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.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Guru's Summer League Report: St Joseph's Kuester Leads Kelly Green To Title

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

By Mel Greenberg

It only took seconds after Kelly Green defeated Purple 89-70 for St. Joseph’s senior Katie Kuester to look to 2012 in the Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s NCAA Summer Basketball League at Kelly Bolish Gymnasium – home of the AAU Renegades -- near Willow Grove and proclaim, “Let’s come back next season and go for a three-peat.”

Considering the way St. Joseph’s representatives performed the last two months, things could bode well for the Hawks this winter if they can find a way to stay injury free.

Kelly Green dominated the summer going 9-1 and then blitzing through the playoffs, though Thursday’s action against Purple, that was the fourth seed out of a five-team deadlock at 5-5, was competitive and entertaining before the winners began pulling away near the end of the first half.

Kuester scored 25 points, while Harvard junior Elle Hagedorn, the daughter of Kelly coach Tom Hagedorn assisted by Tom Freedman, scored 19 points. Lafayette senior Sarah McGorry scored 15, incoming Lafayette freshman Emily Homan scored 14, and Villanova junior Megan Pearson scored 10 points.

Purple got 23 points from St. Joseph’s sophomore Erin Shields, 21 from Hawks junior Shelby Smith, and 12 from Connecticut College sophomore Dana Albalancy scored 12 points.

La Salle recent grad Ashley Gale, one of the top scorers in the 11-team league out of the Purple squad, had gotten injured late in the semifinals win over Gold, but although she appeared Thursday on crutches, she said preliminary reports are that she may have only suffered a knee sprain.

Gale is drawing interest from some European teams.

“We had a great group of kids that played tough defense, they came to the games, I always had enough players that we had fresh legs, and they do a great job of sharing the ball and it makes it fun for everybody,” the elder Hagedorn said.

“We had a lot of different players who could shoot the three and we had a lot of quickness so we could get out on the floor, and we also had some inside players who could score, too, so we had a lot of options. It was a lot of fun.”

In a last-minute move, the championship series was reduced to one game because Purple, due to injuries, professional obligations, and vacations, could not field a team into next week, so technically forfeited the two games that were scheduled next, according to longtime commissioner David Kessler, who ramped up the final by acting as a PA announcer.

Kelly’s win made the issue moot.

“If people can get something out of this league so they can be better players at their schools in the winter, we have served them well,” Kessler said.

It is the second straight summer Kelly won.

“It was a fun group, it was really unique last year and this year,” said Kuester, the daughter of new NBA Los Angeles Lakers
assistant John Kuester, who was the Detroit Pistons head coach last season and had been a 76ers assistant.

Because of the NBA lockout, he was at all games, though he refrained from discussing the current situation citing commissioner David Stern’s threatened heavy financial punishment for management folks who are barred from talking about the move.

Considering players who have other obligations, there were only three games lost because of forfeits due to short rosters.

Kessler said he wouldn’t mind seeing the league increase by a few more teams.

“Our two draft teams went 5-5 – Purple and Orange,” Kessler said of rosters that had to be created from scratch.

The league previously was under the Department of Recreation in its last incarnation and located at Northeast High though the move here the last two seasons was a major improvement considering summer temperatures.

Former Temple star Ashley Morris was the top scorer with a 23.0 average across the 10 games.

The deadline for applications for next summer is already set for May 29th.

-- Mel


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