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Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Tennessee recruits lead West to McDonald's win

By Andrew Linnehan
Special to espnW

Kaela Davis and Linnae Harper
Linnae Harper and the West pulled away from Kaela Davis and the East at the McDonald's All American Games.
CHICAGO -- A pair of Tennessee recruits from the state of Oregon dished out a dose of double trouble for the West squad at the McDonald's All American Games on Wednesday night at the United Center.

Mercedes Russell of Springfield (Ore.) and Jordan Reynolds of Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.) both had double-doubles as the West defeated the East 92-64.

Russell scored a game-high 16 points and also grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

"Before I came here, I was working on my shot," said Russell, the No. 1 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100 for the class of 2013. "There haven't been a lot of practices since the high school season ended, so I had to make sure I was ready to get my shot up."

There wasn't a trace of rust, as Russell not only scored prolifically but also proficiently, needing only 10 attempts to make her seven field goals. Reynolds, the No. 42 prospect in the nation, scored 10 points and had 11 rebounds.

"It felt great to be out there with her," Reynolds said. "We're so familiar with each other, both playing in Oregon and all, and I think that helped in an all-star game where not everyone knows each other that well."

The two will become even closer the next four years, as they are both set to join Holly Warlick's program at Tennessee next fall.

"Mercedes is such a great player, she deserves all of the awards she gets," Reynolds said. "I'm really excited that I can continue to play with her at the next level."

Mercedes Russell
Mercedes Russell scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds on Wednesday.

Reynolds, however, will be parting ways with high school teammate Kailee Johnson, a Stanford commit and the third McDonald's All American from Oregon. Johnson contributed four points and three rebounds for the West.

The West jumped out to a 31-13 lead before the East rallied to cut the deficit to 45-35 at halftime. The East's Kaela Davis, a Georgia Tech recruit, led all scorers at the half with 10 points, while Russell paced the West with eight points and seven rebounds.

Also with eight points for the West at the break was Rebecca Greenwell of Owensboro Catholic (Ky.), who drilled two 3-pointers before leaving with an apparent right knee injury. Greenwell, a Duke signee, missed her junior season recovering from a torn ACL to that same knee. She left the arena on crutches.

With her knee wrapped in ice, Greenwell looked on from the bench as her West squad pulled away.

Linnae Harper of Chicago's Whitney Young had a hand in the West's dominance. She finished with eight points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals in front of her hometown crowd.

"To play in Chicago in front of my friends and family was so great," said Harper, a Kentucky commit. "Surprisingly I wasn't really that nervous. You live for these moments. I was more excited than nervous."

Diamond DeShields led the East with 15 points, and fellow North Carolina commit Stephanie Mavunga had a game-high 13 rebounds.