By Mel Greenberg
HATBORO, Pa. --
Former Saint Joseph's star Katie Kuester is going out on top once again in thePhiladelphia/Suburban Women's NCAA Summer Basketball League and this time she says it's for real.
"I'm just happy I was able to come back," Kuester said Thursday night after Hunter Green, the top seed, rallied from an early 10-point deficit and also rode from a 28-28 halftime tie to defeat second-seeded White 58-50 to claim the league title, the fourth straight summer she has been on the championship squad.
"We just had a great group of kids, everyone worked hard and had a blast," said Kuester, who last summer thought she was saying adios for good as a player when she went on to the next phase of her basketball life as director of basketball operations on the Lehigh women's team in Bethlehem, Pa., about an hour from here, that competes in the Patriot League.
But in finding she could still play after checking several places, Kuester was back again to terrorize the league on the court.
"The only thing I missed was I wish I could be with Ted Hagedorn again but this is my last hurrah. I'm officially retiring. You can mark that down. Got to go out with a bang."
Hagedorn, whose daughter Elle is a recent Harvard grad, coached the third-seeded Gold team that went 9-3, handing Hunter Green it's only loss which kept the squad out of first for a week, but Gold lost to White Tuesday night in the semifinals.
Kuester was on the championship squad Hagedorn coached in previous summers, two of which went unbeaten in 2011 and last summer.
Unlike the last several titles she helped acquire, this time Kuester was player and coach and had to be more of the latter Thursday night after getting in early foul trouble.
Her father, John Kuester, has coached in the NBA and was on a past 76ers staff.
Both Hunter Green and White went 11-1 but Hunter Green's 66-60 win in the regular season matchup at Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades in Willow Grove Industrial Commons, gave Hunter Green the top seed.
Throughout the summer Kuester was akin to Captain Kirk on the Starship Enterprise in this case navigating the arduous 12-game schedule with one night off from the Tuesdays and Thursdays slate by being able to deploy an array of Shields to combat teams with active players from NCAA Divisions I, II, and III and some others who were stars of the recent past.
Besides Kuester, the weaponry on Hunter Green included the Shields sisters -- Saint Joseph's incoming senior Erin, recent Boston College grad Kerri, and incoming University of San Diego sophomore Shannon.
Ironically, back in May on draft night when Kuester submitted her original roster request, officials denied her a few players so the league might be more competitive.
When Hunter Green and White met during the regular season it was Erin Shields doing the honors with 29 points in the win. Counting the season and playoffs, she led all players with six nights in which she scored 20 or more points and just missed several times scoring 19 points.
On Thursday it was older sister Kerri, who is headed for the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, who was the big offensive threat with six 3-pointers and 20 points while Erin scored 10 points in the Hunter Green attack. Additionally, Lauren Krisler, an incoming freshman at American University, scored seven points.
Villanova junior Emily Leer got White going early as it built an 18-8 lead before Hunter Green began hitting three pointers to fuel a 16-0 run and take control before White came back to tie at the half 28-28.
"I told our players going in, `Listen, We had a great year, this is going to be a tough game, but we'll see what happens.' You know what? They're a great team. We got lucky because they play great offense and great defense but we won."
Kuester had an early 6:30 a.m. flight scheduled for Friday morning to visit her parents in North Carolina, where they moved to Cary, which is near Raleigh and is headquarters home to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, named for the late great North Carolina State coach who earned Hall of Fame accolades in Springfield, Mass., and Knoxville, Tenn.
Meanwhile, back re-capping the game, Hunter Green fell behind by three early in the second half before going ahead by as much as 14 points and then with eight minutes left and no shot clock in the league rules the newly-crowned champs began chewing up time.
"I thought it was a great game," White coach Keith Wood said. "We missed some key shots. They made some key shots. It came down to defending the three -- I thought we did a decent job the first half. Second half, I think I counted maybe eight threes in a row (by Hunter Green) and that's what did us in."
Leer finished with 15 points, former Division II Holy Family star Catherine Carr scored 12, while former Division II West Chester star Allison Hostetter and Carr's former Tigers teammate and classmate Meghan Gibson each scored seven points.
"I was hoping we might do it," Leer said. "This might be my fourth year in a row I lost in the championship."
When Leer returns to campus, the year at Villanova will be different than the past with the Wildcats being one of the seven Catholic schools that broke away from the old Big East but will compete in the new Big East with the additions of Xavier, Butler and Creighton joining Villanova, DePaul, Marquette, Providence, Saint John's, Georgetown and Marquette.
Gone from the slate are such difficult opponents as NCAA champion Connecticut and runnerup Louisville along with Rutgers and South Florida.
"We'll miss playing them but maybe we'll get a few more wins," Leer said.
Erin Shields' Hawks will also have an altered life with the Atlantic 10, which they won last season, losing Temple, though the Owls will still play Saint Joseph's as part of the Big Five slate.
Also gone are Xavier, Butler and Charlotte, while George Mason is making its A-10 debut.
Wrapping up the season league commissioner David Kessler, who has been at the helm for 20 years, observed:
"It went well because of the terrific cooperation I get from everyone -- from the Renegades, the players, the parents, my scorekeepers, the officials, I really think that makes a difference," Kessler said.
"Special thanks, as I said in the newsletter, to Steve Flynn, Meg Baum, and Pam Walker," he said.
"We got rid of the best-of-three format (in the championship round) because by next week we start losing people going back to school or taking their last shot at vacation," he continued.
"I was disappointed by some of the injuries -- we had a few stitches, which weren't too serious, but we also had an ACL (Jenna Swopes of Division III Gettysburg on Purple)," Kessler said.
"Other than that, it was another successful season and I'm looking ahead to next summer."
If the trend continues look for Division III Scranton, perhaps Division II University of the Sciences of Philadelphia, besides the Division I trio of Villanova, Lehigh, and Saint Joseph's to do well this winter, though other whole teams that competed such as Division II Holy Family, West Chester, and Philadelphia University, could also succeed.
Several years ago Drexel players did well in the league and went on in 2008-09 to win their first Colonial Athletic Association title.
Last summer Saint Joseph's players, particular Shields, played well and went on to win the Atlantic 10 title while Shields earned most improved player awards from the Big Five and Atlantic 10.
Shields' mother Renee is a former Saint Joseph's player who is now the Hawks' senior women's administrator and is a member of the Big Five Hall of Fame.
Down below are additional data and satistical information but the Guru summer league coverage concludes here. Special thanks to Katie Kuester for the fine tweet and good luck catching the 6 a.m. flight.
Now the Guru moves full steam to the rest of the WNBA season beginning with a three-day back-to-back-to back where tweeting will occur first Friday night from Connecticut where the Chicago Sky and rookie sensation and Delaware alum Elena Delle Donne visit.
Then coming back down the seaboard, it's on to a Saturday 1 p.m. game at the Prudential Center where in Newark, N.J., the Los Angeles Sparks finish their Eastern swing visiting the New York Liberty.
Finally, on to Washington Sunday afternoon for a 4 p.m. game with visiting Connecticut. Hunter Green Roster
1 Shannon Shields, U. of San Diego '16 5-6 tall.
3 Erin Shields, Saint Joseph's '14, 5-5
4 Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Saint Joseph's '17, 5-7
10 Kerri Shields, Boston College '13, 5-10
13 Lauren Crisler, American U. '17, 6-2
15 Katie Kuester, Saint Joseph's '12. 5-9
22 Lauren Rothfeld, Salisbury '17. 5-9
23 Brooke Muller, Dickinson College '10, 5-4
24 Courtney McManus, Salisbury, '15, 5-7
25 Jessica Pongonis, Saint Joseph's '17. 6-1
34 Dana Wieller, Bloomsburg '13, 5-6
35 Ginny Edwards, Wilkes '15, 5-9Coach: Katie KuesterWhite Roster
1 Allison Hostetter, West Chester '12, 5-7
3 Courtney Jade Hinnant, Millersville '17, 5-10
4 Mashira Newman, Millersville '13, 5-7
5 Caroline Coyer, Villanova '16, 5-10
10 Tysha Britten, Manor '14, 6-4
14 Ashley Wood, Kutztown '13, 5-6
15 Jasmine Elum, Bethune-Cookman '12, 5-6
20 Meghan Gibson, Holy Family '11, 5-9
22 Catherine Carr, Holy Family '11, 5-11
24 Kira Ogden, Manor '14, 5-8
35 Nya Daley, Holy Family/Georgia Southern '10, 5-9
55 Emily Leer, Villanova '15, 6-1Coach: Keith WoodPlayoffs Results and Schedule
QuarterfinalsThursday, Aug. 1
1-Hunter Green defeated 8-Kelly Green 85-64.
4-Mauroon defeated 5-Red 60-48
2-White defeated 7-Sky Blue 61-39
3-Gold defeated 6-Purple 57-46 SemifinalsTuesday, Aug. 6
1-Hunter Green defeated 4-Maroon 60-54.
2-White defeated 3-Gold 70-64.ChampionshipThursday, Aug. 8
1-Hunter Green (11-1 regular season) rallied for a 58-50 win over 2-White (11-1 regular season) to claim the championship. Extra Tidbits From the Commissioner
David B. Kessler, now in his 20th season as commissioner of the league notes that this time around there were 156 players representing over 60 collegiate programs and the average player height is 5-foot-9 and the average age is 20.5.
Looking ahead to next season, the 2014 draft will be May 29, the season will open June 17, the entry deadline for registration form, player information sheet, and fee is May 24th,
Additionally, in the newsletter for the semifinals, Kessler reported 2012 La Salle grad Michelle McCaughren, who was on Gold this summer, has received a scholarship through the Sports Changes Life Foundation and will attend National University of Ireland in Galway where she will play and go for her masters degree in international management.
McCaughren, who was an assistant at Division III Swarthmore, helping the Garnet to a 23-7 record and firsst ECAC Division III championship this past season, will also coach and mentor at-risk teenage girls. She leaves Sunday and expects to be back in time to play in the league next summer.
Kerri Shields of Hunter Green and a recent grad of Boston College received the same scholarship and will play and study at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.
Kathryn Stockbower, a 2011 Swarthmore grad who holds the NCAA Division III record for career double doubles and played on Heather Grey, will enter her second year of medical school at Temple University.
Gold's Madeline Ross, a recent Swarthmore grad, reports that after an exhaustive application process, she will be commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Air Force. She is one of nine females accepted and will first undergo OCS training in Montgomery, Ala., and will probably be deployed to an air base in Wyoming, Montana, or North Dakota where one of her duties will be to oversee missile weapons systems. Explaining the Final Standings
Hunter Green and White tie for first and Hunter Green is the No. 1 seed off a head-to-head win.
Gold is alone in third.
Maroon and Red tie for fourth and Maroon has head-to-head win.
Purple, Sky Blue and Kelly Green are 6-7-8 alone at each slot and finish the group of playoff qualifiers.
Black is alone in ninth.
Navy Blue and Heather Grey tie for 10th with Navy Blue winning the head-to-head matchup between the two teams.
Orange is alone in 12th and Royal Blue finishes the standings alone in 13th.
The running grid is in proper order to look at tiebreakers for seeding and making the eight-team field.
Also, continued special thanks to Tom Utescher for providing pictures that will enable this report to switch over to being housed in PhilahoopsW and a duplicate of Thursday's report of 7/18 here is now over at http://philahoopsw.com to see what the future of coverage may be.
The Guru will tweet @womhoopsguru when photos and coverage at philahoopsw are in play. Final StandingsTeam, Won-Loss, Pct., GB, Pts., Opp. Points
z%x-1-Hunter Green, 11-1, .917, ---, 759, 661
w%x-1-White, 11-1, .917, --- 738, 552
%x-3-Gold, 9-3, .750, 2.0, 605, 562
$%x-4-Maroon, 8-4, .667, 3.0, 650, 639
%-4-Red, 8-4, .667, 3.0, 744, 652
%-6-Purple, 7-5, .583, 4.0, 693, 678
%-7-Sky Blue, 6-6, .500, 5.0 , 753, 744
%-8-Kelly Green, 5-7, .417, 6.0, 726, 728
9-Black, 4-8, .333, 7.0, 671, 740
10-Navy Blue, 3-9, .250, 8.0, 666, 766
10-Heather Grey, 3-9, .250, 8.0, 695, 713
12-Orange, 2-10, .167, 9.0, 584, 690
13-Royal Blue, 1-11, .091, 9.0, 455, 614%-Clinched playoff spot
x-Advanced to semifinals
w-Advanced to championship
z-Advanced to championship and won title. Running GridThis is the tracking tie-breaker and seeding guide for the eight-team playoffs, which began after the regular season ended July 30.
1-Hunt. G. vs. Red (W), vs. Orange (W), Maroon (W), vs. Kelly G (W), vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (W), vs. White (W), vs. Purple (W), vs. N.B. (W), vs. Sky B. (W), vs. Heath. Grey (W), vs. R.B (W-Forfeit).
1-White vs. Red (W), vs. Orange (W), vs. Maroon (W), vs. Kelly Green (W), vs. Gold (W), vs. Hunt. G. (L), vs. R.B. (W-Forfeit), vs. Purple (W), vs. N.B. (W), vs. Sky Blue (W), vs. Heath. Grey (W), vs. Black (W).
3-Gold vs. Purple (W), vs. N.B. (L), vs. Sky B. (W), vs. Heath. Grey (W), vs. Hunt G. (W), vs. White (L), vs. R.B. (W-Forfeit), vs. Orange (W), vs. Maroon (W), vs. Kelly G. (W), vs. Black (W), vs. Red (L).
4-Maroon vs. Sky B. (L), vs. Heath. Grey (W), vs. Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L), vs. Red (W), vs. Orange (W), vs. N.B. (W), vs. Kelly G. (W), vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (W), vs. Royal Blue (W), vs. Purple (W)
4-Red vs. Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L), vs. Orange (W), vs. Maroon (L), vs. Kelly Green (L), vs. Heath. Grey (W), vs. vs. Black (W), vs. R.B. (W), vs. Purple (W), vs. Navy Blue (W), vs. Sky Blue (W), vs. Gold (W).
6-Purple vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (W-OT), vs. R.B (W), vs. N.B. (W-OT), vs. Sky B. (W), vs. Kelly G (W), vs. Hunt. G (L), vs. White (L), vs. Red (L), vs. Orange (W), vs. Maroon (L), vs. Heath. Grey (W).
7-Sky B. vs. Maroon (W), vs. Kelly G (W), vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (W), vs. R.B. (W), vs. Purple (L), vs. Orange (W), vs Heath. Grey (L), Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L), vs. Red (L), vs. N.B. (W).
8-Kelly G. vs. N.B. (W), vs. Sky B, (L), vs. Heath. Grey (W), vs. Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L), vs. Red (W), vs. Purple (L), vs. Maroon (L), vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (L), vs. R.B. (W), vs. Orange (W).
9-Black vs. R.B. (W), vs. Purple (L-OT), vs. N.B. (L), vs. Sky B (L), Heath. Grey (W), vs. Hunt. G (L), vs. Red (L), vs. Orange (W), vs. Maroon (L), vs. Kelly Green (W), vs. Gold (L), vs. White (L).
10-N.B. vs. Kelly G. (L), vs. Gold (W), vs. Black (W), vs. R.B. (L), vs. Purple (L-OT), vs. Maroon (L), vs. Heath. Grey (W), vs. Hunt. Green (L), vs. White (L), vs. Red (L), vs. Orange (L), vs. Sky B. (L).
10-Heath. Grey vs. Orange (W), vs. Maroon (L), vs. Kelly G. (L), vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (L), vs. R.B. (W), vs. Red (L), vs. N.B. (L), vs. Sky Blue (W), vs. Hunt. Green (L), vs. White (L), vs. Purple (L).
12-Orange vs. Heath. Grey (L), vs. Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L), vs. Red (L), vs. Maroon (L), vs. Sky B (L), vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (L), vs. Royal Blue (W), vs. Purple (L), vs. N.B. (W), vs. Kelly G. (L).
13-R.B. vs. Black (L), vs. Purple (L), vs. N.B. (W), vs. Sky B. (L), vs. Heath. Grey (L), vs. Gold (L-Forfeit), vs. White (L-Forfeit), vs. Red (L), vs. Orange (L), vs. Maroon (L), vs. Kelly G. (L), vs. Hunt. G. (L-Forfeit).Top Individual Peformances (20 or more points)
32 Pts.: Kerry Kinek, Heather Grey (W), vs. Sky Blue, July 16
29 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green, (W) vs. White, July 10
27 Pts.: Kathryn Stockbower, Heather Grey (W) vs. Orange, June 18
26 Pts.: Brittany Sicinski, Sky Blue (W) vs. Black, June 27
26 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Navy Blue, July 16
26 Pts.: Jasmine Elum, White (W) vs. Heather Grey, July 25
25 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Red, June 18
25 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Orange, June 20
25 Pts.: Brittany Sicinski, Sky Blue (W) vs. Royal Blue, July 2
25 Pts.: Liz Sharlow, Purple (W) vs. Orange, July 23
25 Pts.: Kerry Kinek, Heather Grey (L), vs. White, July 25
24 Pts.: Ciara Andrews, Navy Blue (L) vs. Maroon, July 10
23 Pts.: Katie Kuester, Hunter Green (W) vs. Red, June 18
23 Pts.: Catherine Carr, White (L) vs. Hunter Green, July 10
23 Pts.: Liz Sharlow, Purple (L) vs. White, July 16
23 Pts.: Kara Bonenberger, Royal Blue (L) vs. Maroon, July 23
23 Pts.: Brittany Sicinski, Sky Blue (W) vs. Navy Blue, July 30
23 Pts.: Geena Gomez, Navy Blue (L) vs. Sky Blue, July 30
22 Pts.: Alyssa Bonenberger, Royal (L) vs. Purple, June 25
22 Pts.: Kelsey Watson, Royal (L) vs. Sky Blue, July 2
22 Pts.: Jasmine Elum, White (W) vs. Black, July 30
22 Pts.: Maggie Serratelli, Kelly Green (L) vs. Hunter Green, Aug. 1 qfinals
22 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Maroon, Aug. 6, semifinals
22 Pts.: Sarah Fairbanks, Gold (L) vs. White, Aug. 6, semifinals
21 Pts.: Kendall Benovy, Sky Blue (W), vs. Black, July 2
21 Pts: Ashley Wood, White (W) vs. Kelly Green, July 2
21 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (L) vs. Gold, July 2
21 Pts.: Ciara Andrews, Navy Blue (L-OT)., vs. Purple, July 2
21 Pts.: Brittany Wood, Kelly Green (L) vs. Purple, July 10
21 Pts: Liz Sharlow, Purple (L) vs. Hunter Green, July 11
21 Pts: Kerry Kinek, Heather Grey (L) vs. Navy Blue, July 11
21 Pts: Emily Leer, White (W) vs. Sky Blue, July 23
21 Pts.: Jacqueline McCarron, Black (W) vs. Kelly Green, July 23
21 Pts.: Sarah Fairbanks, Gold (W) vs. Purple, Aug. 1 qfinals
20 Pts.: Ciara Andrews, Navy Blue (W) vs. Black, June 25
20 Pts.: Camille McPherson, Maroon (W) vs. Red, July 2
20 Pts.: Brittany Sicinski, Sky Blue (L) vs. Purple, July 9
20 Pts.: Brittany Sicinski, Sky Blue (W) vs. Orange, July 10
20 Pts.: Catherine Carr, White (W), vs. Black, July 30
20 Pts.: Ciarra Andrews, Navy Blue (L) vs. Sky Blue, July 30
20 Pts: Catherine Carr, White (W) vs. Gold, Aug. 6, semifinals
20 Pts.: Kerri Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. White, Aug. 8, final
Last league report but the blog continues henceworth primarily with WNBA matters the next several months along with as becoomes necessary NCAA and local matters. -- Mel
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