 point guard from Nazareth (N.Y.), set off quite a few murmurs in the crowd. With an offensive game tailor-made for an all-star game, the No. 44 prospect in the class made a number of dazzling passes in traffic and hit the 3-pointer of the game, from 22 feet.
The spotlight was certainly brightest on A'ja Wilson, the No. 1 prospect in the nation and the lone undeclared player in the game. The 6-5 forward from Heathwood Hall (S.C.), who lists her finalists as Connecticut, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, had 10 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and three steals for the East.
A balanced attack was one of the keys to the West's win. Joining Turner and Canada on the double-digit scoring list were Tennessee signee Jaime Nared (15 points), Texas-bound Ariel Atkins (12 points) and California signee, Mikayla Cowling (10 points). Each was able to show off her mid-range jump shot with a sense of ease. It's a good thing, too. The West was 0 for 20 from 3-point range for the game.