Allisha Gray.

Recap: Team Hillmon rides early lead to 94-80 victory against Team Smith

© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Jonathan Louie
Eric Rhew
Mar 17, 2023

DALLAS — Wearing the purple jersey has not been very lucky for teams in Athletes Unlimited Basketball this season. But, don’t tell that to Team Hillmon.

Less than 48 hours after opening its Week Four schedule with a loss against Team Sims, the purple-clad squad used a strong first half and held off a comeback bid from Team Smith to secure a 94-80 victory in the opener of Friday’s doubleheader at Fair Park Coliseum.

Forward Danni McCray secured game MVP honors for the first time in her Athletes Unlimited career after notching a career-high 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. McCray, who also added eight rebounds, set a career high with 542 leaderboard points.

The dynamic duo of guard Allisha Gray and forward Naz Hillmon closed out the MVP trio for Team Hillmon, combining to score 48 points with 16 rebounds. Gray and Hillmon teamed up to make 18-of-32 shots from the field and were a combined 11-for-12 at the free throw line.

Gray also grabbed three rebounds with four assists to claim MVP 2 notice and a game-high 558 leaderboard points. Hillmon, meanwhile, garnered MVP 3 distinction and 549 leaderboard points after posting her fifth double-double of the year with a game-high 13 rebounds.

Forward NaLyssa Smith and guard Kelsey Mitchell each tallied 24 points in the loss for Team Smith, which was held to just 39.7 percent shooting from the field (27-of-68).


Trailing by a 29-27 margin, Team Hillmon closed the first half with a commanding 23-5 run to head into the break with a 50-34 lead it did not relinquish. Hillmon and McCray combined to score 10 of the team’s points during the surge.


Hillmon moved into third place on the league’s leaderboard with 4,446 points following her third game with 500 or more leaderboard points this season. Gray elevated her position by three spots and stands 10th in the league standings pending the second game of Friday’s doubleheader.


  • Team Hillmon became just the second team donning the purple uniform to secure a victory this season … The other win came on March 3 when Team Hillmon downed Team Harrison by an 87-76 count.

  • Team Hillmon and Team Smith combined to make 17 three-pointers in Friday’s opener, increasing the league’s season total to 316 triples through 21 games … Aspiration is committed to planting 10 trees for every three-pointer made during the season as part of its ‘Trees for Threes’ initiative.

  • Both teams issued a challenge during the game … Team Smith challenged an out-of-bounds call with 2:35 remaining in the third quarter, which was successful … Team Hillmon, meanwhile, challenged a foul called against Hillmon with 2:24 remaining in the period, which was unsuccessful … Teams are now 12-for-27 (.444) in captain’s challenges.

  • Forward Theresa Plaisance has posted at least one blocked shot in nine consecutive games and has 19 blocks this season … She also took over the top spot on the Athletes Unlimited Basketball single-season and career blocked shot ledgers with her two rejections against Team Smith on Friday.

  • Gray netted 10 points in the first quarter to mark her ninth double-digit scoring output in 10 games this season … She also posted her fifth 20-point game of the campaign.

  • Hillmon ran her streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures to eight in a row after tallying 17 points in the first half.

  • Hillmon surpassed the 20-point mark for the second time this year … She also tallied 33 points against Team Harrison on March 3.

  • Mitchell posted her 10th double-digit scoring effort in 11 games this year with her 24 points, including 14 in the first half … Mitchell has now scored 10 or more points in 21-of-22 career Athletes Unlimited games and has 12 efforts of 20 or more points.

  • McCray reached double figures in scoring for the second time this season and the fifth time in her Athletes Unlimited career with 19 points, surpassing her previous career high of 18 points against Team Carrington on Jan. 28, 2022.

  • Smith owns 11 straight double-digit scoring efforts after fashioning 24 points in Friday’s opener … She also posted her ninth game of 20 or more points, which matches guard Odyssey Sims for the league lead heading into Friday’s nightcap.

  • Smith was held to just eight rebounds in the loss, marking the second time in 11 games this year she failed to grab 10 or more caroms.

  • Guard Natasha Cloud finished with 16 points to earn her eighth double-digit scoring performance of the season, including her third in the last four games … Cloud netted 11 of her 16 points in the second half.


  • #1 – Danni McCray (Team Hillmon, +90)
  • #2 – Allisha Gray (Team Hillmon, +60)
  • #3 – Naz Hillmon (Team Hillmon, +30)

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