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Burwell goes undefeated for the first time to claim her first JPNEWT title since 2018

Nicole Nester, Linda Shea, Melissa Jenkins, Kia Burwell and Naoko Dabreo

Kia Burwell has been a consistent performer on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) and other professional and semiprofessional tours and events since about 2015. An oddity of our AZB Money Leaderboard had her climbing to her highest number on that leaderboard (141) last year, even though her best earnings year, to date, has been 2018, when she came from the loss side to win her first JPNEWT stop in March of that year. This past weekend (June 26-27), Burwell won her second JPNEWT stop and went undefeated for the first time.

The tour returned to New Jersey for the first time since August, 2016 and welcomed a new venue. The event drew 21 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

As the JPNEWT approaches the midway point of its 2021 season (with stop #6 of 12, scheduled for July 17-18), the tour standings experienced a bit of a shuffle among its top players. Caroline Pao, who continues to look for her 8th win on the tour since 2019, finished out of the money in this one, though her previous two victories, runner-up and 3rd place finish in the first four events put her far enough ahead that she still sits atop the tour standings. In the absence of Liz Taylor at this event, Nicole Nester moved up a spot to be 2nd behind Pao. Tour director Linda Shea moved up a spot, too, to #3. Burwell, who came into the event in 7th place in the standings, moved up three slots to take over 4th place. Taylor moved down three to end up in 5th place, while Judie Wilson maintained her position in 6th place.

Burwell’s path to the winners’ circle took her past Jennifer Tully 7-3, Ashley Burrows 7-5 and Alison Davis 7-1 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Linda Shea. Nicole Nester, in the meantime, downed Kris Consalvo-Kemp 7-3, Naoko Dabreo 7-5 and Ada Lio in a shutout to draw Melissa Jenkins in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Burwell downed Shea 7-4 and moved into the hot seat match. Nester joined her after dispatching Jenkins 7-5. Burwell claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Nester.

On the loss side, Shea picked up Ashley Burrows, who was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that had begun with her loss to Burwell and recently eliminated Ashima Butler 7-4 and Ada Lio 7-2. Jenkins drew Dabreo, who was also working on a four-match, loss-side streak and had most recently defeated Joanne Corbett 7-2 and Jay Pass 7-5. 

Jenkins put a stop to Dabreo’s loss-side run 7-5 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Shea leap-frogged over Burrows, who ran into transportation issues associated with her return on Sunday and was unable to compete.

Shea gave up only a single rack to Jenkins in the quarterfinals. She then defeated Nester in the semifinals 7-3. Burwell completed her first undefeated run on the tour with a 7-4 victory over Shea in the finals.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked Kris Consalvo-Kemp and her staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA Physical Therapy, George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor) and Britanya E Rapp (angle aim Art) for the event’s live stream. Stop #6 on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of July 17-18, will be hosted by Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD. 

Pao goes undefeated to chalk up her seventh win on the JPNEWT since 2019

Caroline Pao and Nicole Nester

Last month (April 10-11), Caroline Pao joined 18 other competitors at stop #2 on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, looking for her seventh straight win on the tour, dating back to 2019. Liz Taylor defeated her twice; once, in a winners’ side semifinal and again, in the finals. This past weekend, as 24 women gathered to compete at stop #3, hosted by First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA, there was some speculation that Taylor v. Pao might go at it again, in search of the event title. It didn’t happen. In fact, they didn’t meet in this one at all. Pao, though, went undefeated through the field to claim that seventh, though not ‘seventh straight’ JPNEWT title.

Pao faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals. She was awarded an opening round bye and opened her campaign with a 7-3 win over Kia Burwell. She then shut out Judie Wilson and drew Kelly Wyatt in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Carol V. Clark, in the meantime, also with an opening round bye, survived a double hill fight against Ashley Burrows and defeated Lai Li 7-5 to draw Nicole Nester in the other winners’ side semifinal. Nester, who would go on to face Pao in the finals, had just survived her own double hill challenge versus Liz Taylor, sending her to the loss side in their winners’ side quarterfinal match. 

Clark sent Nester to the loss side 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Pao, who’d defeated Wyatt 7-3. Pao gave up just a single rack to claim the hot seat over Clark.

Tour director Linda Shea, who’d started out in a promising direction on the winners’ side with two straight shutouts over Calaia Jackson and Kimberly Smith-Martin, ran into Kelly Wyatt in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals. When Wyatt sent her to the loss side 7-3, she downed Melissa Jenkins 7-4 and then, survived a double hill battle versus Ashley Burrows to draw Nester. Wyatt, in the meantime, picked up Liz Taylor, who’d followed her defeat at the hands of Nester with victories over Cecilia Strain 7-2 and Kia Burwell 7-1.

There were, at this point, six competitors left. Five of the six were among the top 10 in the tour standings going into this third stop. Pao, Taylor, Nester and Shea were, in order, #1 through #4, while Carol V. Clark was #6.  There were two rematch possibilities in the quarterfinals. It was Taylor and Nester who advanced to meet a second time. Taylor eliminated Wyatt 7-3, as Nester was busy in a double hill fight that she eventually won over Shea.

Any hopes for a second straight tour stop with Pao and Taylor in the finals was eliminated in the quarterfinals, when Nester downed Taylor 7-2. Nester earned her spot in the finals with a 7-5 win over Clark in the semifinals. 

Pao completed her undefeated run with a 7-5 win in the finals, which allowed her to maintain her top spot in the tour standings. In fact, the tour’s top five in the standings maintained their positions with the points they earned at this event. Pao, Taylor, Nester, Shea and Wilson (who finished in tie for 9th place) remained as the top five. Kia Burwell moved up a single spot to #6, while Carol V. Clark’s third-place finish moved her up from #9 to a tie with Burwell.

Tour director Shea thanked the ownership and staff at First Break Sports Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Bitzel and Associates PTPA (Physical Therapists), George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor/stream commentator) and for the live stream, Britanya E. Rapp of angle aim Art. The next stop on the JPNEWT (#4), scheduled for June 12-13, will be hosted by Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD.

 

Pao comes from the loss side to win sixth title on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour

Nicole Nester and Caroline Pao

Caroline Pao won twice on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) last year (2020). The two wins followed a somewhat brief, pandemic-inspired, competitive-play drought, before which she had finished in the tie for 9th place at the Ashton Twins Classic in January. She’d won all three times she competed on the tour in 2019, which proved to be, and remains, her best recorded earnings year to date.

On the weekend of March 6-7, 2021, at the JPNEWT season opener, she entered her sixth JPNEWT event in the past two years. She was looking for her sixth straight win on the tour and she found it. At Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD, where she met another long-time veteran of the tour, Nicole Nester, twice. Though knocked out of the hot seat match by Nester, Pao returned from a victory in the semifinals to defeat Nester in the finals. The event drew 26 entrants to Triple Nines.

Pao opened with a shutout over Melissa Mason, a 7-1 win over Lynn Richard and a 7-4 win against Teri Thomas, which set her (Pao) up in a winners’ side semifinal against Tour Director Linda Shea, with whom she’s had a battle or two over the years. Nicole Nester, in the meantime, got by KanKan Yu 7-4, and Deb Peterman 7-3, as a prelude to a double hill battle against Liz Taylor, fresh off a 3rd place finish at the VA State Ladies 10-Ball Championships a couple of weeks ago. Nester prevailed and advanced to her winners’ side semifinal matchup, against Kathy Friend.

Pao moved on to the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Shea and was joined by Nester, who’d defeated Friend 7-4. Nester claimed the hot seat 7-3.

On the loss side, Friend picked up Christine Pross, who’d suffered a winners’ side quarterfinal 7-5 loss to Shea. Pross went on to down Ceci Strain 7-3 and survive a double hill bout against Shanna Lewis. Liz Taylor, who’d followed her loss to Pao with a loss side victory over Judie Wilson 7-1, locked up in a double hill battle with the tour’s #2 competitor in the standings, Kia Burwell. Taylor jumped out of that frying pan and into the fire of the #1 player in the standings, TD Linda Shea.

Taylor dropped Shea 7-2 and in the quarterfinals, faced Friend, who’d defeated Pross 7-5. Taylor won that quarterfinal match 7-4 over Friend before having her modest four-match, loss-side streak ended by Pao in the semifinals 7-4. Pao completed her sixth straight win on the tour with a 9-3 victory in the finals.

Tour director Shea thanked Stan Nasiatka and his Triple Nines staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Bitzel and Associates Physical Therapy and Brit Rapp of angle aim Art for sponsoring the live stream. The next stop (#2) on the tour, scheduled for April 10-11, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

Shanna Lewis gets by Lai Li twice, double hill, to win JPNEWT season opener

Shanna Lewis

Pool tournaments will often play host to competitors who, for one reason or another, have been away from the game for a while. Depending upon the skill level they’d attained before they stopped competing, how long they’ve been away and the overall competitive level of the field they enter upon their return, the result could go either way. The competitor could go ‘two and out,’ if they’re seriously out of practice and stroke, or they could make it seem as though pool’s like riding a bicycle, where one can more or less pick up where they left off.

Shanna Lewis, whose last reported cash payout in a pool tournament was at a Q Master Billiards Mid-Atlantic Women’s 9-Ball Open in 2015 (9th place), returned to the tables this past weekend (March 7-8) to compete in the season opener of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour. Lewis chose the ‘like riding a bicycle’ option and went undefeated through the field of 31, downing last year’s runner-up in the Tour Championship standings, Lai Li, twice. The $500-added (by Coins of the Realm), NAPT Div. II Semi-Pro event drew 31 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD.

Her own assessment of her TAFT (time away from table) was more in the vicinity of 10 years. It was an absence prompted by a decision to focus on the business career side of her life. She’s back, now, still working on the business side of her career, but with some flexibility to spend more TAT (time at table). While acknowledging that she’s returned with her skills more or less intact, she noted that it wasn’t as easy as it looked from the nature of the undefeated run and her two victories over Lai Li might indicate.

“Yeah, there were times during the tournament when I was thinking, ‘Yeah, this is great,” she said, “but there were other times when I felt like I couldn’t put a ball in the hole that was a straight shot.”

That said, Lewis was back on the bicycle right from the start, winning 14 of her first 17 games. She gave up only one rack to Judie Wilson and then two to Melissa Mason before running into Elaine Wilson, who, in essence, by chalking up five racks against her, applied some brakes to Lewis’ bicycle. It dropped Lewis’ game-winning percentage by 10 points in a single match. Lewis won, though, and advanced to face Teri Thomas in a winners’ side semifinal.

Lai Li, in the meantime, had opened with a 7-1 victory over Charlynn Dzambo, defeated Kelly Wyatt 7-4 and downed the tour’s 2020 champion, Linda Shea, 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal.  The draw wasn’t getting any easier as Li advanced to face Kia Sidbury in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Lewis got into the hot seat match with another 7-1 victory, over Thomas, and faced Li, who’d sent Sidbury to the loss side 7-4. In their first of two, they battled to double hill before Lewis prevailed to sit in her first hot (bicycle) seat in a while.

On the loss side, Nicole Nester and Sharon O’Hanlon were working on modest three-match, loss-side winning streaks that had begun when they’d lost their winners’ side quarterfinal match to  Teri Thomas and Kia Sidbury, respectively. Nester and O’Hanlon both won two loss-side double hill battles; Nester, versus Colleen Shoop and Eugenia Gyftopoulos; O’Hanlon, over two ‘powerhouse’ opponents – Nicole King and Tour Director, Linda Shea. They did not, however, draw rematches because Nester drew Sidbury and O’Hanlon drew Thomas.

Nester advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Sidbury, as Thomas eliminated O’Hanlon 7-3. Nester then downed Thomas 7-3 in those quarterfinals, before herself being eliminated in a double hill fight versus Li in the semifinals.

A second, slightly longer double hill fight, Li’s third straight, ensued in the finals. Lewis won it 9-8 to claim the title to JPNEWT’s 2020 season opener.

Tour director Linda Shea thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Coins of the Realm, The Turtle Rack (www.mezzusa.com), Baltimore City Cues, and the live stream, sponsored by Britanya E. Rapp, billiards artist (angle aim Art). The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of April 4-5, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

Testa comes from the loss side to down Shea in finals of Stop #2 on the JPNEWT

L to R: Erica Testa, Kia Sidbury, Judie Wilson, Nicole King, Chari Slater, Linda Shea

While it’s still a little early to be talking about tour rankings, and who might or might not advance to be the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour champion at the conclusion of its season in November, the tour’s second stop, held on the weekend of April 28-29, did result in a bit of shuffling at the top of those rankings. Erica Testa, who entered Stop #2 in second place behind Kia Sidbury in the single-event rankings, came from the loss side to down Linda Shea in the finals. Testa moved ahead of Sidbury into first place. In the absence of Heather Platter, who was ranked second, Sidbury, who finished in the tie for 5th place, moved into the second spot. Shea’s runner-up finish moved her from 5th to 3rd, while Judie Wilson’s third-place finish kept her in the #4 spot in the rankings. The event drew 18 entrants to Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.
 
After an opening round bye, Testa downed Chari Slater and Anita Sowers to draw Shea in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Wilson, in the meantime (also after a bye) defeated Suzanne Sellet and Melissa Jenkins to meet Sidbury in the other winners’ side semifinal. The four women in those two matches were four of the early-tour’s six best players (Heather Platter and Cheryl Sporleder did not compete in this event). Shea sent Testa to the loss side 7-4, as Wilson was working on a double hill win over Sidbury. Shea claimed the hot seat (her first of the early season) 7-1 over Wilson and waited on the return of Testa.
 
Over on the loss side, Testa drew a re-match against Slater, who’d defeated Tina Marinelli, Sharon O’Hanlon (double hill) and Melissa Jenkins 7-4 to earn that re-match. Sidbury picked up Nicole King, who’d originally been defeated by Shea, and gotten by Elaine Wilson 7-3 and Nicole Nester 7-2 on the loss side.
 
Advancement to the quarterfinals was hotly contested with both matches going double hill. When the double hill dust settled, King and Testa had advanced. Testa eliminated King 7-5 in those quarterfinals, and then, spoiled Judie Wilson’s bid for a re-match against Shea (and movement up the rankings ladder) with a 7-3 win in the semifinals.
 
It was an ‘extended race to 9’ final. Coming from the loss side, Testa had to beat Shea to seven racks, to extend the race to 9. She did so and added two more for a 9-6 win that gave her the event title and sole possession of first place in the tour rankings.
 
In addition to the Open event, on Sunday, the tour added its second Amateur event, open to players with skill levels at “4” or below. That event was won by Shelah Joner, who, in addition to $40 in cash, was awarded a paid entry into the next JPNEWT event. That event, scheduled for the weekend of May 19-20, will be hosted by First Break Café and Billiards in Sterling, VA.

Shea comes back from semifinals to defeat Whitman in JPNEWT Season Opener

Linda Shea continues to be a force to reckon with on her own J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour, which opened its 2016 season on the weekend of March 19-20. She advanced to the hot seat match in the $1,000-added ($500 from Coins of the Realm) event which drew 29 entrants to Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD, and was sent to the semifinals by Kim Whitman. She returned from those semifinals to defeat Whitman in an extended race-to-9 final, chalking up her first 2016 tour win.
 
Following victories over Teri Thomas, Nicole King, and Colleen Shoop, Shea advanced to a winners' side semifinal versus Nicole Nester. Whitman, in the meantime, who'd survived a double hill opening round battle against Delia Mocanu, went on to defeat Sharon O'Hanlon, and Kia Sidbury to end up in the other winners' side semifinal against Nicole Monaco. Shea and Whitman got into the hot seat match with identical 7-4 victories over Nicoles Nester and Monaco. Whitman claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Shea and waited on her return.
 
On the loss side, Monaco had the misfortune of running into Erica Testa, who'd been defeated in the event's opening round by Judie Wilson and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would propel her into the semifinals versus Shea. She downed Kristina Douglas, O'Hanlon, Shoop and Heather Platter to draw Monaco. Nester didn't fare much better in the 'draw' department, picking up Mocanu, who was also defeated in the event's opening round by Whitman, and was on her own five-match, loss-side streak that began with two straight double hill wins (over Sierra Reams and Carol V. Clark). She went on to defeat Judie Wilson 7-3, Britanya Rapp 7-1, and survived her third, loss-side double hill match (vs. Kia Sidbury) to pick up Nester.
 
Nester ended Mocanu's streak 7-3, and in the quarterfinals, faced Testa, whose streak continued with a double hill win over Monaco. Testa was gaining momentum. She allowed Nester only a single rack in those quarterfinals, and advanced to meet Shea. Testa put up a fight in those semifinals, but Shea prevailed 7-5 for a second shot at Whitman in the hot seat.
 
They played an extended race-to-9, in which, if the loss-side opponent reaches "7" first, the race is extended to 9 games. Shea hit that "7" spot first, went on to win 9-7 and claimed the season opening title.
 
As representative of the JPNEWT, Shea extended thanks to the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of April 30-May 1, will be hosted by Markley Billiards in Norristown, PA.

Shea finishes JPNEWT season with her first win

Judie Wilson, Linda Shea, Sharon O’hanlon and Nicole Fleming

Linda Shea, tour director of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour (JPNEWT), was runner-up in five of her tour's nine events this year. In the tour's season finale, on the weekend of November 15-16, she came from the loss side to meet and defeat Nicole Fleming in the finals to claim her first tour 2014 event title. The $1,000-added event, including $500 added by Coins of the Realm, drew 20 entrants to Triple Nines Bar & Billiards in Elkridge, MD.
 
Though Shea did not have to contend with either Karen Corr or Jia Li, who, between them, had won the previous eight stops on the tour, she did, eventually have to face Dawn Fox, lurking in fourth place in the tour rankings, and, of course, Fleming, who entered the tournament about 90 points behind Fox in the rankings. Shea's win solidified her position as the tour's top-ranked player.
 
Shea ran into Fleming for the first time in a winners' side semifinal, as Sharon O'Hanlon and Judie Wilson squared off in the other. Fleming downed Shea 7-2, and in the battle for the hot seat, faced O'Hanlon, who'd survived a double hill match versus Wilson. Fleming, who'd finished third in the tour's first stop in March (same location), guaranteed her highest finish of the year with a 7-4 win over O'Hanlon, and sat in the hot seat for the first time.
 
On the loss side, Shea ran into Dawn Fox, who'd defeated Meredith Lynch 7-5 and Kathy Friend 7-3 to reach her. Wilson drew Nicole Nester, who'd shut out Colleen Mattes and defeated Lai Li 7-5. Wilson made short work of Nester, shutting her out, as Shea and Fox locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Shea to meet Wilson in the quarterfinals. 
 
Though Wilson would reach the hill first in the quarterfinals, ahead by two, Shea came back to win her second straight double hill match and got to face O'Hanlon in the semifinals. A 7-4 win there, and Shea moved on to make her sixth appearance in a 2014 JPNEWT final. She concluded her first tour win with a 9-6 victory in those finals. 

Li comes from the loss side to defeat Shea in finals of JPNEWT stop

Since the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour began its 2014 season back in March, there have only been five players involved in the finals of the tour's seven stops. Five of those seven finals have been won by Karen Corr. Jia Li won the other two, including the most recent; a $1,000-added event that drew 21 entrants to the Top Hat Cue Club in Parkville, MD, on the weekend of October 10-11. Tour director Linda Shea has been in four of those seven finals, including the most recent. Asia Cycak was the runner-up to Corr in the opening stop in March. Dawn Fox was runner-up to Corr in July and Jia Li was defeated by Corr in the August finals. This most recent stop marked the first time since July that Corr was not involved in the event finals.

 
Jia Li played eight matches during the most recent stop. She was awarded a bye in the opening round and was then narrowly defeated by Judie Wilson (7-6) in the only match she played on the winners' side of the bracket. She went on to win six on the loss side, was awarded a forfeit victory, and then, defeated tour director, and at the time, hot seat occupant, Linda Shea, in the finals. In their June finals match-up, it was Shea who entered the finals from the loss side, having been defeated by Li in the hot seat match.
 
As Li was at work on the loss side, Shea advanced among the winners' side final four, for a match against Joey Stearns. Ji-Hyun Park met up with Dawn Fox in the other winners' side semifinal. Shea defeated Stearns 7-5, and in the hot seat match, met up with Park, who'd defeated Fox 7-2. Shea claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Park and for the fourth time this year, entered the finals.
 
It was Stearns, who moved over and met up with Li, who, by that time, had chalked up four, loss-side wins, including a 7-4 win over Pauline Mattes, and a 7-2 victory over Sharon O'Hanlon.
Fox picked up Nicole Nester, who'd gotten by Borana Andoni 7-5 and then shut out Judie Wilson. It was at this juncture that Li won a forfeit victory over Stearns, and advanced to the quarterfinals against Nester, who'd eliminated Fox 7-1.
 
Li defeated Nester 7-4, and entered her second JPNEWT final against Shea, with a 7-2 win over Ji-Hyun Park in the semifinals. Li chalked up her second JPNEWT victory of the year with a 9-5 victory over Shea.

Corr wins fifth JPNEWT stop

Karen Corr

Karen Corr came back from a loss in the hot seat match to Linda Shea, and chalked up her fifth win out of six stops to date on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour. The $1,500-added event drew 18 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. Corr defeated a visitor from Taiwan – Zhi Ting Wu – twice to capture the event title, and for the second time on the tour schedule, downed Shea in the finals.
 
The last time Corr and tour director Shea met up in the hot seat and finals, back in May, Corr took both matches by shutout. This time around, once Shea had sent Borana Andoni to the losers' bracket in a double hill match, and Corr had chalked up her first of two against Zhi Ting Wu 7-1,  Shea took the hot seat with a 7-3 win.
 
Andoni moved over and met up with Caroline Pao, who'd survived two straight double hill matches, against Nicole Nester and Dawn Fox, to meet her. Wu drew Kathy Friend, who'd defeated Nicole Fleming 7-2 and Sharon O'Hanlon 7-4. Pao chalked up her third straight double hill, and moved on to the quarterfinals against Wu, who'd defeated Friend 7-2.
 
Wu, who was here from Taiwan visiting Caroline Pao, defeated her host (Pao) 7-5 in those quarterfinals, earning herself a second chance against Corr in the semifinals. Though Wu would fare much better in her second meet-up with Corr, Corr prevailed 7-5 to earn her own second chance against Shea. 
 
In an extended-race finals format, Corr reached seven games ahead of Shea in the finals. The match extended to nine games, and Corr completed her fifth JPNEWT tour victory 9-4 and claimed the event title.

Jia Li downs Shea twice to take third stop on JPNEWT

Jia Li and the tour director of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour (JPNEWT), Linda Shea, got together for a little reunion on the weekend of June 21-22. Last year (October in Dickson City, PA), they'd met in the finals of a JPNEWT stop, with Li coming out on top, winning her second straight stop on the tour, on her way to three in a row. Li started 2014 with a WPBA Regional Tour Championship victory in January, finished 25th in the WPBA Masters, and fifth in the Super Billiards Expo Women's Championship before running into Shea at Stop # 2 on the JPNEWT in May. Li, who'd been sent to the losers' bracket early in that event, won seven on the loss side before meeting up with Shea in the semifinals. Shea came out on the top in that one, before falling to Karen Corr in the finals (Corr won 42 of 44 games she played in that event). At this most recent event, Li and Shea met twice; once in the hot seat and again, in the finals. Li won both matches to claim the $1,000-added event title that drew 22 entrants to First Break Cafe in Sterling, VA.
 
Li and Shea advanced to meet in the hot seat match after scoring identical 7-3 victories over Cheryl Sporleder (Shea) and Meredith Lynch (Li). In their first of two, Li gave up only a single rack and sat in the hot seat waiting for Shea to get back from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Sporleder moved over to pick up Kathy Friend, who'd defeated Tina Scott 7-5 and Ji-Hyun Park 7-2, to reach her. Lynch drew Sueyen Rhee, who'd gotten by Nicole Nester 7-2 and Lai Li 7-1. Lynch got right back to winning work with a 7-5 victory over Rhee, as Friend was handing Sporleder her second straight loss 7-2. 
 
Lynch defeated Friend in a grueling, hill-hill quarterfinal match, only to be defeated by Shea 7-5 in the semifinals. Jia Li completed her undefeated run through the field with a second victory over Shea in the finals 7-3.