CHICAGO — No one could accuse the girls in the McDonald’s All American game of mailing it in.
The East beat the West 89-87 at the United Center on Wednesday night. The West cut a double-digit margin late in the second half to two in the final seconds and a long inbounds pass with 1.6 seconds remaining allowed the East to dribble out the clock.
The East opened up a big lead in part because of 11 second-half turnovers by the West.
The West trailed by 14 with 5:25 remaining, but the West closed to within 87-84 as Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) guard Katie Lou Samuelson hit a three with 32 seconds left. Samuelson missed an attempt to tie the game on a three with 13 seconds remaining.
Notre Dame signee Marina Mabrey (Manasquan, N.J.) had 12 points and six rebounds for the East and shared co-MVP honors with Tennessee signee Te’a Cooper (McEachern; Powder Springs, Ga.) from the West. Cooper had 21 points, two short of the game’s scoring record. Nineteen of her 21 points came in the first half.
“The coaches set the tone early for it to be competitive. Everyone was expecting it,” Mabrey said.
The East led 13-2 to start the game but the West roared back and took a three-point lead into halftime.
After trailing by three to start the second half, the East team was bolstered by aggressive rebounding to open the lead.
For the East, Asia Durr, a Louisville signee from St. Pius X (Atlanta), had 14 points, seven in each half.
Samuelson had 12 points and six rebounds and her future UConn teammate Napheesa Collier, from Incarnate Word (St. Louis, Mo.), had 10 points and eight rebounds. Stephanie Watts, a North Carolina signee from Weddington (Matthews, N.C.), showed off agile moves late in the game and finished with 19 points.