Villanova women’s basketball coach Harry Perretta has been making the same trip for 25 years.
Every spring, Perretta hops on I-95 and drives to the suburbs of Washington, D.C., to visit former Villanova star Shelly Pennefather, who decided in June 1991 to walk away from basketball and become a cloistered nun.
He goes "to explain myself to her,” Perretta told the Inquirer in 2016.
Pennefather wasn’t just a good player during her time at Villanova from 1983 to 1987 — she was the Big East Player of the Year three straight years and remains the school’s all-time scoring leader.
“She played old-school basketball, where she’s cutting you open and slicing and dicing you. She’s smiling at you and you’re cut to pieces, and the game’s over,” University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma told ESPN for a new SportsCenter feature that will premiere Saturday.
The feature — written by Elizabeth Merrill and narrated by Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts — chronicles Pennefather’s decision to walk away from a $200,000 contract in Japan to join the Monastery of the Poor Clares in June 1994.
As part of her commitment, Pennefather — who now goes by Sister Rose Marie of the Queen of Angels — must remain barefoot, can only sleep for four hours at a time, and is not allowed to have physical contact with family and friends outside of a ceremony that takes place every 25 years.
ESPN was there in June to capture the emotional moment when Pennefather was allow to share embraces with her former teammates, family members (including her elderly mother), and Perretta.
“I’ve been in the room with her for 25 years and not allowed to touch her. If I’m alive, I’ll try to get there. Hopefully I’ll be alive in 25 years,” Perretta said.
» READ MORE: The world is her cloister
The feature will air during SportsCenter on Saturday at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., and re-air following Sunday Night Baseball the next day. Here’s a short preview:
Following the success of the simulcast of The Mike Missanelli Show, NBC Sports Philadelphia is adding a new show to its lineup.
Beginning Monday, viewers can turn on NBC Sports Philadelphia+ to watch a simulcast of The Daily Line, a sports-betting radio show that launched in January hosted by Michael Jenkins and Tim Murray.
As part of the move to a simulcast, the show is adding Sara Perlman — who previously served as an on-field reporter during Baltimore Orioles broadcasts on MASN — as a new co-host on the show.
The simulcast, which is produced at NBC Sports Washington’s studios in Bethesda, Md., is being rolled out on NBC Sports regional networks in Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Chicago. The show can also be streamed in its entirety on the NBC Sports app, though cable authentication is required.
NBC Sports Philadelphia has experimented a bit with local sports gambling programming this year. Back in April, 97.5 The Fanatic sports talkers Marc Farzetta and Anthony Gargano hosted a Sixers simulcast focused on sports betting with gambling expert Brad Feinberg. The trio also hosted a weekly sports gambling show during last season’s NFL playoffs.
• Former Sixers great Allen Iverson will headline 97.5 The Fanatic’s annual The Fanatic Fan Fest party, which will take place at XFINITY Live! on Aug. 24 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more info, head over to the Fanatic’s website.
• Former FOX29 traffic reporter and Villanova graduate Kacie McDonnell is leaving Boston sports network NESN after three years. McDonnell’s contract expires next month and the Pottsville native has decided to explore new opportunities. “I’m not sure what’s next for me. I’m taking a breath,” she told WEEI.