by Tom Utescher
In NCAA Summer League action last Thursday, a second loss for Team Neon Green dropped that squad and its Mount St. Joe graduates into a tie for third place. Falling in double overtime to Sapphire Blue, 70-67, Neon slipped to 5-2 and matched the record of Team Maroon, a band of West Chester University players who had a bye on Thursday.
Defending champion Team Gold remained locked up with Team Pink atop the standings, each at 7-0. Team Black, powered by 2013 Mount grad Kelsey Jones and her Philadelphia University colleagues, stayed in the playoff hunt with a Thursday victory that kept them close to .500 with a 3-4 record. Team Forest Green, which has not yet had its bye night come around in the schedule, has played on all eight game nights thus far and rose to 3-5 on Thursday as 2013 Germantown Academy product Kiernan McCloskey helped lead a romp over the Royal Blue franchise.
Former Mountie Alex Louin dropped a game-high 21 points on Team Purple (USciences) on Tuesday to power a 72-60 Neon Green victory, but the rising Villanova sophomore was not present for the OT clash with Sapphire two nights later. The Sapphire squad, in turn, was missing former Springside Chestnut Hill forward Michelle Boggs on Thursday evening.
Making her 2015 summer debut for Neon on Thursday was Louin’s Mount St. Joe classmate Carly Monzo. The Loyola University forward had been finishing up some coursework down in Baltimore.
Sapphire, which started the summer with a 1-4 record that included some single-digit losses, broke through for its second win on Tuesday evening. On Thursday the Sapphire squad, which includes many of Boggs’ East Stroudsburg U. teammates, displayed newfound confidence as it battled a Neon bunch that had five NCAA Division I players on hand.
Hooking up from the three-point line early on, Sapphire was ahead 13-8 at the quarter and had the lead up to 10 points, 25-15, in the middle of the second round. Neon crept a little closer to make it 32-23 at halftime, and by the three-quarter mark they were just four points behind, 45-41.
With the score tied at 49-all with two minutes remaining, former Episcopal Academy star Meg Quinn sandwiched a lay-up and two free throws around a lay-up by former Mountie Monzo. Neon was now up 55-49 with under half-a-minute to go, then Boggs’ Stroudsburg buddy Rachel Falkowski rallied Sapphire with a three-pointer. Later, with 2.6 ticks showing, she would hit two free throws to send the game into overtime at 57-all.
Monzo bagged a “three” early in the first OT, but late in the period Sapphire was up by a point, 65-64. Neon had Quinn make the second of two foul shots to tie the game and force a second overtime period.
Former Catholic Academies guard Melissa Poderis (Villa Joseph Marie) stuck a jumper for Sapphire early in the next extra session, and her team added three more points from the foul line. The only Neon Green points in the period came on a drive by Shipley School grad Nia Holland with 15 seconds left, and Sapphire prevailed by three.
Forward Emily O’Donnell (William Tennant/Albright) led the winners with 17 points, while Neon Green got a game-high 29 points from Quinn and 10 from Monzo.
At the far end of the building, Forest Green kept Royal Blue winless at 0-8, jumping ahead early and rolling on to a convincing 79-54 victory.
Sharing the game-high total of 19 points were GA alum McCloskey (a rising junior forward at Lehigh University), and Katie O’Hare, who just graduated from West Chester’s Bayard Rustin High School and is headed for Holy Family University.
In one of the late games on Thursday, Mount alum Jones and her Philly University-powered Team Black led much of the way against Team Ash (mostly Millersville University), but the summer Lady Rams didn’t really take control until the end.
Black carried a 42-35 advantage into the fourth quarter, then in a little over four minutes a little 6-2 rally by Ash made it a three-point contest at 44-41. Two redshirt freshmen for Philly U. stopped the Ash advance; guard Jess Kaminski scored on back-to-back drives, and forward Erin Maher arced in a “three” to push the lead up to 10 points (41-31) with two minutes to go.
Team Black would win by 11, with forwards Jackie McCarron and Erin Rafter depositing 10 points apiece to lead a balanced offensive effort.