CHC, Jefferson women win as summer league gets underway

by Tom Utescher
Posted 6/21/23

The Philadelphia/Suburban Women's Summer Basketball League staged its first two nights of competition for 2023 last Tuesday and Thursday.

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CHC, Jefferson women win as summer league gets underway


The Philadelphia/Suburban Women's Summer Basketball League, which was started in Chestnut Hill 39 years ago, staged its first two nights of competition for 2023 last Tuesday and Thursday.

The early set of games on Tuesday featured (on different courts) Team Red (composed entirely of Chestnut Hill College players), and Team Black (Jefferson University). Both teams, members of the NCAA Division II Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) would come away with wins, although Team Black had to go into overtime to knock off another squad of CACC players, Team Sky Blue (Holy Family University).

Team Red meanwhile, played without the two 6'2" Emilys who performed for the Griffins during the collegiate campaign. Emily Chmiel, a rising junior who was the CACC Rookie of the Year two seasons ago, has transferred to East Stroudsburg University. Emily Sekerak, a member of the same class, remains at Chestnut Hill but did not make it to the game on opening night.

There has also been a head coaching change for CHC. Jim Connolly, who complied a 54-35 record with the Griffins in three seasons, has relocated to the Washington D.C. area.

The new mentor, Reggie Daniels, was an assistant coach at Binghamton University in New York. Coincidentally, recent Germantown Academy grad Kendall Bennett, a 6'2" post player, is headed north to play at Binghamton.

On the opening night of the summer league, Team Red had a closer game than expected against Team Maroon, made up of players from Arcadia University and a few other Division III schools. The CHC summer squad led 28-20 at halftime en route to a 60-48 victory.

Rising junior Siobhan Boylan, a tall guard, paced the winners with 12 points. Her classmate Bri Rider scored 10, and senior Lindsey Lane put in nine. Seven points apiece were scored by rising sophomores Avery White and Bridie McCann.

McCann is one of two Irish American Division I transfers on the Team Red roster. Boylan, a Cardinal O'Hara grad, came to Chestnut Hill last year after spending her freshman year at Marist College, while McCann came out of Bonner/Prendergast High School and played at Siena College as a freshman before transferring to CHC. They each have a sister named after the Queen of Connacht, Maeve.

The Arcadia University team (Maroon in summer-speak) will be going into its second season under head coach Jackie Hartzell, who led the highly successful squad at the University of the Sciences. USciences was a member of the CACC, but its athletics program shut down when the institution merged with Division I St. Joseph's University in the summer of 2022.

On the other court last Tuesday, the summer teams from Jefferson (Black) and Holy Family (Sky Blue) battled like it was a regular-season conference game. The contest needed to go into overtime before the Lady Rams of Jefferson prevailed, 71-68.

Rising senior Haley Meinel registered a game-high 22 points and junior post player Cassie Murphy scored 20. Senior Morgan Robinson ran the offense at point guard and deposited 11 points of her own. Rising junior Ava Morrow led Sky Blue with 20 points.

In other opening-night contests, Team Purple (West Chester University) pounded Team Pink (a squad of alumni mostly from CACC schools), 83-49, while Team Kelly Green (a band of Division III players led by two "bigs" from Swarthmore College) notched a 59-46 win over Team Royal Blue (a Division III group that includes eight Cabrini University players).

On Thursday Team Black was missing Meinel and overall had only half of its 12-woman roster in attendance. In fact, most teams were missing at least a few players during the league's first week. Royal Blue shot very well and came close to pulling off an upset, but Black prevailed 64-61.

The sturdy Murphy propped up the winners, who divided her game-high 29 points almost evenly between the two halves and made seven of her eight free throws. Royal Blue got four-three pointers and a total of 18 points from Miranda Liebtag, an Abington High School grad now at Cabrini.

Speaking of three-pointers, Team Red (CHC) canned 11 of them in their Thursday game against Kelly Green. Six different players made at least one bucket from the bonus loop.

This helped the summer Griffins break open a game that was close at halftime (29-22) and go on to win, 76-54. Rider rippled the net for three threes and stacked up a game-high 19 points, while sophomore Sara Tamoun also put in three treys as part of her 13-point effort. Lane and McCann added 11 points each for the victors, while Kelly Green was led, as usual, by Swarthmore's Dana Bandurick (13 points) and Anna Hansson (12).

In addition to the Red and Black teams, Team Purple also attained a 2-0 record in the young season with its second straight blowout. The West Chester bunch put up a score of 94-58 against Team Maroon, which slipped to 0-2. In the fourth bout on Thursday, Sky Blue came away with a 1-1 mark thanks to a 57-44 victory against Team Sun, which was making its debut following a bye on Tuesday night. Kelly Green was also 1-1 for week one, and Royal Blue was 0-2.

This week two of the undefeated squad will go head-to-head, with Chestnut Hill's Team Red and West Chester's Team Purple.