New UCLA guard Kiki Rice named MaxPreps National Female Athlete of the Year
Just a few weeks before moving to Westwood, an incoming Bruin added one last trophy to their shelf before reaching the collegiate ranks.
Rising UCLA basketball freshman guard Kiki Rice was named MaxPreps National Female High School Athlete of the Year, the outlet announced Tuesday. The award is given to the nation’s top high school athlete in all sports, and Rice received the award thanks to her efforts on and off the court.
“It’s an incredible honor to win this award,” Rice told MaxPreps over the phone while at Team USA basketball camp in Colorado. “We’ve had such a great year in basketball and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But I’m so glad I stuck with football.
Rice was the No. 2 girls basketball recruit in the country and a consensus five-star prospect, according to espnW. The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 15.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game for Sidwell Friends (DC) while leading the Quakers to a 30-0 record and a national championship.
Earlier this offseason, Rice was named Gatorade Player of the Year and Naismith Player of the Year. All of this led to Rice appearing at the McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago, where she became co-MVP alongside fellow UCLA player Gabriela Jaquez.
Rice and Jaquez were two of the headliners for Coach Cori Close’s top recruit class in the nation, and they are participating in a program that has produced four Sweet 16s and one Elite Eight in the last seven postseasons.
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However, the basketball aspect of Rice’s senior year was only half of the equation in her winner of the year, as she also excelled as a soccer player for Sidwell Friends.
Rice led the Quakers with 15 goals and finished her football career with 97 goals in 51 games. Her success in both sports helped set Rice apart from the other 11 finalists for the MaxPreps award.
Rice accepted the honor and joined several other basketball stars who have won it in the past, including Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike and Paige Bueckers. Following in her footsteps would mean a long list of college-level honors and a future in the WNBA.
Rice has a chance to win her third gold medal with Team USA at the Women’s Americas Championship in Argentina this month and she will join the Bruins shortly thereafter.
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