Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

WNBA Gamer: Rookie From Longhorns Helps Washington in Rally Win Over Las Vegas

By Rob Knox  @knoxrob1

WASHINGTON – Ariel Atkins was special in helping the Washington Mystics erase a 16-point first half deficit and surge past the Las Vegas Aces, 75-70, at Capital One Arena Tuesday night


The rookie from Texas provided energy and electricity with 15 points to help the slumbering Mystics awaken from an offensive nap that lasted two and half quarters. 

She had plenty of assistance as Tianna Hawkins tied her career high with 17 points and Natasha Cloud added seven points, including a huge layup with 13 seconds remaining that gave the Mystics a three-point edge.


Overall, the terrific triumvirate combined to score 39 of the Mystics’ 52 second half points. They were 15-for-18 shooting (83.3 percent) from the field in the final 20 minutes. Just amazing considering the Mystics started the game shooting 2-for-16 (12.5) in the first quarter. 


“It was fun being that spark and energy player off the bench,” Atkins said. “My teammates were smiling and pointing at me.”


Atkins’ teammates also high-fived her often and picked her up off of the floor a couple of times. Once after diving out of bounds to save a loose ball that resulted in a Las Vegas turnover. Then after taking a critical charge late in the fourth quarter. 


“I wasn’t trying to take the charge, it just kind of happened,” said Atkins, who graduated from Texas last Saturday. “That’s one of my things. I hang my hat on is my hustle and I think I did a good job of making sure I did that tonight. I know a lot of hard work and prayers went into this moment. To have the opportunity to be here is really a blessing and I am excited.” 


By the time Elena Delle Donne scored the last of her game-high 23 points, the horrific beginning was a humorous memory. The second half offensive output was a much needed boost for the WNBA superstar, who scored 17 of the Mystics 23 points in the first half. She also grabbed 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the season.


Thanks to the numerous contributions from Atkins, Hawkins and Cloud, the fourth quarter featured eight ties and five lead changes. Kristi Toliver gave the Mystics the lead for good, 69-67, with 86 seconds remaining following a 13-foot pull-up baseline jumper. 


Like an unexpected summer thunderstorm, Atkins scored all of her of points in the final 12 minutes – including 10 in the fourth quarter -- after the Mystics trailed 44-36 with 1 minute, 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter. 


Cloud, the four-year veteran out of Saint Joseph’s and suburban Philadelphia, made a ridiculous circus shot and converted the ensuing foul shot to knot the game at 44 entering the fourth quarter. That capped a 17-5 Mystic run to close the third quarter. Once Cloud’s basket went through the hoop, the building roared to life. 


While Atkins scoring was nice, her defensive contributions were impressive.


“She just keeps pressure on everybody,” Washington head coach Mike Thibault said. “In the last couple plays of the game, we put her on Lindsay Allen to kind of bother her with her length, but she gets up and deflects balls, she gets pieces of it.

“She and Shatori [Walker-Kimbrough] have enough guard quickness and length to get in passing lanes. She’s disruptive. When we talked about it at draft day, for Ariel [Atkins], we felt she was a player that would be really good at both ends of the floor and we are seeing that right now.”


The Aces were the ones dealing the cards for much of the contest. 


Helped by Washington’s miserable shooting, Las Vegas raced to a 29-13 bulge with 4:20 left before intermission following rookie A’ja Wilson’s finger roll. The Aces still led 39-27 following a Wilson basket with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.


Showcasing some nifty footwork, and brute force, Wilson, a fearless force, finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Wilson helped Las Vegas outscore Washington 36-22 in the paint. Nia Coffey scored seven of her career best 14 points in the fourth quarter. Tamera Young tallied nine of her 13 points in the fourth quarter for the Aces. 


Allen, recently acquired after let go by New York, handed out a career-high six assists. Carolyn Swords grabbed six of her seven rebounds in the first five minutes of play. She had plenty of chances for caroms because the Mystics missed their first nine shots before Delle Donne’s basket with 3:35 left in the first quarter. 


“I thought the effort for 30 minutes was solid,” Las Vegas head coach Bill Laimbeer said. “I think that was really good. We know we can play defense, we know we can attack the basket, get to the free throw line – have to make the free throws – and we can rebound. 

“Those are pretty good hallmarks of having a chance. Now, we have to put the ball in the basket. We’ll get [Kelsey] Plum and we’ll get [Kayla] McBride back this week. We have to integrate them, obviously, but that’s two of our top scorers.”


NOTES: The Mystics outrebounded the Aces, 37-36, marking the second-straight game Washington has bested its opponent on the boards … The Mystics went 8 for 31 from three-point range, while Las Vegas went 1 for 9.Washington will take on the Indiana Fever (0-2) on May 24 at 7 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana … The Mystics next home game is Sunday, May 27 at 3 p.m. at Capital One Arena against the defending champion Minnesota Lynx … The Aces return to action on Sunday when they play their first regular season home game Sunday against Seattle at 8:30 p.m. on NBA-TV. 



Friday, May 18, 2018

WNBA Report: Healthy and Hungry is the Word for Washington As Mystics’ Season Opens

By Rob Knox @knoxrob1

NEWARK, Del. – Washington Mystics head coach Mike Thibault spent plenty of time last year reading medical reports instead of studying scouting reports.


Despite several key players missing time last season because of various injuries, the Mystics still won 18 games and advanced to the WNBA semifinals where they lost to the eventual champion Minnesota Lynx in three games. 


The Mystics are hungry for more as their 2018 season opens Sunday at home against the Indiana Fever. The game from Capital One Arena starts at 1 p.m.


With Meek Mill’s “The Get Back” blasting over the arena sound system as teams warmed up, Thibault was asked before last Saturday’s preseason finale against Indiana at the University of Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center what can people expect from Washington this season.


“Hopefully a good playoff team a team that wants to get past where we got last year,” Thibault said. “Hopefully a healthy team since that seemed to be a problem a year ago. A more mature team. We had six new players last year and now we have a group of players who’ve played together now with each other. They’ve had a good offseason. I see a more grown up team that has a better sense of its self. The core of our team has played together and should be better.”


The Mystics have a solid team led by All-Stars Elena Delle Donne, Monique Currie, Kristi Toliver as well as veterans Tianna Hawkins, Natasha Cloud, Krystal Thomas and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. Delle Donne was fourth in the league in scoring (19.7 points per game) and Thomas was third in rebounding (9.6 per game). 


Washington will get stronger later in the season when dynamic guard Tayler Hill returns to action in June following a torn ACL at Indiana last July 14. Forward LaToya Sanders is expected to miss the next couple of weeks due to illness. Guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough averaged 4.4 points in 27 games last season. 


Rookies Ariel Atkins and Myisha Hines-Allen made the final roster and will make their WNBA debut this Sunday. Two of the Mystics’ first three games are against the Indiana Fever.


One missing face from last season will be Emma Meesseeman, who will play with the Belgian National team in the FIBA World Cup this fall. While her versatility along with her 14.1 point per game average will be missed, the Mystics still have plenty of pieces to enjoy a special season. Her loss allows Thibault to shift some players around to different positions.


“We lost Emma which is huge but it puts Elena back at her natural position at the four,” Cloud said. “That makes things easier for her because there’s more open shots for her at the four position. Then we have Krystal, Kristi and we added Mo (Currie), who is a great addition in the locker room and on the court.”


A 12-year WNBA veteran, Currie could be one of the league’s most underrated free agent signings. She spent the majority of her career with the Mystics (2007-2014). 

The former Duke star was selected in the first round (third overall) of the 2006 WNBA Draft by the Charlotte Sting. She played in 36 games last year  due to being traded from San Antonio to Phoenix in the middle of the season where she averaged 10.8 points per game while shooting 42.8 percent from the field. 


Currie’s presence fills an important void for the Mystics. Her ability to score on the wing, shoot from deep, drive to the basket and get to the free throw line will be an important part of the Mystics offense.


“Being back here has been easy,” Currie said. “I am familiar with coach Thibault and some of the players. They’ve all welcomed me in. I am familiar with how he wants me to play. I’ve been in the league long time so it feels good to help them. My role is to be a leader on and off the court and showing the younger players how to be a professional. They’ve been open to the things I have to say so far.”


The Mystics understand their mission this season. 

While they received plenty of congratulatory pats on the back for making the Lynx earn three wins in the playoffs and winning postseason contests against Dallas and New York, the Mystics understand Minnesota is the measuring stick for greatness. They learned plenty of lessons that they aim to apply this season.


“When you play a team that ends up winning the WNBA championship in a series like that, you learn how hard you have to play for all 40 minutes for every game,” Thibault said. “It’s not like we’re not playing hard, but it’s that extra little stuff that you have to do whether its making somebody catch the ball three feet further out from where they want to catch it. 


“The little details matter whether it’s how hard you set a screen to get somebody open in a tight spot in a game. All those little details in a game matter and I think our players have a better understanding of that.”


The Mystics are excited for more playoff success and poised to become the final team standing this season. They were predicted to have the second most wins in the Eastern Conference in the annual WNBA general managers poll released earlier this week. 


New York has won at least 20 or more games in each of the last two seasons. Connecticut will be improved so escaping the Eastern Conference as the top dog will be tough. However, the Mystics are excited for the numerous challenges that await. 


“We have to continue to work and we can’t be satisfied,” Currie said. “There’s a lot of good teams in this league and if we want to be the best, we have to work hard everyday. We can’t take any possessions off and have to do the little things. We also have to have mental toughness. There’s a lot of things that go into being successful. We’re working toward perfecting those things.” 


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

WNBA Feature: Natasha Cloud in Contract Year Plans to be What Washington Needs

By Rob Knox @knoxrob1

NEWARK, Del. – Standing outside of the locker room and leaning against the wall in the hallway of the Bob Carpenter Center following the Washington Mystics’ easy 91-56 preseason win over the Indiana Fever last Saturday at the University of Delaware Natasha Cloud had her arms crossed.


She spoke to everyone who walked past. She jokingly threatened to call security on teammate Tayler Hill, who playfully disturbed her interview by transitioning into a reporter and recording Cloud’s words. Even though Cloud laughed at Hill a few times, she never broke from providing answers. 


Entering the 2018 season, Cloud is confident, focused, happy, healthy and a critical component of the Mystics attack.


However, beneath her sparkling smile lies a furious ferocity and insatiable hunger to make this season for the Mystics memorable. The Saint Joseph’s product and Broomall, Delaware County native has extra motivation too. 


“It’s a big year for me,” Cloud said. “Year Four. Contract year. I am getting old. Washington is the team I love and it’s where I want to be. I prepared hard for this season so I can be exactly what I need for this team.”


Cloud provides Philly toughness and savvy to a veteran Mystic team that have plenty of pieces to make a deep run in the playoffs this season. 


Eventual WNBA champion Minnesota ended Washington’s season in the semifinals. Even though the Mystics lost three straight games, they learned plenty from the Lynx, who will visit Capital One Arena twice this season on Sunday, May 27 & Thursday, June 7.


“They are the elite team that we’re trying to mirror,” Cloud said. “They’re the elite team that we’re trying to be. For us, we play very similar but they’re that next step of greatness that we need to get to. 

“To be able to play them and start off with the reigning champions is huge for us because it tests us. It also lets us know how our training camp has been going, our pace and how we are as a team-chemistry wise especially and it puts us in check in defensive-wise. Minnesota has Olympians across the floor.”


Cloud wasn’t 100 percent in the final two games of the series. Despite injuring her wrist in the opening game against the Lynx, she scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in 24 gutty minutes in the second game. It was the second significant injury for Cloud since entering the league. She tore her hip labrum during her rookie year. That injury still nags her, but she’s feeling significantly better.


“I tore some ligaments in my wrist against Minnesota last year in the first game of the playoff series,” Cloud said. “It was hard, but I knew my team needed me so I did what I needed to do. I stayed home this offseason. I was in D.C. until Christmas rehabbing and then the second half of the offseason, I decided to go home and focus on more physical therapy.” 

Many a postgame during the collegiate season she could be seen on Hawk Hill at her alma  mater putting up shots  in Hagan Arena.


Cloud’s intense work has been noticed as she’s entered camp in great shape.


“She’s been great in preseason,” Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said. “She got a chance to run the point guard most of the preseason because Kristi Toliver just got here (from her overseas team commitment).

“ We’ll play Tasha at the one and the three. She’s going to play starters minutes whether she starts or not. Our tempo was good with her in the game. 

“She’s one of our better defensive players. I’ve seen growth in her over the last year. Last year was a good experience for her. I thought she was good in the playoffs despite being injured. I just see her this year more mature and dialed in the right way.” 


Washington will have a formidable five on the floor at all times no matter the lineup with Cloud, Elena Delle Donne, Krystal Thomas, Toliver, Monique Currie, Hill, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, Tianna Hawkins, Allison Hightower and LaToya Sanders. 


According to Thibault, Hill is expected back in “late June.” Her recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament is coming well and she’s ahead of schedule.


“We have all the pieces,” Cloud said. “It’s just a matter of fine tuning everything, pushing forward, plugging everything together and moving forward. Whatever my team needs and wherever they need me to play each and every day, that’s the role I am going to take.

“ We have players like E and Kristi who need to get up a certain number of shots. I know that when my number is called, I need to be able to knock down some open shots.”


Cloud knows she’ll be counted on to bring energy off of the bench. She scored five points, grabbed five rebounds and had four steals in 18 electric minutes against the Fever. 


While the game was billed as Delle Donne’s homecoming, Cloud also enjoyed playing close to Delaware County. 


“I was able to go home Friday night and sleep in my bed,” Cloud said. “I met the team here in Delaware which was nice. This was an easy and phenomenal trip back home. We all knew that this game was huge for E. She did a lot of special things here and we all knew that this was huge for her. I am a Philly girl through and through and she’s a Delaware girl through and through.”


Together, they are ready to help lift the Mystics to the WNBA summit. 




Monday, May 14, 2018

WNBA Feature: Mississippi State Grad Victoria Vivians’ Rookie Debut Under Way With Indy




NEWARK, Del. – It hasn’t taken long for Indiana Fever rookie guard Victoria Vivians to find her way to one of Indianapolis’ best eating spots: A mouth-watering soul food restaurant called Country Kitchen.


“I had the fried catfish and the greens,” a smiling Vivians said prior to the Fever’s second preseason game against the Washington Mystics at the University of Delaware Saturday night. “Everything was good. Indianapolis is a great city and I am grateful to be there. I can’t wait to play there in front of the fans in an official game.”


Selected eighth overall in last month’s WNBA Draft, Vivians makes her WNBA debut along with fellow Fever rookies Kelsey Mitchell (No. 2 overall pick) and Stephanie Mavunga (14th overall selection) Saturday when Indiana hosts Chicago in a game featuring four of the top eight selections.

 The Sky feature Diamond Deshields and Gabby Williams, who were picked third and fourth, respectively, in the draft.


Indiana head coach Pokey Chatman has been pleased with her rookie triumvirate during training camp. 


“The skill set is the easiest thing to see,” Chatman said. “It’s been the character of those kids. Their willingness to get in the gym early, late and often. It’s also how much they have picked up in a short amount of time. Granted they’re still going to have some growing pains, but they come from storied programs that know how to win. Plus they loved to be coached.”


Finding food spots and navigating her way around the city has been easy. Adjusting to the WNBA, learning new teammates, terminology, and tendencies will take a little longer as Vivians continues to get comfortable in her new surroundings. She’ll be fine despite shooting a combined 2-for-13 as the Fever split a pair of preseason games by beating the Sky and losing to Mystics.


Vivians fell into the Fever’s lap after a trade that sent longtime Indiana veteran Briann January to the Phoenix Mercury in March. Her defensive tenacity, shooting prowess, and winning mentality fits beautifully with a Fever squad looking to increase its 75.1 point per game scoring average from last season, which was 11th out of 12 teams.


With liquid moves, Vivians gives Indiana size and length on the perimeter. In addition, she played in some of the biggest games and been responsible for some of the most iconic moments in the women’s game in recent years.


“The biggest adjustment for me is coming into a totally different team,” Vivians said. “It’s not like your college team that you’ve been with for four years. You see people leave and come every day so I feel like adjusting to the people and the system. Training camp for me I have been doing a lot of thinking.”


As arena workers were finishing placing red Mystics rally towels on the blue seats in the Bob Carpenter Center, Vivians was on the floor with one of her assistant coaches already dripping in pools of perspiration two hours prior to tip off against the Mystics. 


For 50 minutes, She rained jumpers from different spots on the floor, shooting free throws, running off screens and draining baskets from the elbow. 

After team warmups were done, Vivians grabbed a ball off the rack and worked on her dribbling skills, switching it in each hand and placing the ball between her legs as she took long steps from sideline to sideline.


“The defenses and offenses are different and faster,” she said. “It’s a new defense from where you came from. It’s not exactly a different defense, but you learn different terminology. I am getting the terminology down, running the plays and trying remember all the plays coach has for us.”


Showcasing her trademark smile and dancing skills during the intense and focused warmups is a necessary pregame ritual for Vivians. She also started singing parts of the national anthem when the actual game performer was practicing. It’s just part of her pleasant personality. 


“Singing warms up your voice because you get to yelling on the court,” Vivians said. “Dancing gets you warm faster than basketball because it’s a lot of movement. I feel like just taking it all in and being happy. Being happy in what I am doing makes you play better, make you look better and feel better.”


Vivians’ legendary career kept Mississippi State fans entertained and happy. 


A 6 foot, 1 inch guard, Vivians led MSU to the Final Four in consecutive years, averaging 19.8 points and 6.1 rebounds, with 69 3-point field goals as a senior. A tough perimeter defender who averaged 17.0 points over her career, she was a first-team All-American by USA Today and the Associated Press. 


Though the championship ending was bittersweet with Mississippi State falling at the end on a legendary buzzer beater against Notre Dame, Vivians can appreciate that she played in the greatest Final Four in history as well played a significant role in ending UConn’s legendary 111-game winning streak as a junior in Stark Vegas. 


“It’s amazing to be able to play in the last game of the year,” Vivians said. “Knowing that you’ve made it all the way to the championship game and there’s not a game after that so I feel like that was pretty good doing it back to back especially for our school that had never done anything like that before. It’s amazing and I am glad I was in that position to be able to play in that game.”


Since that championship game, life has been a blur for Vivians, who signed with Lil Wayne’s Young Money APAA Sports & Entertainment agency. She had to find a place to live, learn a new city, participate in commencement, and much more. She’s fine with the hustle and bustle.


“It’s been going pretty fast starting with the draft right after the season, then coming into training camp and already playing my second preseason game,” Vivians said. “The opportunity has been great. I am so grateful for the opportunity and I am taking everything in. I am just appreciating what’s happened to me.”


Wednesday, May 09, 2018

AP WBB Poll Trivia: Coaching Appearance List

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

With Tuesday’s announcement of Jim Foster’s retirement from Chattanooga, here is the way the overall and active list with certain cutoffs from the entire database looked at the close of 2017-18 prior to the summer update that on the active file will reflect his departure and any other carousel actions affecting the list. 

  By Mel Greenberg
Women’s Hoops Guru @womhoopsguru

Quick hits on AP poll (week  19 for coaches’ appearances week No. 19 -Final ) – Season 2017-18
(This is 748th poll after week 19 for 2017-18). (Records on pages through week 19)

Coaches with Four Ranked Teams
Jim Foster (St. Joe-35), (Vanderbilt-164), (Ohio St.-171), (Chattanooga-10), 380

Coaches with Three Ranked Teams  
C. Vivian Stringer (Cheyney-85), (Iowa-155), (Rutgers-190), 430
Gary Blair (Stephen F. Austin-79), (Arkansas-67), (Texas A&M-212), 358
Marianne Stanley (Old Dominion-141), (Southern Cal-24), (Stanford*-18), 183
Lin Dunn (Miami-2), (Mississippi-1), (Purdue-130), 133
Joe McKeown (New Mexico St.-6), (George Washington-110), (Northwestern-13) 129
Don Perrelli (Northwestern-52), (S. Conn.-20), (St. John’s-1), 73
Tom Collen (Colorado St.-34), (Louisville-17), (Arkansas-9), 60
Sharon Fanning-Otis (Kentucky-4), (Miss. St.-48), (Chattanooga-4), 56
Debbie Yow (Florida-2), (Kentucky-21), (Oral Roberts-1), 24 

Kittie Blakemore, Scott Harrelson – West Virginia 8 
Sonja Hogg, Leon Barmore – Louisiana Tech 51
Jill Hutchison, Linda Fischer – Illinois St. 3
Jim Jarrett, Joyce Patterson – Georgia St. 1
Marianne Stanley, Amy Tucker – Stanford 18
Jim Bolla, Sheila Strike – UNLV 18

Coaches All Time Ranking Appearances
1.**- Pat Summitt, Tennessee – 618 (missed just 14 polls in entire AP history as existed in 2012)
2.  Tara VanDerveer (2 schools – Ohio St., Stanford) – 538
3. **-Andy Landers, Georgia – 522
4.  Geno Auriemma, Connecticut – 502
5. C. Vivian Stringer (3 schools – Cheyney, Iowa, Rutgers) – 430
6. **-Jody Conradt, Texas – 395
7. Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina 384
8. Jim Foster (4 schools – St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Ohio St., Chattanooga) – 380
9. Gary Blair, (3 schools – Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas, Texas A&M) – 358
10. Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame 351
11. **-Rene Portland (2 schools – St. Joseph, Penn St.) – 336
12.  **-Debbie Ryan, Virginia – 329
13. **- Kay Yow, North Caro. St. – 326
14. **-Leon Barmore, Louisiana Tech (51-shared with Sonja Hogg) – 325
15. Kim Mulkey, Baylor 304
16.**- Gail Goestenkors (2 schools – Duke, Texas) – 295
17. **-Joe Ciampi, Auburn – 290
18. **-Sue Gunter (2 schools – Stephen F. Austin, LSU) – 270
19. Joanne P. McCallie (2 schools – Michigan St., Duke) – 269
20. **-Joan Bonvicini (2 schools – Long Beach, Arizona) – 267
21. Sherri Coale, Oklahoma – 264
21. **-Marsha Sharp, Texas Tech – 264
23. **-Van Chancellor (2 schools – Mississippi, LSU) – 261
24. Brenda Frese (2 schools – Minnesota, Maryland) – 256
25. **-Chris Weller, Maryland – 227
26. **-Theresa Grentz (2 schools – Rutgers, Illinois) – 225
27. **-Marianne Stanley (3 schools – Old Dominion, Southern Cal, Stanford*) – 183
28. **-Paul Sanderford (2 schools – W. Kentucky, Nebraska) – 182
29. Doug Bruno, DePaul - 180
30. **-Marian Washington, Kansas – 176

**-Not on the College Division I active head coaches list

Active Coaches-All Time AP Ranking Appearances
1. Tara VanDerveer (2 schools – Ohio St., Stanford) – 538
2. Geno Auriemma, Connecticut – 502
3. C.Vivian Stringer (3 schools – Cheyney, Iowa, Rutgers) – 430
4. Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina – 384
5. Jim Foster (3 schools – St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Ohio St., Chattanooga) – 380
6. Gary Blair, (3 schools – Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas, Texas A&M) – 358
7. Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame – 351
8. Kim Mulkey, Baylor – 304
9. Joanne P. McCallie (2 schools - Michigan St., Duke) – 269
10. Sherri Coale, Oklahoma – 264
11. Brenda Frese (2 schools, Minnesota, Maryland) – 256
12. Doug Bruno, DePaul – 180
13. Bill Fennelly, (2 schools – Toledo, Iowa St.) – 155
14. Jeff Walz, Louisville – 154
15. Sue Semrau, Florida St. – 146
16. Dawn Staley (2 schools —Temple, South Carolina) – 142
17. Matthew Mitchell, Kentucky – 141
18. @!@!-Kristy Curry (2 schools – Purdue, Texas Tech) – 136
19. Charli Turner Thorne, Arizona St. – 134
20. Joe McKeown (3 schools – New Mexico St., George Washington, Northwestern) – 129
21. Kevin McGuff (2 schools -- Xavier, Ohio State) – 109
22.)))-Chris Gobrecht (Washington) - 104 
23. Mike Carey, West Virginia – 103
24. Holly Warlick, Tennessee – 98 (In 2016 Tennessee missed polls 16th/17th/18th/19th) ( in 2017 missed poll 5th, 6th, 7th ,8th, 9th. 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th)
25. Sharon Versyp, Purdue – 84
26. Suzy Merchant, Michigan St. – 81
27. Karen Aston, Texas – 77
28. Cori Close, UCLA—76
29. Scott Rueck, Oregon State – 75
30. Vic Schaefer, Mississippi St. – 74
31. Lindsay Gottlieb, California 73
32. Katie Meier, Miami –67
33. Lisa Bluder (2 schools – Iowa, Drake) – 65
34. Quentin Hillsman, Syracuse – 64
35. Joanne Boyle, California (2 schools – California, Virginia) – 61
35. Coquese Washington, Penn State – 61
37. Kelly Graves, (2 schools — Gonzaga, Oregon) – 58
37. Jim Littell, Oklahoma State – 58
39. $$$ - Bonnie Henrickson ( 2 schools — Virginia Tech, Kansas) - 54
40.  ***-Kathy Olivier, UCLA 52
41. Harry Perretta, Villanova – 50
42. ____Terri Williams-Flournoy (2 schools – Georgetown, Auburn) – 49
43. Jeff  Mittie, (TCU, Kansas St.) – 48
44. Kevin Borseth, Wis.-Green Bay – 46
45. Jose Fernandez, South Florida – 45
46. Nikki Fargas (UCLA, LSU) – 44
47. Kim Barnes Arico (2 schools – St. John’s, Michigan) – 43
48. ====Agnus Berenato (Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh) 37
49.%=%=  Matt Bollant, Wis.-Green Bay – 35
49. Lisa Stockton, Tulane – 35
51. ;;; - June Daughtery (2 schools — Boise St., Washington) - 32
52. MaChelle Joseph, Georgia Tech – 31

 )))-Active at Air Force; $$$-Active at UCSB.;  !!!-Active at Nevada;  %=%= Active at Eastern Illinois; @!@!-Active at Alabama, ====-Active at Kennesaw St.; ;;;-Active at Washington St.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

WNBA Preseason : The Guru Locals at TrainingCamp

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

As ws get to the other side of the transition from the end of the collegiate season with an all-time terrific Women’s Final Four in the NCAA world and on to the WNBA, which starts with a quick trip to Connecticut Sun media day on Wednesday at Mohegan, though Philly has no team in the league, there are certainly a bunch of philly type people in camps, particularly from Rutgers.

So, besides that four-time WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve is a La Salle grad from South Jersey and opens in defens of the 2017 title, and Washington Mystics coach Marianne Stanley is from the Immaculata championship era and Upper Darby, here are those showing up for now.

Obviously, an update will follow several weeks from now as opening day rosters get finalized.

Locals on WNBA Training Camp Rosters
By schools and/or geography

Atlanta Dream - 
Blake Dietrick - Princeton
Maggie Lucas - Penn State, Narberth, Pa.

Chicago Sky - 
Kahleah Copper - Rutgers, Philadelphia

Connecticut Sun - 
Alex Bentley - Penn State
 Nikki Greene - Penn State
Betnijah Laney - Rutgers/Wilmington

Indiana Fever -
Candice Dupree - Temple
Erica Wheeler - Rutgers

Los Angeles Sparks - 
Essence Carson - Rutgers
Cappie Pondexter - Rutgers

 Minnesota Lynx - 
Tanisha Wright - Penn State

New York Liberty - 
Epiphanny Prince - Rutgers
Leslie Robinson - Princeton
Kia Vaughn - Rutgers

Seattle Storm -
Crystal Langhorne  - Maryland - Willingboro, N.J.

Washington Mystics -
Tanaya Atkinson - Temple
Natasha Cloud - Saint Joseph’s - Broomall, Pa.
Elena Delle Donne - Delaware - Wilmington

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The La Salle Official Announcement of New Wbb Coach Mountain MacGillivray’s Hire

PHILADELPHIA – Mountain MacGillivray, a Philadelphia native who helped lead Quinnipiac to seven straight 20-win seasons and a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2017, has been appointed the ninth head coach in La Salle University women's basketball history, it was announced by Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw on Saturday.

A press conference officially welcoming MacGillivray will be held on Monday, April 23 at TruMark Financial Center, beginning at 1:00 p.m.

"We are excited to welcome Mountain back home to Philadelphia as he takes over leadership of our women's basketball program," Bradshaw said. "He's been a key member of an exceptional program at Quinnipiac over the last few years and has been an integral part of their success both in recruiting and game preparation. His deep roots in Philadelphia high school basketball will help attract the top local talent from the area to La Salle."

MacGillivray spent the previous nine seasons at Quinnipiac, including the last three as the associate head coach. The Bobcats had tremendous success during MacGillivray's tenure, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in four of the past five seasons, including three wins in NCAA play over the last two seasons.
Quinnipiac went undefeated in the MAAC in 2017-18 for the third time in six years, winning the conference regular season title for the fifth time in six seasons. After earning the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a victory over Marist in the MAAC title game, the Bobcats earned a No. 9 seed and defeated Miami (Fla.) in the opening round.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to coach at La Salle University," "MacGillivray said. "The challenge of building a championship program at this proud and historic University is thrilling and I am excited to get started."
In 2016-17, MacGillivray helped Quinnipiac to a pair of upset wins in NCAA Tournament action, defeating Marquette and Miami (Fla.) en route to the Sweet 16. The Bobcats have won four conference championships and averaged 26 wins over the past seven seasons, and head coach Tricia Fabbri won MAAC Coach of the Year four times with the contributions of MacGillivray. 
Prior to Quinnipiac, MacGillivray served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of New Hampshire for two seasons from 2007-09, helping the Wildcats improve their finish in the conference in both seasons. 
MacGillivray got his start in collegiate coaching as an assistant at the University of Vermont in 1999-2000, guiding the Catamounts to the NCAA Tournament that year after winning the America East regular season and tournament championships.
MacGillivray has 13 years of experience coaching at the high school and AAU levels, helping turn Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor, Pennsylvania into one of the most successful prep programs in the country. He also guided the Philadelphia AAU Lady Running Rebels from 2000-02 and Delaware Valley Comets AAU team in 2006.
A 1996 graduate of Temple with a degree in Journalism, MacGillivray and his wife Grace have seven children: Chiara, Mary, Brigid, Sean, Catherine, Joseph and Theresa.

For more information about the La Salle University Women's Basketball Program and La Salle Athletics, please visit: GoExplorers.com. For information about the University, please visit: lasalle.edu.

What They Are Saying About Mountain MacGillivray...

Tricia Fabbri, Head Coach at Quinnipiac University

"It is rare in this business to get a coach on staff who cares about the program with the same attention to detail that you do. For the past nine years, Mountain has been that coach. We've experienced unprecedented success here during his tenure and he bears a great deal of responsibility for that from the recruitment of next level student-athletes that we've had to their remarkable development as both people and players. I can't overstate what he's meant to the improvement of this program and the impact he's had on my life. I'm proud to have had him as a colleague and privileged to call him a friend."

Barry Kirsch, Longtime Head Girls' Basketball Coach, Archbishop Carroll

"Mountain was a loyal 13-year assistant coach at Archbishop Carroll High School. He was always eager to learn and willing to do whatever it took to make our players successful. He brought intensity and innovation to practice each day and was constantly inspiring the girls to be the best they could be. Mountain and his wife, Grace, along with their seven children, will bring a strong sense of family to La Salle University. The players on the team will be treated as part of his family and will know that he wants them to be successful on the court, in the classroom and in life after basketball. This is a great day for the La Salle community and for Mountain and his family. I am very proud to have worked with him and wish him much success. His many years of working as an assistant have finally paid off and now he can show everyone how good a coach he is."

Guru Special Report: La Salle To Name Quinnipiac Aide Mountain MacGillivray New Women’s Coach

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — La Salle has reached into a mid-major program of national success to complete the dual vacancies of its men’s and women’s basketball coaching positions with the hire and homecoming of Mountain MacGillivray, associate head coach of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Quinnipiac, according to  several sources familiar with the negotiations that were completed Friday.

MacGillivray, a 45-year-old native of Philadelphia who began the day wearing Quinnipiac attire attending a stop at Atlantic City, in the first recruiting weekend of the season, was unavailable for comment.

His hire follows that of the recent welcome to new men’s coach coach Ashley Howard off the NCAA champion Villanova staff of Jay Wright.

La Salle will make the announcement formally on Saturday and hold an introductory press conference Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. in the Tom Gola Arena at TruMark Financial Center on the school campus near 20th & Olney.

The Explorers, barring other departures through potential transfers, such is the state of both collegiate genders these days, graduated one of their all-time scorers in Amy Griffin and leading rebounder Ashanti Freeland but among the key returnees next fall are Shaquana Edwards and Adreanna Miller.

It’s the first women’s coaching turnover in eight seasons at a Big Five school since Jeff Williams, then associate head coach at Pittsburgh, was hired in 2010 at La Salle.

He was let go following this season after the 12th-seeded Explorers out of 14 teams finished 8-22 overall with their  elimination at George Washington in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. They were 3-13 in the conference.

A year earlier the likeable Williams won the A-10 coaching honors after the Explorers reached 17 wins, their best performance since 2007 before regressing below .500 this year.

However, a large part of the 92-149 Williams era was marked by key injuries on his roster.

Ironically, it’s the second time La Salle has had to fill dual vacancies, the last in 2004 when Tom Hahn left the men’s program and John Miller left the women’s team, where Miller was ultimately replaced by his longtime assistant Tom Lochner.

But before Lochner was selected, Quinnipiac head coach Trish Sacca-Fabbri, a former Delran star in South Jersey, briefly emerged as the initial frontrunner before the Bobcats made it attractive for her to stay and she hired MacGillivray five years later in 2009 as recruiting coordinator before his eventual promotion as her top assistant.

Next up in that La Salle hunt was then Holy Family women’s coach Mike McLaughlin from Northeast Philadelphia before the Explorers then decided to stay in-house but McLaughlin later became Penn’s women’s coach where he has raised the Quakers to three Ivy crowns and a challenger to Princeton’s recent dominance.

Like McLaughlin, landing a Big Five women’s job has been a long-held dream by MacGillivray, and once during that period of local stability in his hometown he made known his aspiration saying he would go after any opening that came along, though he considered potential vacancies a longshot.

Villanova’s Harry Perretta recently completed his 40th season, Saint Joseph’s Cindy Griffin her 18th, Penn’s McLaughlin his ninth, and Temple’s Tonya Cardoza, her 10th.

And to expand to the Philly Six, Drexel’s Denise Dillon has been with the Dragons for 15 seasons.

MacGillivray is a 1996 graduate of Temple, also the alma mater of Lochner and former Saint Joseph’s coach Jim Foster, now at Chattanooga.

In past conversations, MacGillivray has credited both Miller, who later became the longtime successful coach at Mount Saint Joseph’s in the Inter-Ac league, and Lochner, who went on to be on Delaware’s staff in the Elena Delle Donne era and is now a Lafayette assistant, as the two most influential to giving him confidence during his early years in coaching.

He is no stranger in local women’s basketball circles, having spent 11 seasons with Barry Kirsch at Archbishop Carroll (1995-99. 2000-07), once coached by Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw, and having coached in the prominent Comets and Philadelphia Lady Running Rebels in AAU competition. Stops at Vermont and New Hampshire are also in his profile.

Though there has been mixed feelings in the coaching world about the La Salle women’s job, Bill Bradshaw, in his second stint as athletic director at the school, was confident he could find someone of quality aspiring to rebuild the program.

During the men’s search he had a key staff member do the early work on the women’s job since getting Howard aboard with the men was an urgency, but that said, Bradshaw wanted to be deeply involved in filling the women’s position, which was why a small delay occurred getting to the interview process.

He would not say who else was in the pool, but conversations with other sources focused on Niagara head coach Jada Pierce, a former Central High star near La Salle who also was a staffer at Saint Joseph’s and Delaware; Dartmouth head coach Belle Koclanes, who spent four years as a Penn assistant prior to the McLaughlin era; and Division II USciences head coach Jackie Hartzell, who previously coached at Archbishop Ryan.

There were probably several others contacted for interest but were happy in their present positions.

All had good interviews, according to a source in the search committee requesting anonymity, and Hartzell might have been the choice had not La Salle been in its present state, giving MacGillivray the edge with his experience in Division I.

For her part, going into the process, Hartzell felt she was in a win-win, either landing the job, or remain with the Devils, where she had them set program records last season, including landing a first-ever national ranking.

It should be noted Bradshaw has had a good track record hiring women’s basketball coaches, having picked two in his first La Salle stint with no experience coaching women, but Speedy Morris, who later became Explorers men’s coach, and Miller, gave the program its greatest era with a national ranking and such stars, among others, as Kelly Greenberg and Cheryl Reeve, the four-time WNBA champion coach of the Minnesota Lynx.

At DePaul, Bradshaw brought aboard nationally regarded Doug Bruno — both Bruno and Reeve have been USA national women’s team assistants, and then at Temple, after the departure of Dawn Staley to South Carolina, he hired Cardoza off her longtime run on the staff of UConn’s Geno Auriemma.

Bradshaw will get a jump start in attendance at Monday’s press conference in that MacGillivray and his wife Grace have seven children: Chiara 15, Mary 13, Brigid 11, Sean 9, Catherine 6, Joseph 4, and Theresa 1.