The National Women’s Basketball League has been around since
1997 allowing women to play basketball after college. But in 2001 a
more professional aspect surfaced, and the league itself was
established with four teams; three, the Kansas City Legacy, Mobile
Majesty and Atlanta Justice, are all now defunct.
The other founding team, the Birmingham Power, is the oldest
franchise in the NWBL.
Tuesday the Colorado Chill in its inaugural season took on the
Power. The Chill, like the expansion Colorado Eagles in the Central
Hockey League, plays its home games at the Budweiser Events Center
in Loveland. Both the Colorado expansion teams are shocking their
respective leagues, as both are in first place in their divisions
as their seasons come to a close.
The Chill played a solid game defensively and took control of
the game early and held the lead all the way to a 72-58
Chill forward and former Ram Katie Cronin led all scorers and
rebounders as she went for a double-double with 18 points with 11
“If someone gets hot we get them the ball” Cronin said. “That’s
how we want to play.”
Cronin shot 50 percent from the floor, second best on her team
as Maren Walseth shot 4-for-7 for 57 percent. The Chill combined to
shoot only 35 percent all game. When asked about her team’s poor
shooting from the floor, Chill head coach Jade Strohm said, “I wish
somebody would tell me, cause I don’t know.”
With the ball not finding the hoop as often as Chill fans would
have liked, the defense needed to step up, and it did. The Power’s
starting center Alisa Burras who averages 8.0 rebounds a game was
held to five boards and the leading scorer for the Power, Lori
Nero, who gets nearly 13 points a game was held to just seven.
“Our defense did a great job, and rebounding is a factor of
defense as well,” said Chill center Ruth Riley who finished the
game with five rebounds and four blocks.
The rebounding was what kept the Chill, now 10-5 overall and 8-0
at home, in the game. The Chill out rebounded the Power 49-36 in a
game that was a must win for the Power.
“Rebounding is a big issue for us” said Power head coach Dee
Stokes. “Turnovers are also a big issue.”
Birmingham as a team turned the ball over 22 times.
With the loss the Power are now at 5-8 and just one game ahead
of the cellar-dwelling Springfield Spirit.
The remaining schedule for the Chill consists of six more games
with only one game against a team with a winning record, the 6-5
Houston Stealth. The Stealth game will be in Houston and with a
Chill road record of 2-5 the second-place Stealth could be a major
problem. But with a two game advantage on the Stealth with six to
go, a position in the NWBL postseason looks promising.