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.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Philly Summer League: Hunter Green Battles White to Recapture First

By Kathleen T. Radebaugh

To make your free throws is a metaphor for life.

Saint Joseph’s University senior Erin Shields made 14-for-14 free throws on Wednesday night in a win for Hunter Green against the undefeated Team White, 66-60. This win placed Hunter Green in first place by a half game in the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women's Basketball Summer League at Kelly Bolish Gym. In total, players shot 13 three pointers with Erin Shields leading the total of 3 three pointers and a total of 29 points.

With many attempts from the three-point line early in the first half, it was clear that this was going to be a shooting game.

“It is hard when everyone can score, so we needed possession and defense,” said Erin Shields. “They [White] have a really fast team and they can score fast. We like to run and they like to run so we had to have more possession in the end.”

Thirteen three-point shots in total for the whole game. Catherine Carr from Team White had 23 points in total. Carr is a 2011 graduate of Holy Family and her three pointer in the first half brought White into the lead for the first time 14-13.

It was a short lead because Shields answered with her first three of the night, which was quickly followed by another three by Kathleen Fitzpatrick to stretch the lead by five, 19-14.

A couple of the players on White were not present, including leading scorer Ashley Wood. With the change in the schedule, a couple of the players could not attend the Wednesday night game. Nevertheless, Hunter Green was looking to upset the undefeated team. They had exceptional ball control and speed. With four minutes remaining in the first half, Dana Wieller expanded the lead for Hunter Green by ten, 27-17.

Hunter Green had great post presence. They forced turnovers and retrieved many defensive rebounds. The first half concluded with a score of 30-23 in favor of Hunter Green. Knowing the endurance and athleticism of these athletes, experienced players like Shields and Katie Kuester, a recent graduate of Hawk Hill, knew they had to maintain possession and slow the pace.

Foul trouble for Hunter Green allowed White to tie the game 30-30 within the first three minutes of the second half. Emily Leer of Villanova rebounded a miss free throw from Allison Hostetter.

It was Leer again who tied the game with a satisfying three point shot, 41-41 with eight minutes remaining.

But Shields couldn’t be stopped.

She was exceptional from the three-point line and knew how to draw fouls from White. Within the remaining four minutes of the game, Shields went to the free throw line five times.

In the midst of returning to the free throw line and time outs called by White and Hunter Green, Carr hit a beautiful three from top of the arc keeping White within reach. Tight calls by officials left several players on Team White shrugging their shoulders and wondering if they can’t be aggressive in summer league, where can they be aggressive? It was an existential moment for all.

During one of the last time outs, Kuester went over to Hostetter and playfully picked her up and carried her away from the official. Hostetter wanted to still argue the call, but it was during that brief moment that we remembered this was summer league game.

These young women have played with each other in this venue for years. That this summer league allows tradition to thrive and spectators can enjoy and cherish how far these young women have come since their AAU days.

Hunter Green defeated White 66-60 because of their shooters and maintaining possession.

Despite the loss, Coach Keith Wood of Team White was pleased with how his players kept the momentum going in the remaining minutes of the second half. Carr was the highlight for the second half for Team White and kept the game in question. Wood really enjoys this opportunity to coach in this notable summer league.

“I love to see these players improve and watch them in the winter during their collegiate games,” said Keith Wood. “It is a good feeling to help these kids out.”


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