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Kiki Rice, Gabriela Jaquez star at McDonald’s All-American game

Kiki Rice and Gabriela Jaquez were named co-MVPs. (Provided by McDonald’s.)

CHICAGO — With 4:37 remaining in the second quarter of the McDonald’s All-American game Tuesday, the East held a comfortable 15-point lead over the West. Gabriela Jaquez, seeking to provide a spark for the West, drove hard to the basket, but defender Talaysia Cooper (East Clarendon High School; Turbeville, S.C.), a South Carolina signee, stayed close, forcing the UCLA signee to settle for a tough shot in the paint.

Camarillo did not have many of those in her four years at Adolfo Camarillo High School (Camarillo, Calif.), where she scored more than 1,100 points and averaged 34.2 points per game as a senior. That degree of offensive success takes discipline, but it also means understanding that all the shots you take won’t land.

Indeed, the ball clanked off the rim. West teammate Isuneh Brady (Cathedral Catholic High School; San Diego, Calif.), a UConn commit, snagged the offensive rebound, though, and every East player on the court paid attention to the ball, allowing Jaquez to slip down to the corner. Brady passed it out to Arizona signee Maya Nnaji (Hopkins High School; Hopkins, Minn.) at the top of the key, and Nnaji swung it to the wide-open Jaquez.

Jaquez for three. Swoosh.

The 6-foot forward poured in a team-high 17 points in the East’s 95-75 victory and logged almost 25 minutes on the court, more than any player on either team.

Jacquez’s performance against top-flight competition pointed to a bright future at UCLA, where she’ll team up with JWS Player of the Year Kiki Rice, who also scored 17 points and with whom she shared co-MVP honors.

“To be co-MVP with my future UCLA teammate just makes the experience so much more special,” Rice said. “I think the future’s bright.”

The East led for a full 40 minutes — a testament to the chemistry of coach Patty Evers’ (East Bladen High School; Elizabethtown, NC) roster, balanced scoring from beyond the arc (with five separate players draining at least one 3-pointer) and Rice’s calm leadership.

Rice set the tone from the onset. Her strengths as a player lie in her ability to keep her composure amid chaos, even when the chaos is playing with 23 of the best basketball players in the senior class.

She recorded five assists and grabbed four defensive rebounds in addition to her scoring output. Jaquez totaled two assists and a steal while pulling down nine rebounds. Both future Bruins were also perfect from the free-throw line.

“Gabs’ and Kiki’s talent is only matched by their work ethic, character and competitive nature,” UCLA coach Cori Close said. “I’m very excited about their future impact on the Bruins.”

The East Team, which also managed to secure a victory in Sunday’s non-televised scrimmage, forced 21 total turnovers in Tuesday’s game and had five players score in double figures.

Cooper, who finished with 15 points, elicited shouts of disbelief from the crowd in the first quarter after crossing over USC signee Aaliyah Gayles (Spring Valley High School; Las Vegas, Nev.) and flying past help defender KK Bransford (Mount Notre Dame High School; Cincinnati; Ohio), a Notre Dame signee, in one of the game’s finer moments of ball-handling.

Ta’Niya Latson (American Heritage High School; Plantation, Fla.), a 5-foot-9 guard bound for Florida State, also dropped 15 points. Perhaps most impressive was her efficiency. She shot over 50 percent on 10 shots, including three 3-pointers.

If Tuesday’s showdown was, in fact, a peak into the future, college basketball might be on the precipice of reaching new heights. The 170 total points scored are believed to be the most in the game’s 19-year history.

Caroline Makauskas is a contributing writer for Just Women’s Sports. She also writes about college basketball for Blue Ribbon Sports and covers a variety of sports on her TikTok @cmakauskas. Follow her on Twitter @cmakauskas.

Esme Morgan Signs With Washington Spirit

Esme Morgan of England inspects the pitch prior to the UEFA Women's EURO 2025 qualifying match between England and France
The England national will join the Spirit in DC on July 15th. (Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

English defender Esme Morgan has signed with the Washington Spirit, the club announced Thursday. 

Morgan had been with WSL side Manchester City since 2017, with one year remaining on her contract. She’ll now make a move to the NWSL, with City receiving a fee for the move. 

"I wanted to join the Spirit because they have the ambition and tools to be the best team in the NWSL, and trying to achieve that will be a great but enjoyable challenge," Morgan said in a club statement.

"On an individual level too, the opportunity to work under Jonatan [Giráldez], one of the world's best coaches, is really exciting and I look forward to learning from him and pushing myself to become the best player I can be, hopefully helping the team to success."

According to ESPN, Morgan’s lack of playing time under City manager Gareth Taylor played a key role in her decision to leave the league championship runners-up. She’ll join the Spirit in Washington, DC on July 15th, but won’t be able to begin play until August. 

Spirit president Mark Krikorian called Morgan an "exceptional talent" and added that the club is "thrilled" to add her to the roster.

"I think she’s pretty talented," Giraldez told reporters on Friday. "A young player with a great future, but with experience already in a great league and with the national team. She’s been surrounded by great players and also great coaches, so she can give us experience."

Ledecky Goes for 4 at Olympic Swimming Trials

Swimmer katie ledecky swimming at Toyota US Open
Decorated swimmer Katie Ledecky is aiming to make her fourth-straight Olympic squad. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

The US Olympic Swimming Trials begin this weekend, running from June 15th through June 23rd in Indianapolis, with Katie Ledecky eyeing her fourth-straight Summer Games.

While traditionally held in Omaha, Indiana's Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, has been fitted with a 50-meter pool to host the meet that will determine the 2024 Paris Olympics roster.

All eyes will be on seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, who will be competing in the 200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1500-meter freestyle — all events in which she’s been an Olympic champion. 

Rival Ariarne Titmus had her trials last week, breaking the world record in the 200-meter freestyle. Ledecky’s 200 is intended to qualify her for the Olympic relay. Meanwhile stateside, Katie Grimes stands to be a challenger in the 1500-meter freestyle has already qualified for the Paris Olympics in the 10km open water event.

Other competitors of note include 47-year-old Gabrielle Rose, who stands to become the oldest US Swimming Olympic qualifier in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke.

Additionally, Kate Douglass — an NCAA and World Champion — is a favorite to make her first Olympic team in the 200-meter IM and 200-meter breaststroke. Simone Manuel, an Olympic champion in the 100-meter freestyle, is also looking to make her third-straight Olympics.

Where to watch: The Trials will be streaming all week on Peacock, with later qualifying heats airing live on USA Network and event finals airing in primetime on NBC.

Orlando and Kansas City Shoot for 13 in NWSL Weekend Action

NWSL's T. Chawinga #6 of the Kansas City Current passes the ball during the first half of their game against the Utah Royals FC
The Kansas City Current hopes to extend its NWSL unbeaten streak to 13 with a win over Chicago. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

The 13th match weekend is fast approaching in the NWSL, with two season-long unbeaten streaks on the line.

League-leaders Kansas City and Orlando will attempt to survive the weekend with their unbeaten runs intact, as the Current host Chicago on Friday and the Pride travel to North Carolina for Saturday's match.

But while Kansas City and Orlando have been the gold standard this year, they're still a number of wins away from tying Washington's record for longest unbeaten streak in a single NWSL season. In 2021, the Spirit went 20 games without a loss en route to the club's first NWSL championship.

Both Gotham and Louisville are carrying momentum into their matchup on Saturday. Louisville is unbeaten in three games, and they’re looking to finally leapfrog Chicago and claim sixth place in the league standings. Gotham, on a seven-game unbeaten run, is into fifth place.

Portland and Seattle will face off in the Cascadia Clash this weekend, with Golden Boot contender Sophia Smith absent, as the decorated forward was shown a red card last weekend for time-wasting on the bench.

The Reign could use a win against their long-time rivals, as a difficult start has 13th-place Seattle registering only two wins amid nine losses so far this season.

Elsewhere in the league, 2024 expansion teams Bay FC and Utah meet for the first time this weekend, as both look to rise from the bottom half of the standings. And Washington will ride a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game against a San Diego side that's earned two hard-fought draws in recent weeks.

Watch more: "Sophia Smith is INNOCENT!" on The Late Sub with Claire Watkins

WNBA All-Star Voting Starts on June 13th

Phoenix Mercury mascot Scorch waving a 2024 WNBA All-Star flag at a 2023 home game.
Phoenix Mercury will host the 20th-annual All-Star Game on July 20th, 2024. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Voting for the 2024 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game opened at 2 PM ET today and runs through June 29th.

All active WNBA players are eligible to make the All-Star Game, set for July 20th in Phoenix. Unlike previous formats that featured two voted-in All-Star squads, this year’s contest pits a single All-Star team against the already-decided Olympic-bound USA Women’s National Team.

Fans can submit a daily ballot nominating up to 10 athletes via or the WNBA App.

Fan-submitted ballots account for 50% of vote, with the other 50% split equally between current WNBA players and members of the media. The top 10 athletes will automatically make the All-Star Game, with league coaches then voting from a pool of the next 36 to complete Team WNBA’s 12-player roster. The final lineup will be announced on July 2nd.

This year's All-Star Game format presents an opportunity for fans to vote for players they might consider Olympic snubs. Indiana rookie Caitlin Clark and Dallas’s Arike Ogunbawole seem like shoo-ins given the discussion surrounding their Olympic omissions, while Connecticut stars Brionna Jones and DeWanna Bonner are also expected to snag All-Star nods.

And after a career-high 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in last night’s 83-75 loss to the Sun, Chicago rookie Angel Reese could also secure a spot.

Regardless, it won't necessarily be smooth sailing for Team USA, as history has tended to favor the underdog. 

The first USA vs. All-Stars matchup took place in 2021, with the league’s squad humbling the Tokyo Olympians 93-85. With 26 points, Ogunbawole was named All-Star Game MVP after barely missing the Olympic cut. Could she and Clark turn the tables on Team USA this year?

Watch more: "Were Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale snubbed?" by Expert Adjacent

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