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 10, 2013

Philly Summer League Provides Extra Workouts For Collegians

By Kathleen T.Radebaugh

!For many of us summer is about beach rentals and Manco & Manco pizza with supreme toppings.

Walking into Kelly Bolish’s Gym for the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women’s Basketball League is a reality check that summer doesn’t exist without sweat and playing post against Big Five competitors.

The summer league is one’s own personal trainer. Players from NCAA Division I, II, and III schools compete against each other in the same setting that many of them grew up with in AAU.

The players’ extensions on the court are sophisticated, and their forward motions are aggressive.

“It takes me back to AAU days,” said Emily Leer, a center at Villanova. “I like to play and it’s not as structured as college basketball. It is more fun, but it is super competitive. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t. It gives you a chance to play against different girls in a different atmosphere.”

Leer plays on Team White who is still the only undefeated team within the league. On Tuesday, White defeated Gold on court 3, 67-51. Team White, coached by Keith Wood, has exceptional ball control and speed. Leer plays with her Wildcats teammate Caroline Coyer. Coyer drew a three within the first half for a commanding lead of 30-12. Pressured continued to increase from the guards which allowed more room for shots outside the arc and jump shots within the paint.

Yet, this summer league is about physical fitness and preparing starters for the playoff schedule.

For women’s basketball last season in the NCAA, scoring was at an all time low.

In a report released by Val Ackerman, the average points scored during a game were 62.1. In April, the NCAA ruled that coaches are allowed to workout with their players during the week for eight hours. The players must be enrolled in summer school and met certain academic benchmarks.

Natasha Cloud, a dynamic guard for St. Joseph’s University, is one of the many players taking advantage of this new rule. Cloud plays for Team Gold, coached by Ted Hagedorn, who won the league the previous two summers. She is currently enrolled in a summer course at St. Joe’s, which allows her to have individual workouts with the coaching staff at Hagan Arena.

“I have constant basketball,” said Cloud.

Cloud looked great on Tuesday night.

Offensive fouls were her vice, but her tenacity and range on the court allowed for her teammates to take shots. Cloud had back-to-back three pointers in the second half of the game against White. She totaled with 16 points for the game while her teammate Sarah Fairbanks, a Hawks sophomore, scored 11 points.

Cloud and her teammates are in shape.

“I am conditioning in the morning and working out with my team during summer session at St. Joe’s,” said Cloud. “This is a good setting [summer league] to put to work what we are doing at school in this game setting.”

The players in the summer league compete Tuesdays and Thursdays except this week when most teams are playing three nights straight to make up for last week's holiday. With 13 teams one each gets a bye on the nightly schedule.

With the combination of morning workouts, individual training sessions, and heat and humidity, players are more at risk to suffer from dehydration, which can cause muscle spasms and ligament strains.

With the new NCAA rule allowing players to work out with their coaches, the season is longer. The first game of the season starts the first week in November. Six months later is the NCAA title game.

Yet, players are surrounded by teammates, coaches, trainers, parents, and friends that know how to prevent injury through hydrating, stretching, cross training, and proper diet.

Maybe for the next couple of weeks, these young females will avoid the beach and pizza, but don’t doubt for a second that they are not enjoying their summer.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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