Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guru's Summer League Report: Columbia Blue A.K.A. West Chester Still Perfect

(Guru’s note: The WNBA roundup post is just above this one.)

By Mel Greenberg

HATBORO, Pa. – In its rules covering NCAA sanctioning of summer basketball leagues, the national organization governing collegiate sports places no limit on how many players from the same Division II and Division III schools can be on the same team.

So far togetherness is proving to be a helpful commodity for Division II West Chester University competing as Columbia Blue in the Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s NCAA Summer Basketball League here at the Kelly Bolish Gym, which is also the home of the AAU Renegades near Willow Grove.

Columbia Blue (3-0) on the fourth night of play became the only unbeaten left in the 11-team standings after emerging Tuesday with a narrow 51-49 victory over Lime Green (1-3), a team dominated by Division II Philadelphia University players.

The two schools in the winter compete in separate conferences with West Chester playing in the Eastern Division of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference while Philadelphia University is in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.

Columbia Blue now holds a narrow half-game lead over three other teams who are at 3-1.

Most of the games Tuesday were competitive to the finish causing many of the spectators who tore themselves away from viewing the Phillies-Boston Red Sox baseball matchup to remark how enjoyable it is to watch the teams in the league battle.

For those who haven’t yet it made it here, there are five games each Tuesday and Thursday nights with doubleheaders beginning at 7 p.m. before the nightcaps start at 8:15 p.m. along with a third single game.

There won’t be any games next Tuesday, however, because it immediately follows the July 4th Holiday.

Incidentally, each night one of the 11 teams gets a bye and Columbia Blue has already had its time off, which is why it has one less number of games in its won-loss record than most of the other teams.

The game with Lime Green went to the final seconds and Columbia Blue finally got the win when the opposition missed a chance to force overtime as the clock ticked down to zero.

Gold (3-1), which has several Division II Kutztown players, also started the night unbeaten but dropped a 49-41 setback to Royal Blue (3-1), a team dominated by Division II Holy Family players, who were able to stay right behind the frontrunner.

A year ago a Holy Family-dominated squad reached the best-of-three finals for the first time but lost 2-0, though the games were close.

Columbia Blue got 22 points from West Chester senior Allison Hostetter, the high individual scoring total of the night that was matched in another game by Purple’s Erin Shields, a sophomore next season at Division I St. Joseph’s.

Steph Keys, an incoming freshman on the Golden Rams, and junior Carly Strickland each scored 11 points.

Stephanie Agger, a sophomore next season at Philadelphia University, scored 14 points, while sophomore Samantha Morris scored 13.

All class designations in these posts for active collegiate players reflect their status when classes resume in the fall.

In Royal Blue’s win over Gold, Division III Delaware Valley incoming freshman Grace Mirack scored nine points, while Holy Family sophomore Mary Ellen McCollum scored eight points and her incoming junior Tigers teammate Ana Cruz scored eight points.

Cruz played at Harcum College on the Maine Line last season and scored a career 1,000 points in her two-year stint.

Hilary Weaver, a sophomore at Division I Lehigh, scored eight points for Gold, while her Mountain Hawks junior teammate Becky Guman scored 6 points as did Kutztown junior Stephanie Zewe.

In a game between two winless teams, Purple (1-3) got off the goose egg on the left side of the won-loss column in the standings by edging White 76-75 on the strength of Shields’ 22 points besides 15 from recent La Salle grad Ashley Gale, who was voted the Big Five’s most improved playerafter last season, and 14 points from St. Joseph’s sophomore Shelby Smith.

Incidentally Purple’s Launa Hochstetler is a 2009 graduate of Valparaiso, who actually lives in Berlin, Ohio, near Akron, but is spending the summer in the Philadelphia area.

Hochstetler has played internationally overseas in Holland and the point guard is fourth in career assists at Valparaiso with 369.

As for the White team (0-3) in the loss to Purple, Villanova senior Laura Sweeney scored 21 points, while her Wildcats teammate junior Jesse Carey scored 15 points and Division II University of Sciences Brianne Taub scored 14 points.

Taub is listed as a projected 2017 graduate because of the nature of the academic program at USP, which dominates the White roster.

Orange (3-1) had the one lopsided win of the night to stay in range of the leaders after beating Team Black 50-38 as Villanova sophomore Emily Leer had 16 points and Lehigh sophomore Marisa Repasch scored 11.

Emily Gratch, a Lehigh senior, had 10 points for Team Black (2-2) as did recent Division III Swarthmore graduate Kathryn Stockbower, who holds the Division III record for double doubles.

In the other game of the night Teal (2-2), dominated by former Temple stars, many of whom played with WNBA All-Star Candice Dupree, won a narrow 57-53 victory over Cardinal Red (0-3), the only other winless team besides White in the standings.

Former Temple star Khadijah Bowens scored 12 points; while another former Owls star Ashley Morris scored 11 as did former Drexel scoring sensation Michelle Maslowski.

Alex Smith, a sophomore out of Division I Holy Cross, had 12 points for Cardinal Red, Division III Chestnut Hill grad Chant’al Hardy (2010) had 11 points, incoming Colgate freshman Stephanie Schultz scored scored 11 and Lafayette junior Alicia Manning scored 10 points.

Kelly Green (2-1) had the bye. The squad includes St. Joseph’s senior Katie Kuester and Villanova juniors Devon Kane and Megan Person along with Lafayette senior Sarah McGorry and Leopards incoming freshman Kelly Loughney.

On Thursday night when Kelly Green returns to action it will meet the Columbia Blue (3-0) frontrunners at 8:15 p.m. on Court 2. In the other games beginning with the 7 p.m. doubleheader starts, Black (2-2) meets White (0-3) on Court 1, while Lime Green (1-3) meets Purple (1-3) on Court 2 before the Columbia Blue-Kelly Green game.

The 8:15 p.m. game on Court 1 has Cardinal Red (0-3) against Gold (3-1) while the solo game played 8:15 p.m. on Court 3 has Orange (3-1) against Royal Blue (3-1).

Teal (2-2) has the bye.

Here are the updated standings by the Guru’s calculations:

Team ………………..W-L…….PF…….PA…….Pct.
Columbia Blue……..3-0…….179……149…...1.000
Royal Blue………… 3-1……..246…….212…..0.750
Kelly Green………. 2-1……..216…….198…..0.667
Lime Green………...1-3……..209……..234….0.250
Cardinal Red……....0-3……..186……..220….0.000

-- Mel


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