UT signees aid East to victory at 2017 McDonald’s all-american game

CHICAGO, Ill. – Lady Vol signee Evina Westbrook scored 10 points for the West, but the future UT trio of Anastasia Hayes, Rennia Davis and Kasiyahna Kushkituah contributed to an 80-74 come-from-behind overtime victory for the East squad Wednesday night in the McDonald’s All-American Game at the United Center.

Westbrook, a 6-0 guard from Salem, Ore. (South Salem H.S.) started and helped the West forge 15-12, 34-26 and 52-49 leads after the first three quarters, respectively, before the East forced OT and pulled away for the win. In 19 minutes of action, she connected on three of six shots from the field and went four of four on free throws to tally 10 points and rank as her team’s second-leading scorer. The nation’s No. 2 ranked recruit, Westbrook also added four rebounds, a team-leading four assists and a steal.

Hayes, a 5-7 guard from Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Riverdale H.S.), and Kushkituah, a 6-4 post from Austell, Ga. (St. Francis H.S.), earned starting nods for the East and played 20 and 16 minutes, respectively. Davis, a 6-2 guard from Jacksonville, Fla. (Ribault H.S.), logged 13 minutes of duty in reserve.

Davis made good use of her time off the bench, contributing eight points, five boards, two steals and a block. She finished three of seven from the field, including an 0-for-1 day beyond the arc, and knocked down both charity attempts.

Hayes also kicked in eight points, hitting one of three field goal tries and all six free throw attempts. She added four rebounds, an assist and a steal. Kushkituah contributed four points, on two-of-three shooting, three boards and a block.

Tennessee was the only school with more than two players participating in the 2017 McDonald’s All-American Game, and it marked only the third time in school history that the Lady Vols had four or more signees taking part in the event.

The last time it occurred was in 2008, when Alyssia BrewerAmber GrayGlory JohnsonAlicia Manning and Shekinna Stricklen gave UT a group of five at the game. In 2004, Nicky AnosikeAlex FullerAlexis HornbuckleCandace Parker and Sade Wiley-Gatewood provided the Lady Vols their only other McDonald’s class of four or more.

With the addition of the four signees named this year, Tennessee has had 31 total players earn McDonald’s All-American honors. Current team members who played in the game include Diamond DeShieldsJordan Reynolds and Mercedes Russell in 2013; Alexa Middleton and Jaime Nared in 2014 and Te’a Cooper in 2015.

Cooper (co) and Russell were MVPs when they participated. Also among the five Lady Vols to earn MVP honors in the McDonald’s game were Meighan Simmons (2010), Alexis Hornbuckle (2004) and Shanna Zolman (2002).

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