For more than four decades, the Developmental Basketball League, Inc., (DBL) has provided an opportunity for a number of high school girl basketball players to polish their skills during the summer. The DBL has served as a platform for the girls to compete against some of the best talent in the city.
This is the 41st year of this legendary summer basketball league. The DBL was co-founded by Lurline Jones and Ina Newman, head women’s basketball coaches at University City and Simon Gratz, respectively. Jones and Newman have coached some terrific players over the years. The summer basketball program is held for eight weeks at Temple University’s Pearson Hall, Broad Street and Montgomery Avenue. The league has received plenty of support from Michael Horsey, Tina Sloan Green, Chuck Powell and Joey Temple. Keith Strand is the executive director of the league that started in 1973.
The league has produced some outstanding players who have gone on to play college basketball, in the WNBA and professionally in Europe. Some players have gone into coaching as well as other professions. Here’s a list of some of the great players from the DBL, who have been a part of this long Philadelphia basketball tradition for women.
Stephens was an All-Public League star at Simon Gratz. She had a tremendous college basketball career and is the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in Temple women’s basketball history, scoring 2,196 points and grabbed 1,516 rebounds. In 1984, she was selected to the All-American basketball team.
Laney was an All-Public League star at University City and won three Public League championships. In 1977 and 1978, she was named Player of the Year. Laney played her college basketball at Cheyney State and led the Wolves to their first ever NCAA championship appearance in 1982 before losing to Louisiana Tech in the title game. She was named to the Kodak All-American team.
Page, former Dobbins Tech basketball star, received national attention for scoring 100 points in a Public League game. That contest, a 131-37 win over Mastbaum, broke Wilt Chamberlain’s scoring mark of 90, set when he played at Overbrook High School in 1955. Page played for North Carolina State and scored more than 2,000 career points for the Wolfpack. In 1985, she averaged 21.1 points and 7.6 rebounds a game while leading NC State to the ACC championship. Page passed away in 2011.
Staley had a spectacular career at Dobbins Tech and won three consecutive Public League championships. In 1988, she was National High School Player of the Year. Staley played her college basketball at Virginia and led the Cavaliers to three NCAA Final Four appearances. She played in the WNBA for several years and was a five-time all-star. Staley won four Olympic gold medals. After that, she was the head women’s basketball coach at Temple from 2000-08. Staley is now the head women’s basketball coach at South Carolina. In 2013, she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Daye was a brilliant point guard at West Philadelphia High School. She could really handle the basketball and led West Philadelphia to the 1981 Public League championship. Daye played her college basketball at Syracuse.
Audrey Lee (Bowles)
Lee was a great rebounder and inside scorer at West Philadelphia High School and teamed with Daye to lead the Speedgirls to the 1981 Public League title. Immediately following her scholastic career, she played her college basketball at Temple with All-American Marilyn Stephens.
Hester had a nice touch from the perimeter and was a good open court shooter. She played on West Philly’s 1981 league championship team with Daye and Lee. Hester had a sensational career at La Salle University and was selected to the Big 5 and the La Salle Hall of Fame.
Blaylock was a big time player from Southern and could really take the ball to the basket. She was a good defender and was one of the city’s top Public League players. In 1976, Blaylock led the Lady Rams to the league championship.
Lytle could really play the game. She could handle the ball, shoot from the perimeter and get to the basket. Lytle played for Simon Gratz, where the Bulldogs were known for basketball. She was one of the school’s best women’s basketball players.
McGirt grew up playing basketball in South Philly, playing at Marian Anderson Recreation Center. She was a star at St. Maria Goretti. After a great scholastic career, McGirt played for Penn State.
Williams, a Southern High product, had a great career in the Public League and was one of the first players from the league to play for Villanova. She played for the Wildcats during the 80s.
Phillips was a magnificent player for William Penn and played some good basketball for the Lions. After that, she played at Virginia State in the CIAA.
Valerie Phillips’ sister Jessie also played at William Penn. Jessie was a very talented player who had a good understanding of the game. She could put the ball on the floor and create her own shot.
Hoover was a standout at University City High School and a great inside player. She played her college basketball at Temple and was a teammate of All-American Marilyn Stephens.
Howard was a marvelous basketball player at Simon Gratz, and In 1974, was one of the top players in the Public League. She also played her college basketball at Cheyney State.
DeShields was an All-Public League standout at Simon Gratz. In 1981, the city was loaded with great players — DeShields was one of them.
Hendrix was an All Public star at William Penn. She could grab a rebound and take the ball the length of the court. Hendrix played her college basketball at Syracuse.
Lewis played for William Penn and was one of the best high school players in the Public League. She was a solid player for Syracuse.
Bryant played for Martin Luther King and led the Cougars to the Public League playoffs in 1984. She played her college basketball at the University of Virginia.
Farmer was an All Public League selection at University City High School. The 6-foot-4 center had a lot of moves around the basket. She was an ACC standout in college at Clemson University.
Williams could really put the ball in the basket. She played for Frankford High School. The 5-foot-9 forward also played her college basketball at Cheyney Unniversity.
Stewart was a great scorer. She tallied 2,501 career points at University City High School and in 1996, led the Jaguars to the Public League title. She played her college basketball at Rutgers and in 2000, she guided the Scarlet Knights to the NCAA Final Four in Philadelphia.
Garner was an All-Public League player at Masterman High School and in 1996, led Masterman High School to the league finals. Garner, a 6-foot-3 forward, played for Penn State and in 2000, carried the Nittany Lions to the NCAA Final Four in Philadelphia.
McAliley was a real smooth player at Olney High School. The 6-foot-1 forward had some great moves in the lane. She was a good rebounder and defender around the basket.
Walker, a former University City High basketball star, was a real force in the Public League. She played her college basketball at the University of Pittsburgh. The 6-foot-3 forward currently plays professional basketball in Turkey.
Kimberly Johnson (Felder)
Johnson was an All-Public League standout at Overbrook High School. She could really play the game. Johnson also coached girls basketball for a few years at West Philadelphia High School. Johnson passed away on Sunday, June 8, 2014.
Graves, a 6-foot-5 center, really dominated in the Public League. She averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds a game for University City High School. Graves played her college basketball at Howard University where she was a three-time All MEAC selection. She also played professional basketball in the WNBA and Europe.
Ross, a 5-foot-5 point guard, could do it all. She could handle the ball, score and defend. She led Franklin Learning Center to the 2003 Public League championship and averaged 22.4 points and 8.5 assists a game. Ross was an NAIA Division I standout at Harris-Stowe in Missouri.
Bowens had a great career at University City High School and in 2001, led the the Jaguars to the Public League championship. She was an All-Public League selection and went on to play her college basketball at Temple.
Hampton was a major star at Engineering and Science and in 2008, led E&S to the Public League championship. She was one of the top high school players in the state. Hampton played her college basketball at DePaul and received All-Big East honors. She led the Blue Demons to the NCAA tournament. Hampton will be playing professional basketball in France next month.
Felder could really handle the ball in the open court. In 1984, she helped University City High School win the Public League championship. She had a tremendous basketball career at Maryland Eastern Shore. In 1999, she was inducted into the UMES Athletics Hall of Fame.
Henricks was a solid player for University City High School. She was a good defender, took high percentage shots and did a good job of looking for the open player.
Washington was a brilliant shooting guard on University City High’s 1984 Public League championship team and received All-Public League honors. She was a teammate of Monica Felder.
The DBL playoffs will take place July 28. The championship game will be held July 31. The league is also accepting donations. For more information, contact (215) 805-4546.
Contact Staff Writer Donald Hunt at (215) 893-5719 or email@example.com.