Defending summer league champs still rolling; Jefferson tied for second

by Tom Utescher
Posted 7/4/24

In the last week of the women's college summer league before the July 4th hiatus, the number of undefeated teams and the number of winless teams was whittled down to one.

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Defending summer league champs still rolling; Jefferson tied for second


In the last week of competition in the women's college summer league before the July 4th hiatus, both the number of undefeated teams and the number of winless teams was whittled down to one.

Victories last Tuesday and Thursday evening resulted in a 6-0 record for the Cyber Pink alumni team that includes Chestnut Hill College graduates Kait Carter (a Penn Charter grad), Lauren Crim and Cassie Spratt. Another CHC alum, Abbey Spratt, is on the roster but has not been able to play so far due to work commitments.

A four-team pack of ball clubs with 4-2 records included Jefferson University's Team Black, while Team Red Fire, made up almost entirely of Chestnut Hill College players, lost twice last week and slipped to 2-4. The only team that still hasn't won a game is Team Sunburst, an outfit made up of NCAA Division III athletes from half a dozen different schools.

On Tuesday, CHC's Red Fire took on the Lime Citrus alumni team organized by Germantown Academy grad Alexa Naessens (Colgate University '22). In a see-saw first half, Lime led in the middle of the first quarter but Red had forged ahead, 20-14, by the end of the period. Lime was up by a single point at halftime, 38-37.

By the three-quarter mark, Lime had opened up a nine-point gap (56-47), but Red rallied in the fourth quarter. When Red called timeout with one minute remaining, the CHC bunch was just two points back at 62-60. Lime went up by four when former West Chester guard Leah Johnson made a pair of free throws to complete a game-high 18-point performance.

CHC junior Sara Tamoun, who would lead Red with 15 points, scored on a drive to make it a two-point affair once again. Naessens then scored the last two of her six total points from the foul line with 3.4 seconds to go, giving Lime a 66-62 victory.

Former Upper Dublin High School standout Dayna Balasa scored 15 points for the winners, and second in scoring for Red, with 14 points, was the only non-CHC player on the roster. This was recent Hatboro Horsham alum Kitty Randa, who will matriculate at Kutztown University in September.

Kutztown's all-time leading scorer, Rylee Derr ('22), turned in a superb 30-point effort (with seven three-pointers) to help determine the outcome in the battle between the league's two previously undefeated teams. Pink owned a modest 40-36 lead at halftime, then pulled away in a 21-12 third quarter. Pink stayed unbeaten at 5-0 while Team Purple Haze (current West Chester players) slipped to 1-4 despite 13 points from Plymouth Whitemarsh grad Anna McTamney.

Abby Marino, who came out of Germantown Academy in 2023, scored three points as her Team Orange Citrus posted its third win in a row, topping Sky Blue (Holy Family University), 49-43.

Jefferson's Team Black held a comfortable lead most of the way in its contest against Team Maroon (Arcadia University). Maroon got within four points of the leaders during the second quarter, but the summer Lady Rams separated again and went on to win, 83-57. Sophomore Emily Spratt led the Black bunch with 21 points, while an incoming freshman, Caleigh Sperling, scored 17 points to match veteran center Cassie Murphy.

Two other teams were vying for their first win of the summer, and it was Team Royal Blue which achieved that objective, rising to a 1-4 mark with a 61-37 victory over Team Sunburst.

Sunburst had a much closer brush with success on Thursday evening, but still couldn't quite get over the hump. In this contest, Orange Citrus eked out a 66-65 win, receiving six points from GA grad Marino. After an 0-2 start, Orange ended the third week of play as one of four teams with a 4-2 record. Team Black climbed to that mark with a one-point victory over conference rival Sky Blue (Holy Family).

Here, the teams were tied at 60-60 with a minute remaining. While using a spin move to score from under the basket, Black's Murphy was fouled, and she made the free throw to put her team up by three. Taylor Hinkle scored in transition for Sky with half a minute left, and Black tried to run out the clock at the other end.

Sky's Claire Dougherty, who'd assisted on Hinkle's basket, tipped the ball away from the Jefferson group to give Holy Family one last opportunity, but Sky missed its final shot and succumbed, 63-62. Murphy scored 19 points in the victory, and Sam Yencha added 11.

Both Lime Citrus and Purple Haze ended the week at 4-2 after their head-to-head encounter on Thursday. Following a 30-30 tie at halftime, Lime went ahead with a 13-8 third quarter, then really pulled away in the fourth frame to win 68-53. Naessens scored five points and her fellow team founder Jessica Huber had a game-high 19, while McTamney put in 13 for Purple.

Division III Team Maroon (Arcadia) topped DII Chestnut Hill Red Fire, 80-76, to give both teams 2-4 records. The teams were tied 39-39 in the third quarter, but Arcadia held slim leads for much of the remainder of the game.

Maroon was ahead 75-70 with one minute remaining and despite a three-pointer and three made free throws by CHC sophomore Caraline Herb, Red Fire finished four points short. Herb's 18 points and Tamoun's 17 paced the summer Griffins.

Meanwhile, league leader Cyber Pink went on an 88-33 cruise past a squad that would slip to 1-5, Royal Blue. Carter deposited 10 points for the winners, and Cassie Spratt scored eight.