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Archive for Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dr. J’s pep talk buoys girls’ leader

March 27, 2008

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— Julius Erving gave Brooklyn Pope a pep talk after the Rutgers recruit had a miserable performance in a three-point shooting contest earlier in the week.

It seemed to help the McDonald's All-American come game time.

Pope scored 13 points, and future Rutgers teammate Nikki Speed added nine points, four assists and two steals as the West beat the East, 80-64, in the McDonald's All-American High School Basketball girls game Wednesday night.

"Dr. J gave me a great motivational speech about just keep going no matter what happens," said the 6-2 Pope, who couldn't find her shot in Monday's contest.

Pope looked comfortable and confident Wednesday, playing with Speed, the aptly named point guard.

The two found an instant chemistry, with the highlight play being Speed's over-the-head, no-look pass to a cutting Pope for a layup just before the half.

"I saw Brooklyn on my right, and I didn't think at first (the defense) would actually come near me," Speed said. "I just remembered she was over there and just passed it."

The West built a 24-point lead, and the East never came within double digits down the stretch despite boasting Elena Delle Donne, who will play at UConn next year, and April Sykes, who will also play for Rutgers.

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