In the league finals last Tuesday, fifth-seeded Team Pink handed a 65-56 defeat to Team Sky Blue, made up of athletes from Holy Family University.
The wily old ladies did it again. The basketball squad composed of college alumni, this year designated Team Pink, are the champions of the women's college summer league for the third year in a row.
Of course, they're not really old, mostly in their early and mid-twenties, but they're a little more advanced in years than the college undergrads on the other eight teams in the league.
In the league finals last Tuesday, fifth-seeded Team Pink handed a 65-56 defeat to Team Sky Blue, made up of athletes from Holy Family University. Holy Family is a member of the NCAA Division II Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, along with Chestnut Hill College (Team Red in the summer league) and Jefferson University (Team Black). After a so-so regular season in which they finished 4-4, the alumni players on Pink defeated fourth-seeded Team Red in the quarterfinals, 63-52, then pulled off a 71-60 semifinal upset of Team Black, which had been undefeated in the league and was the top seed in the playoffs.
When first formed several years ago, what is now known as Team Pink consisted exclusively of alumni from the University of the Sciences, which saw its entire athletic program scuttled after the school merged with Division I St. Joseph's University. This year the group included some graduates of other colleges, including Lauren Crim, Cassie Sebold, and Abbey Spratt, out of Chestnut Hill.
Sebold's superb foul-shooting would seal the deal for Pink in all three playoff games. In the quarterfinals against Team Red she shot six-for-six from the line in the last one minute and 50 seconds. In the last 1:50 of the semifinal against Team Black she was 13/14, and in the final 2:53 of last Tuesday's championship game she made 11 of her 12 free throws. Altogether, she went 30-for-32 down the stretch in the three playoff contests.
She had a team-high 23 points in the league finals, while the game high belonged to Holy Family rising senior Anujin Dashdorj. Scoring 24 points for almost half of Sky Blue's total output, Dashdorj put in six three-point shots.
She scored Sky's first seven points of the night, helping her team enjoy a one-point edge (14-13) at the end of the first quarter. Paced by two three-pointers and a breakaway lay-up from Sebold, Pink outscored Sky 27-19 in the second quarter for a 40-33 halftime lead.
Sky Blue had actually been up by six points early in the second period, but turnovers would undermine their efforts throughout the game.
On offense, a number of their passes were strange one-handed flips toward teammates who weren't really open, and on many of their moves to the basket, they were off-balance. Fortunately for Sky, Dashdorj delivered a rock-solid performance; she was the team's only player to score in every quarter.
Pink, by contrast, spread out on offense, sending the ball to clearly open players with accurate, two-handed chest passes or overhead passes. Their experience showed as they played a more fundamentally sound game.
Actually, Pink may have gotten too deliberate and cautious in their play during the third quarter, when they were outscored 12-5 and ended up tied 45-all with the summer Tigers going into the fourth period.
About a minute-and-a-half into the fourth round the teams were even at 48-48. Two free throws by Spratt and a midrange jumper by Sebold put Pink up by four points, and Sky Blue called time-out with 4:13 remaining.
After more than a minute went by with the score still 52-48, the Blue bunch fouled Sebold, starting out the CHC grad on her many marches to the foul line. She would score 11 of Team Pink's last 13 points (all on foul shots) while shooting a dozen free throws. During this stretch, Sky got a lay-up from Taylor Hinkle and the last two of Dashdorj's six three-pointers.
Winning by 11 points, Pink supplemented Sebold's output with nine points apiece from Spratt and Taylor Hamm. Kate Connolly, sister of former CHC coach Jim Connolly, added eight points, and former Griffin Crim had five.
Dashdorj was the only Sky Blue player in double figures; fellow guard Skyler Searfoss contributed nine points.