Coming off of their most successful campaign in program history, members of the Chestnut Hill College women’s basketball team decided to take part in the well-recognized and longstanding Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s NCAA Summer Basketball League, to help prepare them for the upcoming season.
“It’s always a good idea to keep a ball in your hands, especially in a game environment,” says Shannon Glenn ‘20, Central Atlantic Athletic Conference (CACC) Rookie of the Year for 2016-17. “It’s even better when you can do both of these things with a handful of your teammates.”
Composed of players from seven different colleges/universities, Glenn was joined on the league’s Team Red by two of her previous Chestnut Hill College teammates, Vicky Tumasz ’18 and Ayanna Holloway ’19, as well as three of the newest Griffins who will be debuting this season, Bianca Picardo ’18, a transfer from New York University, Kaitlin Dougherty ’21 and Cassie Sebold ’21.
Sebold, who will be coming to Chestnut Hill College following a successful high school career at Archbishop Wood, grew up just five minutes away from the Kelly Bolish Gymnasium in Hatboro, where the league is hosted. Every year, her mom, Sue, who played in the league in the '90s, would take Sebold to the gymnasium to watch the games.
“My mom would tell me stories of how much she enjoyed her time playing and how she was excited for when I would be able to as well,” says Sebold. “She always tells me how much I remind her of herself when I play so it was cool for both of us for her to be able to watch me play in the league.”
Overall, the Chestnut Hill College-led Team Red struggled, finishing just 2-8, but for the Griffins, the wins and losses weren’t nearly as important as the chemistry that they were building together on the court, both with old and new faces alike.
“Participating on the same team enabled us to become more comfortable with how each other plays, and to know what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are,” says Dougherty. “This definitely helped build chemistry between the newcomers and returning players, and it helped knowing the upperclassmen were very welcoming.”
Tumasz, who will be one of the senior captains this year and who has been participating in the summer league for four years now, echoed that sentiment.
“I think all of us playing together definitely made it more comfortable for the new girls coming in. The league showed them the difference between high school and college basketball and the different work ethic put in, while also allowing us returning players to kind of show them our style and introduce them to CHC basketball.”
One of the additional benefits of the league, according to Tumasz, is the chance to play with players of all kinds of talent levels, from DI to DIII. Several schools fielded teams entirely or almost entirely of their own players, including Philadelphia University (now Thomas Jefferson) and the University of the Sciences, two of Chestnut Hill College’s CACC rivals. Also among the players were two girls who represented Team USA at the Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem this year.
“The talent level of the league is incredibly high and to get to witness these players and play with and against them is only going to help improve my game and that of my teammates,” says Tumasz.
Playing in the league allowed the six girls to remain fresh and ready for the season, but as they all will tell you, this was only the beginning of what will be a year-long journey to finish even better and stronger than they did last season.
“I'm super excited for this season to start, I think we have a lot of talented returners and newbies that will make us a strong team,” says Tumasz. “Like every other team in the league, our goal is to win everything that comes our way, but each year we continue to break new records and I think that's something we also look forward to doing. Chestnut Hill isn't the same team they used to be a few years ago and now we have a target on our back which is what we want!”
- Marilee Gallagher '14
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