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, July 27, 2011

Guru's Summer League Report: Playoff Field Settled Off Five-Way Tie For 4th At 5-5

(Guru’s note: The WNBA Roundup is above this post.)

By Mel Greenberg

The eight-team playoff field was set Tuesday night on the final day of the regular season without tiebreakers needed for Thursday night’s quarterfinals in the Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s NCAA Summer Basketball League at Kelly Bolish Gymnasium – home of the AAU Renegades – near Willow Grove.

However, though three of the 11 teams had eliminated themselves, five within the field tied for fourth with 5-5 records and had Columbia Blue not tied for second with Gold at 6-4 it would have been a six-way gridlock for third.

“How’s that for parity?” smiled veteran commissioner David Kessler while working out the tiebreakers for seeds.

The big story was White, dominated by Division II University of the Sciences players, which started 0-4 but went 5-1 the rest of the way and earned the fifth seed after Tuesday’s 68-62 win over Gold as Brianne Traub scored 16 points and Villanova redshirt junior Laura Sweeney scored 13 points.

Gold (6-4) had already clinched a second seed because of its win over Columbia Blue, composed entirely of Division II West Chester players.

In the loss to White Tuesday, Becky Guman, a Lehigh sophomore, scored 23 points, her Mountain Hawks sophomore teammate Hilary Weaver scored 20 points, and Division II Bloomsburg senior Courtney Nyce scored 13 points.

Columbia Blue, in its 67-63 win over Cardinal Red, got 15 points from West Chester sophomore Alexandra Lennon, 12 from incoming freshman Steph Keyes, and 12 also from incoming freshman Kendall Bonovy.

Incoming Colgate freshman Stephanie Schultz scored 14 points and Kaitlin Cole, a Holy Cross junior, scored 12 for Cardinal Red (3-7), which finished 10th and would have needed a longshot set of scenarios to qualify.

Royal Blue (5-5) avoided elimination tie-breakers with a 70-60 upset of sorts over Purple (5-5) to get the eighth seed as Division II Holy Family sophomore Carolyne Heston scored 17 points and recent Tigers grad Meghan Gibson scored 13.

A year ago the Holy Family group reached the finals on a series of upsets.

Purple (5-5) got 18 points from St. Joseph’s junior Shelby Smith and 17 from Hawks sophomore Erin Shields.

Despite the loss, Purple at 3-1 against the teams in the tie, got the fourth seed.

Teal (5-5) rolled over Lime Green 92-46 as Drexel 2002 graduate Michelle Maslowski, one of the Dragons’ all-time scorers, had one of the summer’s top performances with 34 points and 2008 Temple grad Ashley Morris scored 30 to earn the sixth seed.

The squad has several former stars who played for the Owls and player-coach Ari Moore promised to round up as many as can be found to head for Knoxville, Tenn., next June when former Temple coach Dawn Staley, now at South Carolina, is inducted to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Lime Green (2-8), which had already been eliminated, in the loss to Teal, got 17 points from Division II Philadelphia University sophomore Samantha Morris and 10 points from her sophomore teammate Megan Finn.

Orange (5-5) had the bye and landed the seventh seed.

In the other Tuesday night game Kelly Green (9-1) which finished first outright by three games to get the top seeds ruined any shot for Black (4-6) to make the playoffs by getting a 78-32 win as St. Joseph’s senior Katie Kuester scored 16 points, Villanova junior Megan Pearson scored 12, and Lafayette senior Sarah McGorry scored 10 points.

Black, which finished 10th, got 12 points from Sheperd senior Jenn Prine and had already clinched first and 10 from Millersville junior Shira Newman.

Playoff schedule

On Thursday night at 7 p.m. No. 1 Kelly Green meets No. 8 Royal Blue on Court 1. Kelly Green won 78-64 in their previous meeting. At the same time No. 6 Teal will meet No. 3 Columbia Blue on Court 2 trying to avenge a 73-60 loss in their previous meeting.

At 8:15 on Court 1 No. 7 Orange will meet No. 2 Gold, which waa a 61-48 winner in the season opener on June 16th.
At the same time on Court 2 No. 5 White meets No. 4 Purple, which emerged with a narrow 76-75 win when they met at the end of June.

Next Tuesday the highest surviving seed will meet the lowest at 7 p.m. on Court 1, where at 8:15 p.m. the other two survivors will meet on Court 1.

The best-of-three finals, all at 7 p.m., will be on Court 1 Thursday, August 4, Tuesday, August 9th, and, if necessary Thursday, August 11th.

Quickie Final Standings

Kelly Green 9-1
Gold 6-4
Columbia Blue 6-4
Purple 5-5
White 5-5
Teal 5-5
Orange 5-5
Royal Blue 5-5
Black 4-6
Cardinal Red 3-7
Lime Green 2-8.

-- Mel


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