A first-year summer college women's basketball league in the Quad-Cities is providing opportunities for players to improve their skills.
The four-team league plays its games on Sunday evenings at the Beyond the Baseline facility in Davenport, giving players that compete for St. Ambrose, Augustana, Black Hawk and Ashford along with local players who are part of college teams elsewhere a close-to-home option for competition.
"For our first year, we are pleased with how things have gone," league director Gary Thrapp said. "We've gotten good support from the local coaches, and I think we're here to stay."
About 40 players are competing in the league that winds up with games at 6 and 7 p.m. the next two Sundays, and Thrapp said it is possible that a limited number of high school players could participate in the league in future years.
But before the league started this summer, Thrapp tested the water.
Open gyms were held the first two weeks to gauge player interest, and with more than 20 attending the first night Thrapp decided to proceed with a league he first considered three years ago.
"The timing then was not right, but now I think players and coaches see a need. We provide some organization and competition," Thrapp said. "It's more than pick-up basketball."
Each of the four teams consists of players from each of the area colleges as well as other local players.
Thrapp said rosters were built with the idea of creating competitive teams that would allow all players to benefit.
"We tried to split the teams up as evenly as we could," Thrapp said. "We talked to the college coaches of the incoming freshmen in order to learn what positions they anticipated those players competing at this winter and we are playing them in those positions, giving them a chance to learn."
Much like the Pepsi League that league director Ray Swetalla has organized in the Quad-Cities for collegiate men's players, the new women's league works to create game-like conditions during the offseason.
"The emphasis is on doing things the right way and helping players develop their skills," Thrapp said. "We exist to help them become better players through experience and competition."