UCLA's Kiki Rice, Londynn Jones help USA Basketball to gold at U18 Women's Americas Championship
Kiki Rice is going to run out of shelf space soon with all the trophies she continues to pile up. And the UCLA career hasn’t even begun yet.
The incoming freshman guard, along with fellow classmate Londynn Jones, helped to lead the USA Basketball U18 National Team to a gold medal at the 2022 FIBA U18 Women’s Americas Championship. Rice scored 18 points while Jones recorded 15 and five boards in the 82-77 win over Canada in Sunday’s championship game.
— USABJNT (@usabjnt) June 20, 2022
Rice was selected the tournament MVP and named to the All-Star 5 after finishing the tournament first in assists (24 total), second in scoring (14.3), and third in shooting percentage (49.2%). Jones finished just behind Rice in assists with 23, and she tied for the team lead with 12 steals while scoring 7.2 points a game. Rice and Jones started in all six wins for the U.S.
The U.S. went 3-0 in group play, outscoring their opponents, 280-98. In Game 1 against Colombia, Rice scored stuffed the box score with 16 points, seven dimes, six boards, and four steals. Jones logged seven points, six assists, and four rebounds in the 81-29 win.
In the knock-out rounds, the U.S. took care of Mexico in the quarterfinals, 77-41. Rice scored 14 points and grabbed six boards. Jones added five boards and three assists. Both Bruins scored in double-figures in the 84-40 semifinal win over Brazil, as Rice led all players with 22 points while Jones contributed 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
The gold medal for the U.S. is their 11th all-time at the FIBA U18 Americas.
For Rice, it’s her third gold medal with USA Basketball. She earned gold at the 2022 FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup and the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. The 5-foot-11 guard from Sidwell Friends School in D.C. has also earned the 2022 Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award to go with the 2022 Naismith High School Girls Player of the Year honor, the 2022 MaxPreps National Female High School Athlete of the Year award, and the McDonald’s All-American game MVP. She’s the No. 2 player in the 2022 class, per ESPN.
The 5-foot-6 Jones also won gold at the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship alongside Rice. This past season, she was named a WBCA High School All-American after averaging 25.2 points a game for Corona (Calif.) Centennial. She put up 30 seven times and 40 twice.
The Bruins’ star-studded 2022 class also includes forward and top-20 recruit Gabriela Jaquez, post player and top-50 recruit Christeen Iwuala, and 6-foot-4 post Lina Sontag.