Linda Page, who scored 100 points in a game this year for Dobbins Tech of Philadelphia, is going to North Carolina State in the fall. Debbie Young and Cathy Grimes, both two-time all-Mets, are going to Virginia.
But Karen Elsner is considering, of all places, Richmond and Delaware.
Most of the players participating in the first McDonald's Girls Classic at St. John's High School today at 3 p.m. are headed for the traditional women's college powers. But Elsner, one of the most sought-after seniors in the country, could end up at a Division II or III school.
"I want to go to a place where basketball is still fun," said Elsner, a 6-foot-2 center from Holy Cross who will play on the Metro All-Stars against the East Coast All-Stars. "I wouldn't want to go to a place where you eat, sleep and drink basketball.
"I've gone to a lot off college games and it didn't look like many of them were having fun. Basketball has always been enjoyable at Holy Cross, and I want it to stay that way."
One of 13 high school all-Americas in the Classic, Elsner averaged 19.6 points and 14.7 rebounds this season for Holy Cross, the top-ranked team in the area the past four years. She was The Washington Post's player of the year the last two seasons and never played in a losing game in her four years at the Kensington school. Not suprisingly, her decision to spurn the top teams in the country has intrigued some observers and irritated others who feel she is copping out.
"It would be like Pat Ewing going to Mount St. Mary's instead of Georgetown,"" said Bill Sheahan, her coach at Holy Cross and the coach of the Metro team. "Karen's position is similar to Pat's in many respects. The only difference is that at the end of Ewing's rainbow, no matter where he goes, is a pot of gold. Karen doesn't have those options because there is no women's league comparable to the NBA."
Elsner said she has been offered scholarships by more than 150 colleges. Yet her choices have been narrowed to Virginia Tech and Georgetown, both Division I schools but not nationally known powers; Delaware, which is Division II; and Richmond, which is Division III.
Elsner acknowledged that the lack of a strong women's professional league is a factor in her selection of a college. She is considering a career in promotion because it would still allow her to be involved in sports.
"Does she really want to go to a Delaware?" asked one coach who tried to recruit her. "She's a highly motivated ballplayer, but you can't tell me she'll get much better with that kind of competition."
Elsner remains undaunted.
"Some people may think I'm chickening out, but it hasn't really bothered me," she said. "Besides, what's a bigger challenge -- going to an already established school, or going to a small one and help build up the program? I mean, whoever heard of Old Dominion before Nancy Lieberman went there?"