CHICAGO, Ill.—With the eyes of the women’s basketball world about to be focused on Dallas and the NCAA Final Four, the curtain on the scholastic main stage rose for the 16th annual McDonald’s All American game in the Windy City. Three of the four teams making their way to Texas this weekend feature four former McDonald’s players on their roster each and it’s a safe bet many of the 2017 honorees will make their way to the pinnacle of collegiate play once they take their games to campus next season.
While the honor of being named a McDonald’s All American remains the gold standard for high school athletes and the games plus all the surrounding events inevitably become lifetime memories, it’s imperative to keep in mind a bigger picture. With 40 years of boy’s games in the books and now 16 years of play on the girl’s side, profits form the McDonald’s All American games have generated in excess of 11 million dollars for the charities of Ronald McDonald House.
As always, the rosters featured a large majority of the elite players in the 2017 graduating class. Texas led all states with six players while California had four and Georgia claimed three. Four members of this years All American squad are bound for the University of Tennessee and the Lady Vols while Baylor, Connecticut, Louisville, Stanford and Texas will each add two to their line-ups next season. Three conferences can claim the addition of six players from the 2017 McDonald’s ranks. The ACC, Pac-12 and SEC each will each enjoy a half dozen participants from this year’s games. Collectively, the 2017 All Americans posted a combined senior season record of 633 wins and 117 losses.
Blue Star Media Has been on hand in Chicago from the player’s arrival through the final buzzer in Wednesday night’s overtime game in the United Center. For a look at our previous coverage, follow the links below.
Wednesday’s game kept in step with most All Star contests in terms of shaky precision and execution which is understandable given just three practices and a scrimmage were under their belts at tip off. In the end an overtime finish gave those on hand and a viewing audience on ESPN2 some exciting moments as well as a glimpse at some of the future standouts on the collegiate level.
The West got out of the gate early and capitalized on the East’s frosty 23.5 percent shooting from the floor to lead 15 – 12 after one period of play. Chasity Patterson (Texas) had eight in the quarter for the East going 3 of 3 from the floor including 2 for 2 from deep to keep her teammates within reach. The second period saw the West stretch it out some more behind some balanced scoring that led to a 34 – 26 edge at the half. Kianna Williams (Stanford) had five points to aid the cause while six other finished the first 16 minutes of play with four. The East continued to struggle from the floor making just 8 of 31 attempts in the first half.
The third period saw some thawing of the rims for the East as they went 10 for 21 and narrowed the gap to three trailing just 52 – 49 entering the final quarter. Rellah Boothe(Texas), Megan Walker (UConn) and Rennia Davis (Tennessee), who all had just two points each in the first half, combined for 17 to set up a run down the home stretch for McDonald’s bragging rights. Boothe, the eventual MVP, was 3 for 4 from three point range in the final period leading to a 69 all tie after both teams missed opportunities to claim the win in the closing seconds. Four turnovers and 1 for 4 shooting did in the West squad in the three minute extra period as the East knocked down 3 of 5 on their way to an 80 – 74 win.
In the victory the East finally warmed up from the floor (to a degree) finishing 28 of 73 for 38.4 percent as a team. The East was 28 of 69 but gave up 4 more three pointers as well as giving away 2 points more at the free throw line. Their 16 of 27 effort at the line (59.3%) was not the answer against the East’s 18 – 23 evening. The boards belonged to the East 53 – 42 but they did turn it over 20 times to just 18 for the West who lost despite leading by 13 at one point in the game.
Boothe finished with 18 points, 16 of those coming in the second half and overtime. The future Texas Longhorn was 6 of 12 from the floor including a 4 for 7 slate from behind the arch. The Florida native also led the way on the glass for the East finishing with 9 boards, 4 of which were on the offensive end. Future teammate Chasity Patterson had a complete game finishing with 14 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and even 2 blocks from the point. Megan Walker was the final East player in double figures contributing 13 points but struggling from the floor at 6 for 17 on the night. The West got 11 points and 6 rebounds from Loretta Kakala (Louisville) while Evina Westbrook (Tennessee) added 10 points along with 4 assists and 4 rebounds.
For a complete box score from the 2017 McDonald’s All American Game follow the link below.
In addition to Boothe being named the John R. Wooden Most Valuable Player two other individuals were recognized and honored in connection with the 2017 McDonald’s Game. Evina Westbrook (Salem, Ore.) was named the Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year prior to arriving in Chicago. The Morgan Wootten Award is given annually to the McDonald’s All American who best exhibits outstanding character, leadership and the values of a student-athlete in the classroom and the community. At halftime of Wednesday’s game, Maya Dodson (Alpharetta, Ga.) was named the winner of the Jack Daly Sportsmanship Award for 2017 named for the former vice president of McDonald’s Global Communications. The award is voted on by the players and coaches. Dodson’s play was inhibited during the actual game after taking a hard shot to the face in the first half.
Below are 2017 game images and stats for all 24 McDonald’s All Americans shown alphabetically.