YORK — Ivory Latta, a former All-American at York Comprehensive High School, made her presence felt in a huge way in the point guard’s first appearance in the WNBA All-Star game.
Latta, whose jersey has been retired at YCHS and UNC-Chapel Hill, scored 15 points for the East All-Stars. Despite Latta’s performance in Saturday’s nationally-televised game, the West All-Stars rallied from behind to win 102-98.
Former University of Tennessee basketball great Candace Parker scored a record 23 points in leading the West team to victory in her first WNBA All-Star appearance.
Although Latta wasn’t voted to the starting lineup, the former Lady Cougar sensation earned more playing time than several of the starters once she got into the flow of the game.
Shortly after entering the game, she wasted little time before scoring on her signature shot, a floater in the lane.
After trailing for much of the first quarter, the East All-Stars knotted the score at 25 on a three-point shot by Latta moments before the quarter ended.
An assist by Latta allowed her teammate to score and moved the East team ahead 35-31 midway through the second quarter.
It was during the second quarter that ABC analyst Rebecca Lobo focused on Latta’s excitement from the bench as the cameras captured No. 12 cheering her teammates.
“Ivory is a leader on the court with a positive outlook all of the time,” Lobo said.
Latta hit another 3-pointer in the third quarter, staking the East to a 72-69 lead and prompting East head coach Lin Dunn to comment during a timeout, “Ivory is a great little point guard. It’s her first All-Star game and we want to keep getting the ball to her for the three-point shot.”
During the timeout, Dunn diagrammed a play designed to get the ball to Latta. When the play was executed moments later, resulting in another Latta 3-pointer from right of the circle, Dunn yelled, “That’s what I want!”
The game continued to seesaw, with Latta’s basket with 5:58 left in the fourth quarter expanding the East lead to 88-84.
But it was not to be as the West team rallied to win.
Latta ended her breakout career at YCHS as the all-time leading scorer in the history of high school basketball in South Carolina, male or female.
She holds multiple scoring records in the Palmetto State, including:
Most career points, 4,319; points in a season, 1,248; most free throws in a season, 273; most 3-pointers in a season, 165; best free throw percentage in a season, 85.3 percent; 30-plus points in a season, 25 games; most 40-plus points in a season, 21; 50-plus points in a season, 8; most points in a single game, 70; most 3-point shots in a game, 14; consecutive free throws in a game, 34; most points in a state championship game, 47; most 3-pointers in a state championship game, 8; most free throws in a state championship game, 17.
In an upset win over first-place Chicago prior to Saturday’s All-Star game, Latta also had a monster game for the Washington Mystics, scoring 18 points while dishing out 13 assists.
The Mystics return to action Friday at Chicago at 8:30 p.m. and will host Los Angeles Sunday at 4 p.m.
Area Latta fans can follow the McConnells native’s WNBA career by accessing the Washington Mystics website at www.washingtonmystics.com. Go to the LiveAccess link for game updates.
Sunday’s home game with Los Angeles will be carried on the NBA network.