By Mel Greenberg
Columbia Blue, accented by St. Joseph's and Cheyney stars, handed Red a taste of its own playoff medicine and came back for a 68-64 win Monday night to sweep the best-of-three championship round and claim the 2009 title of the Philadelphia Dept. of Recreation NCAA Women's Summer League at Parkwood Youth Center in the Northeast.
In the first two rounds of the playoffs, the fifth-seeded Red team rallied twice to pull a pair of upsets to advance to the title round against the top-seeded Columbia Blue squad, who went 10-2 in the regular season.
This time it was Columbia's turn for a comeback after trailing 24-8 from the outset and 33-28 at the half.
Former Holy Family star Kate Baum scored 13 points, while Cheyney's Angel Stephens scored 12 and her Wolves teammate Angel Handerson scored 11. St. Joseph's Amy Gillespie also scored 11.
One might say a pair of Angels rescued Columbia after it appeared headed for theplayoff morgue.
Columbia had to make do without St. Joseph's Brittany Ford, who suffered a minor injury in the quarterfinals, and Hawks incoming freshan Ashley Robinson, who appeared to sprain her ankle in the opening minutes of Monday's game, according to several observers.
The winners were still able to dominate the boards despite missing the two prominent Hawks post players.
Red got a monster night out of recently-graduated La Salle star Margaret Elderton, a Haverford High alumna, who matched her all-time Explorers total with 32 points. Drexel Ayana Lee added 10 points, West Chester's Megan Stewart was held to seven points, and La Salle post player Chelsea Conner scored six.
The game marked the end of the era of longtime league commissioner David Kessler, who will be feted at a farewell party next month. Details will be listed here, but considering that last summer Kessler was set to bid adieu, it is still to be determined if this time it's for real.