WASHINGTON (WDVM) – The members of the Sidwell Friends girls basketball team and their head coach Tamika Dudley eagerly had their eyes glued to ESPN on a projected screen at their school on Tuesday.
The Quakers, who are used to making national headlines this season, erupted in celebration when senior guard and UCLA commit Kiki Rice was announced as a McDonald’s All-America, the first to earn the honor in school history.
“Definitely always been a dream of mine since I’ve started playing basketball,” Rice told WDVM. “So to like you know finally see that happen and see my name on that list is obviously incredible and I think just to share it with my team and my coaches, that’s even more special.”
In December 2020, WDVM introduced you to Rice, junior guard Jadyn Donovan and sophomore forward Kendall Dudley, the team’s big three. In the 2021-22 basketball season, guards sophomore Leah Harmon and junior Kiah Miller, along with strong bench play, have helped push the team to new heights.
“It’s like that extra boost that we really need, like that extra piece that you know people talk about,” Donovan said. “I think they’re definitely underrated and like not talked about as much as like the three of us are but they’re like a very crucial part to our team.”
With a 13-0 record, Sidwell has beaten some of the best teams from all over the nation. On Saturday at the Girls Invitational basketball tournament in Minnesota, the Quakers defeated DeSoto (Texas), 60-55, in the tournament’s title game, coming from behind to earn the win. The victory was Sidwell’s second over DeSoto this season. DeSoto’s roster features seven players committed to high level division I schools.
“We just all came together and we like encourage each other and stuff,” Harmon said. “So I feel like the chemistry off the court like really helps and transfers to the court.”
To earn a spot in the title game, Sidwell beat Hopkins (Minnesota), 67-55. Entering that game, Hopkins had won 90 of its last 91 games. On ESPN’s national rankings of high school girls basketball programs, Hopkins is ranked No. 3, DeSoto is ranked No. 2 and Sidwell comes in at No. 1.
While Sidwell enjoys national accolades and undefeated records, their success isn’t just impacting them. The team received many e-mails from fans, local and across the country and young and old, praising them for their success and thanking them for inspiration.
“Just to see those young girls watching us and feel inspired by us, just makes us all want to work harder and do more like become the number one team for the end of the year,” Kendall Dudley said. “I feel like this starting five and managing school and managing basketball and all of us being black, I think that just is an effort to reach out to younger girls and younger athletes, it feels impactful to younger girls to show that anyone can do anything.”
For Tamika Dudley, this year’s team will be one that she says she’ll cherish forever, for their success on the court, and impact off of it.
“Being able to use your platform to help influence others in a positive way, I’m just happy that they’re embracing that idea,” Tamika Dudley said. “And they’re representing women’s basketball in such a positive manner.”