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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Guru's College Report: Rutgers and Maryland Help The Big 10 Up Its Cache

( Guru's note: This was also written for Blue Star Media )

By Mel Greenberg

Welcome and dread seemed to be the small talk in women’s circles here at the annual Big 10 media day, also held for the men’s teams, Thursday morning last week here at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel.

Dread in that the addition of Rutgers and Maryland brings a set of two new feared opponents to deal with once the conference wars begin in late December.

But welcome, for now, probably has more meaning in that in Maryland, which both the coaches and media in separate conference polls picked to land on top, and Rutgers, coming off winning the WNIT, are bringing an enhancement value to further state the days not too long ago of hard times and few teams in the Associated Press poll are further behind in the rear view mirror.

In fact the conference has now moved ahead of the Atlantic Coast Conference behind the leading SEC for total AP rankings among current members.

Maryland made it to the Women’s Final Four, though the departure of All-American Alyssa Thomas, who landed as a productive newcomer on the WNBA Connecticut Sun, has somewhat dented the Terrapins’ ability to be among the national elite at the outset.

Rutgers has everyone back, a beefed up schedule, in part due to the conference shift from a one-year stay in the American Athletic Conference extended from a productive life in the Old Big East, and also in part to Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer loaded the non-conference portion with more heavyweights as she had usually done until last season.

Both newcomers have heavy barriers removed from life experienced in their previous neighborhoods.

A year ago Maryland was on the other side of its new role as a conference favorite, having to deal with the arrival of newcomer Notre Dame, which was perfect until the NCAA title game when the Irish had to deal with both its and Rutgers’ previous thorn in Connecticut.

Both Terrapins’ coach Brenda Frese and Rutgers’ Stringer are no strangers to being part of the Big 10 brand: Frese got Minnesota into the national limelight with a one-year stay before succeeding longtime Maryland coach Chris Weller while Stringer turned Iowa into a national powerhouse in the mid-1980s.

“Back then, the league was more physical and top heavy with teams like Iowa and Ohio State, but today there’s more versatility and when you focus on teams, you focus as much on the coaches as the players because there are so many outstanding ones,” Stringer said.

“She also noted, they talk about learning us (Maryland and Rutgers), they only have to learn two new teams, we each have to learn 11 when the conference season begins,” she said.

As much as the Big 10 is considered Midwest in its geographical proximity, there is a lot of old line East in terms of teams and coaches.

Penn State, for example, which won the top seed in the conference but now must do some rebuilding with the departure of Maggie Lucas, who was a key newcomer on the WNBA Indiana Fever, used to compete with Rutgers in the 1980s in the Atlantic 10.

The duo used to also compete in Region 1B in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and Stringer was there also in the late 1970s building her first powerhouse in Cheyney in suburban Philadelphia, and also leading the Wolves to the first NCAA title game in 1982.

Northwestern’s Joe McKeown, a Father Judge grad in Northeast Philadelphia, previously had a long coaching stint at A-10 George Washington, while new Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings is coming out of VCU, which also is a A-10 member.

Furthermore, Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff had Xavier built for a while into a national powerhouse while competing in the A-10 while this entire mix has Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico remembering the wars of the old Big East when her Saint John’s squad became an upstart causing havoc to Rutgers and even taking down Uconn once, ending a long home-win streak on a buzzer beater.

There’s also the nostalgia rivalry with Rutgers and Iowa because of Stringers’ past with the Hawkeyes and being looked upon an up and coming coach who has been in charge for some time in Lisa Bluder.

But it won’t be a first time when the two meet for their initial Big 10 confrontation.

“We’ve been to their place, they’ve been to ours and we’ve also met in the NCAA tournament,” Bluder recalled when asked about another reunion.

Iowa, by the way, is one of three teams expected by the coaches and media who vote in separate conference polls, to give the best pursuits to Maryland.

One thing that is different from the time that Stringer and Frese last lived in the Big 10 is the rich Big 10 TV network that means increased exposure, always useful when it comes to showing yourselves in the recruiting process across the country.

The Big 10 notes that every game in the conference and conference tournament – a total of 139 games – will air on its Big 10 and Big 10 Plus (streaming) networks as well as games produced by an ESPN network or CBS.

And some will appear even more as part of national telecasts on teams in their non-conference schedules.

The conference does not show the entire result in its preseason release – and right here says Rutgers should be a strong player when all is said and done – but after consensus points to Maryland, the coaches went with Michigan State second and Iowa third, while Michigan State made it a consensus No. 2 courtesy of the media, who picked Nebraska third.

The Cornhuskers slipped past everyone in March to win conference tournament but graduated All-Conference Jordan Hooper.

When it comes to players, both groups chose Minnesota senior guard Rachel Banham as the top star in preseason forecasting.

Of the 11 combined players picked – the media’s five became six because of a tie – Banham, Iowa senior guard Samantha Logic, and Nebraska junior guard Rachel Theriot made both teams, while Michigan State sophomore guard Aerial Powers, and Northwestern sophomore forward Nia Coffey made the coaches’ player picks.

Differentiating, the media chose Maryland sophomore guard Lexie Brown, Minnesota sophomore center Amanda Zahui, and Ohio State junior guard Ameryst Alston.

No one from Rutgers, as is obvious, made the first and only squads, but let it be known that senior Betnijah Laney, junior Kaleah Copper, and sophomore Tyler Scaife, are not a bad threesome to have in your attack and defense.

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guru's WNBA Musings: Another Blindside Hits the New York Liberty

By Mel Greenberg

One thing that can be said about the New York Liberty, with the exception of player retirements of such notables as Katie Smith, Sue Wicks, and a few others, little amunition is available when it comes to giving 21 gun salutes when some of the notables in WNBA history awake mornings not knowing in a few hours they will be slipping from active to past tense when it comes to employment by the organization.

Four years ago there was the September massacre when Hall of Famer and longtime Liberty front office head Carol Blazejowski wasn't even given a chance to say thanks for the memories to members of her staff.

Came mid-afternoon on Tuesday and fesity but lovable Bill Laimbeer was given the heave ho in a move that some in the organization did not know what was about to happen.

When ESPN star scribe and former Inquirer Guru colleague Kate Fagan keyboarded an offering around the end of the season that New York wasn't far from turning the corner and the last thing New Yortk should do is fire Laimbeer many wondered, why the concern?

Especially those of us who knows how the front office bloodlines have flown.

But in the wake of this post postseason's annual news surprise -- a tradition that includes such out of nowhere events as WNBA presidential resignations and other ejections of coaching ejections that seemed stable at the time -- hello Mike Thibault -- the question becomes who knew what and when.

For example, a phone call placed to one agent acquaintance of the Guru brought the response, "Oh, did they finally announce it?"

One other source said, "they probably let Cappie (Pondexter) know before departing to play foreign ball and she might have told a few people on the QT.

When Laimbeer returned last season, part of his vision was disrupted when the ghosts of Detroit Shock past -- the glory days when he piloted three WNBA titles -- became unusable parts because of injury or health issues.

Then he worked hard to land a key superstar in the offseason when he capitalized on former UConn star Tina Charles' desire to jump ship on the Connecticut Sun and return to her native New York, though the price was more than a few trinkets of youthful talent.

Several WNBA types who were in Turkey for the recent world championship won by the pro stars of America under the USA Basketball banner had no idea, especially with front office executive Kristin Bernet among them.

When asked about Big Bad Bill's whereabouts, she said he was fishing, which was not out of line from comments he made during his past two seasons.

Given the trend of saving dollars, this could be a money issue, this was the option year in his contract, perhaps he sought a few more years, and the MSG hats suddenly decided, on second thought, it is better to let go now, then be stuck if things don't improve later.

The thread through the front office beginning with Blaze's ouster after being the only executive leader the Liberty knew from the 1997 launch of the franchise in the first year of WNBA competition was curious.

The man credited with shooting Liberty Blaze was Scott O'Neil, who happened to have had a past working relationship with Bernet, a Siena grad who first surfaced working in the front office in Detroit in the glory years, then worked in the league front office, and then was part of the in-house ruling family of the Los Angeles Sparks headed at the GM level by Penny Toler.

When a coaching vacancy in Tinseltown came up several years ago, Bernet, who prefers the KB monicker, had interest in John Whisenant, who had made the former Sacramento Monarchs one of the league's powers berfore the franchise's demise.

But Toler had eyes on Jennifer Gillom, who had held the interim title with the Minnesota Lynx. That by the way enabled Laimbeer, who was then with the NBA side of the Minnesota Timberwolves to back the candidacy of Cheryl Reeve, his former Detroit assistant, as coach of the Lynx.

Meanwhile, what Penny wants, she usually gets, only to toss away later except for the glory of the Lisa Leslie years, and so Bernet ended up together again with O'Neil in New York.

Prior to Blaze's departure, she had been in the hunt for a coaching replacement for Anne Donovan, who was heading back to the college ranks, however, briefly, at Seton Hall near where she grew up at Bergen Catholic as the pre-Elena Delle Donne of her time -- OK, don't overract to the description.

Her top choice was Carol Ross, then assisting the Atlanta Dream and later to become the coach in L.A. until her surprising ouster during last summer.

But she never got to make the move and like magic Whisenant was brought in also as GM but to be hampered by New York's first two of three-relocation seasons to the Prudential Center in Newark across the Hudson River in New Jersey while Madison Square Garden underwent a major renovation.

Laimbeer arrived for the third of those seasons and at the end whether the organization wanted it publicly stated, he pretty much alluded what a mess it was having to operate in North Jersey, especially with the training center being up the road near White Plains, N.Y.

His WNBA return seemed ticketed for Washington at a time when Thibault had not yet been dismissed from a mostly successful decade run in Connecticut, but no title.

However, Laimbeer's arrival was not a shock, forgive the pun, considering Bernet's influence but somewhere in there O'Neil left in a huff with owner James L. Dolan and now has key positions with the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA and the Jersey Devils of the NHL.

One wonders what the scene would be today had not the Liberty during the final weeks of the regular season in the Eastern gridlock for playoff spots beaten Washington and Washington had lost to the Indiana Fever which would have been enough to tip New York into September.

So now the suspense begins: Will Laimbeer land in L.A. which has an opening or will Gary Kloppenberg get promoted.

And might Kloppenberg land in New York though Marynell Meadors sits out there since her unceremonious exit two yesrs ago in Atlanta where she was the victim of a devil deal by an Angel.

Ironically, Ross could land in New York and said as much in having interest in a twitter reaction to a Guru speculation about finally hitting her destiny soon after the Guru's hearing about Laimbeer's parting of ways.

So that's it for now -- stay tuned but now that you have been entertained, the Guru has a plane to catch for Chicago and Big Ten media day, which is Thursday.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Guru's AP Poll History: All-Time and Active Coaching Appearances

( From the Guru files. Here is the gold vault file of all-time appearances in the AP poll until the cutoff for the blog list and a longer list of coaches active reflecting the changes, also, since last season before we get under way with the ongoing history in the new one.

Though Pat Summitt's era ended, Tennessee, under Holly Warlick continues to have missed only 14 weeks out of the overall total.

By Mel Greenberg (@womhoopsguru)

Women’s Hoops Guru

(Mar. 17, 2014) - update July 5 reflecting coach changes

Quick hits on AP poll (week 20-final – for coaches’ appearances week No. 20)
(This was the 672nd poll after week 20 for 2013-14). (Records on pages through week 20-final)

Coaches with Three Ranked Teams

C. Vivian Stringer (Cheyney-85), (Iowa-155), (Rutgers-171), 411
Jim Foster (St. Joe-35), (Vanderbilt-164), (Ohio St.-171), 370
Gary Blair (Stephen F. Austin-79), (Arkansas-67), (Texas A&M-152), 298
Marianne Stanley (Old Dominion-141), (Southern Cal-24), (Stanford*-18), 183
Lin Dunn (Miami-2), (Mississippi-1), (Purdue-130), 133
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), (Tenn.-Chattannoga-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)
2. Andy Landers, Georgia – 509
3. Tara VanDerveer (2 schools – Ohio St., Stanford) – 466
4. Geno Auriemma, Connecticut – 426
5. C. Vivian Stringer (3 schools – Cheyney, Iowa, Rutgers) – 411
6. **-Jody Conradt, Texas – 395
7. (((-Jim Foster (3 schools – St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Ohio St.) – 370
8. Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina – 364
9. **-Rene Portland (2 schools – St. Joseph, Penn St.) – 336
10. **-Debbie Ryan, Virginia – 328
11. **- Kay Yow, North Caro. St. – 326
12. **-Leon Barmore, Louisiana Tech (51-shared with Sonja Hogg) – 325
13. Gary Blair, (3 schools – Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas, Texas A&M) – 298
14.**- Gail Goestenkors (2 schools – Duke, Texas) – 295
15. **-Joe Ciampi, Auburn – 290
16. Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame – 275
17. **-Sue Gunter (2 schools – Stephen F. Austin, LSU) – 270
18. &&-Joan Bonvicini (2 schools – Long Beach, Arizona) - 267
19. **-Marsha Sharp, Texas Tech – 264
20. **-Van Chancellor (2 schools – Mississippi, LSU) – 261
21. Kim Mulkey, Baylor 228
22. **-Chris Weller, Maryland - 227
23. **-Theresa Grentz (2 schools – Rutgers, Illinois) – 225
24. Sherri Coale, Oklahoma 224
25. Joanne P. McCallie (2 schools – Michigan St., Duke) – 205
26. **-Marianne Stanley (3 schools – Old Dominion, Southern Cal, Stanford*) – 183
27. **-Paul Sanderford (2 schools – W. Kentucky, Nebraska) – 182
28. Brenda Frese (2 schools – Minnesota, Maryland) -- 180
29. **-Marian Washington, Kansas – 176
**-Not in college or not in as a head coach

Active Coaches-All Time AP Ranking Appearances

1. Andy Landers, Georgia – 509
2. Tara VanDerveer (2 schools – Ohio St., Stanford) – 466
3. Geno Auriemma, Connecticut – 426
4. C.Vivian Stringer (3 schools – Cheyney, Iowa, Rutgers) – 411
5. (((-Jim Foster (3 schools – St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Ohio St.) – 370
6. Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina – 364
7. Gary Blair, (3 schools – Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas, Texas A&M) – 298
8. Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame – 275
9.&&--Joan Bonvicini (2 schools – Long Beach, Arizona) - 267
10. Kim Mulkey, Baylor – 228
11. Sherri Coale, Oklahoma – 223
12. Joanne P. McCallie (2 schools - Michigan St., Duke) – 205
13. Brenda Frese (2 schools, Minnesota, Maryland) – 180
14. Melanie Balcomb (2 schools – Xavier, Vanderbilt) – 161
15. Bill Fennelly, (2 schools – Toledo, Iowa St.) – 155
16. Doug Bruno, DePaul – 141
17. @!@!-Kristy Curry (2 schools – Purdue, Texas Tech) – 136
18. %%- Joe McKeown (2 schools – New Mexico St., George Washington) – 116
19. ==== Jim Davis, Clemson, 106
20.)))-Chris Gobrecht (Washington) - 104
21. !!!- Jane Albright (2 schools – N. Illinois, Wisconsin) – 96
22. Matthew Mitchell, Kentucky – 85
23. Charli Turner Thorne, Arizona St. – 84
23. Jeff Walz, Louisville – 84
25. Sharon Versyp, Purdue – 83
26. Sue Semrau, Florida St. – 79
27. Connie Yori (Creighton, Nebraska) – 70
28. Dawn Staley (Temple, South Carolina) – 66
29. Mike Carey, West Virginia – 63
30. Joanne Boyle, California (2 schools – California, Virginia) – 61
30. Coquese Washington, Penn State – 61
32. Tom Collen, (3 schools, Colorado St., Louisville, Arkansas) – 60
33. Bonnie Henrickson, (2 schools -- Virginia Tech, Kansas) – 54
34. Suzy Merchant, Michigan St. – 53
35. ***-Kathy Olivier, UCLA 52
36. ^^^-Kevin McGuff, Xavier – 50
37. ____Terri Williams-Flournoy, Georgetown – 48
38. Harry Perretta, Villanova – 44
39. Lindsay Gottlieb, California 40
39. Holly Warlick, Tennessee – 40
41.@@@@- Kelly Graves, Gonzaga – 38
41. #####-Jeff Mittie, TCU – 38
43. Lisa Bluder (2 schools – Iowa, Drake) – 37
44. Jim Littell, Oklahoma State – 36
45.%=%= Matt Bollant, Wis.-Green Bay – 35
45. Katie Meier, Miami –35
47. Lisa Stockton, Tulane – 34
48. $$$- June Daugherty (2 schools – Boise St.,Washington) – 32
49. MaChelle Joseph, Georgia Tech - 31

&&-Active at Seattle; )))-Active at Yale; $$$-Active at Wash. St.; %%-Active at Northwestern; !!!-Active at Nevada; @@@@-Active at Oregon; ^^^-Active at Ohio State.; ==== Active at Tenn Tech; ____Active at Auburn; %=%= Active at Illinois; (((-Active at Tenn.-Chattanooga; @!@!-Active at Alabama, #####-active at Kansas State.

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Guru's 2014-15 Carousel of D-I Coaching Changes

By Mel Greenberg

OK, as we continue to roll into the season and playing some catchup, here is the lineup right now in terms of the annual carousel of coaching changes in Division I since the end of last season.

Technically, under the Guru’s definition, if some unknown situation right now causes another change until the opening tip on Nov. 14, this will update to reflect that in the current spin.

After that the limbo list moves forward to the end of the season. Of course some unforeseen action, or situation, could cause a replacement after getting under way so that statistical situation will just be applicable to the moment, though if it happens before the mid-way point, it could count as an add-on here in terms of the Maggie Dixon Division I rookie candidacies, though the WBCA has the final say on the official list of consideration.

Anyone who was an interim no matter how long last season becomes eligible now, at least that was the way it stood several years ago when the Guru was part of the WBCA committee, actually time is flying, that was back in 2008-09.

Special thanks to David Saw, out West, who keeps his own chart and was able to give the Guru enough information to apply it to the Guru’s breakdown.

Overall, the total of changes is 34 with 23 being Maggie Dixon candidates, both numbers are a low for the past several years.

As in the past, the categories below will break into Maggie Dixon, first, then changes at the Major Power (formerly known as the BCS) level and for the moment until we ever get a consensus, we will keep the reconfigured Big East in that group until some consensus says otherwise.

The Guru has expressed his opinion last year, with no acrimony meant, just recognition of the reality though he has taken issue in the past from where actual BCS terminology got applied because there was a day that the major teams were determined from program success, so, in their time, teams, such as Old Dominion, in themselves would be considered major without regard to where they competed.

And the Guru knows what you are thinking in terms of a certain defending national champion and the conference it competes, but since football is also played and that seems to be the determining factor in all this right now, that is how it remains until we get some dialogue going or see how the whole on-going evolvement of NCAA governing structure plays out.

OK, having been pro-active to address all the Guru believes you might question, let’s go to the list.

Changes in Division I Coaching Positions

Maggie Dixon Candidates

Arkansas, Jimmie Dykes, former men’s assistant and national broadcaster.
Appalachian State, Angel Elderkin, past BCS LSU assistant.
Binghamton, Linda Cimino, past D-2 Caldwell head coach.
Boston U, Katy Steding, past BCS California assistant.
Butler, Kurt Godlevske, promoted from staff.
Charleston, Candice Jackson, past BCS Duke assistant.
Gonzaga, Lisa Fortier, promoted from staff.
Grambling, Nadine Domond, former AAU coach.
Houston, Ron Hughley, past BCS Florida State assistant.
Indiana State, Joey Wells, promoted from staff.
ULM (Louisiana-Monroe), Jeff Dow, past (2013) D-II Indiana-Pa. head coach.
Louisiana Tech, Tyler Summitt, past BCS Marquette assistant.
Marquette, Carolyn Kieger, past BCS Miami assistant.
Massachusetts-Lowell, Jenerrie Harris, past Navy assistant.
Morehead State, Greg Todd, past D-III Transylvania U. head coach.
North Dakota State, Maren Walseth, past BCS Penn State assistant.
Northern Colorado, Kamie Ethridge, past BCS Kansas State assistant.
Northeastern, Kelly Cole, past Harvard assistant.
Portland, Cheryl Sorenson, promoted from staff.
Prairie View, Dawn Brown, promoted from interim (full 2013-14 season).
Stony Brook, Caroline McCombs, past BCS Auburn assistant.
Southeastern Louisiana, Yolanda Moore, past NJCAA LSU-Eunice head coach.
Southern Utah, Chris Boettcher, past BYU assistant (2013), was in Japan.

Total: 23: 16 women, 7 men, 9 BCS assistants, 7 more D-1 assts, inc. 5 promotions, 5 others.

BCS Hires

Arkansas, Jimmy Dykes, see Maggie Dixon.
Georgetown, Natasha Adair, past Charleston head coach.
Houston, Ron Hughley, see Maggie Dixon.
Indiana, Teri Moren, past Indiana State head coach.
Kansas State, Jeff Mittie, past BCS TCU head coach.
Marquette, Carolyn Kieger, see Maggie Dixon.
Minnesota, Marlene Stollings, past VCU head coach.
Oregon, Kelly Graves, past Gonzaga head coach.
TCU, Raegan Pebley, past Fresno State head coach.

Overall Total 9-3 rookies listed; 5-2 men, 4-1 women ; 1 BCS coach, 5 past D-1 MM coaches.

Other Hires
Brown, Sarah Behn, past Massacusetts-Lowell head coach.
Fresno State, Jaime White, past Northern Colorado head coach.
Rhode Island, Daynia La-Force, past Northeastern head coach.
Santa Clara, JR Payne, past Southern Utah head coach.
VCU, Beth O’Boyle, past Stony Brook head coach.

Total 5: 0 men, 5 women, 5 past D-1 MM head coaches.

Grand total 34: 10 men, 24 women, 9 BCS jobs (6 minus3 – MD listed), 23 rookies, 5 promotions, 9 past BCS aides,7 more aides; 10 past MM D-1 HC, 1 BCS coach, 5 others.

That’s it. Contact the Guru for any errors in spelling, calculation, or missed changes.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Guru's Musings: Seton Hall, WNBA TV Deal, FIBA, and Other Topics

By Mel Greenberg

Amazing how many people have come to the blog in the last 15 hours without anything new on it, but the Guru, who has been busy getting his college communication network up to date and USBWA duties handled, knows why you have visited based on early trends, so he begins with a series of topics, leading off with the Daisha Simmons situation.

However, in sordid ways it got there, the Guru is glad for Daisha that the end result is going to be a happy ending.

So there is no need to keep dwelling on the obvious in terms of NCAA rules, Alabama’s motives, etc.

But let’s look forward because what Simmons’ addition to Seton Hall does in year two of the Pirates’ revival under Tony Bozzella is make the school an even more prominent factor in the re-configured Big East as a conference contender and, dare say, depending what happens non-Big East and within the early part of the conference schedule, a potential to gain the first AP ranking for Seton Hall in two decades.

The last appearance for the South Orange, N.J., contingent was on Jan. 31, 1995 at No. 25 after rising as high as 15th in the final poll of the previous season.

If the NCAA now makes Simmons good to go, the Guru sent an overnight note to Bozzella that perhaps he might want to bring her along to Big East media day in two weeks so the local mob has another stop to visit in the room besides listening to Villanova’s Harry Perretta’s tales of yesterday and DePaul’s Doug Bruno discussing how he spent his summer vacation, other than getting soaked like the rest of us in June in the Chillin’ for Charity cause for the Kay Yow foundation started by Arizona.

Speaking of Perretta, since part of what the Guru has been doing is getting his schedule spreadsheet of local and national teams in order, he noticed that the Dean of the Big East is going to be on a retro tour, going to Chattanooga’s tournament hosted by Jim Foster, and heading to Florida in the same tournament as Geno Auriemma and Uconn.

He believes, though saying this off the top of his head, there is even a potential or definite hookup with Jose Fernandez and USF.

And Now for a Quick Commercial

If you are a journalist covering women’s basketball, you might want be part of that gender side of the membership of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).

To get listed in the outstanding media guide, you have until Friday to go to the USBWA website and pay your dues $50 for pros, $25 for college and 2014 college graduates.
You can check in with the Guru to see if you past muster if you are afraid ahead of time of getting rejected and losing your payment.

There are lots of opportunities to gain exposure, if you are not already deep in work elsewhere, through the Guru’s site and also helping to handle USBWA matters involving awards and such on the women’s side.

That said, back to more musings.

WNBA TV Deal Extended

Hidden deep, but definitely not on purpose, it’s just the way the narrative goes, in the new NBA TV deal the other day was that the WNBA arrangement with ESPN that extended to 2022, now extends through 2025, another three years.

So for those who think the pro league is going to vanish soon, nothing could be further than the truth, though a league source did note to the Guru that former NBA commissioner David Stern said the doubters will never completely go away.

At this point, it doesn’t seem likely to happen for the WNBA, though perhaps someone could offer odds whether Geno will still be at UConn in 2025 or being the main star of the network on games, perhaps sharing duties with his former star Rebecca Lobo.

There is also talk of forming a new platform for viewing to be established by ESPN, though discussed about the NBA, it will interesting to see if there is a replacement for Center Court.

The announcement said of the NBA emphasis, cable subscriptions wouldn’t be needed to get more eyes on the league. Center Court has been phenomenal, considering the total of broadcast and cable availabilities in the WNBA, but many of the technical flaws that crop up could be refined.

All the USA Does is Win

To steal the title of a hip-hop song of note, it appears no matter who makes or doesn’t make the USA squad, even on short togetherness, the Americans still dominate the international scene as evidence by Sunday’s win over Spain at the FIBA World Championship, though, admittedly the competition is getting better.

One perk out of Sunday’s win is USA doesn’t have to go to Olympic qualifying tournaments next year, leaving the organization free to schedule training and friendly sessions around the WNBA schedule at various places with places in Connecticut and the University of Delaware potential spots for return visits.

If not Delaware, per se, perhaps combined with appearances up the road here in Philadelphia, considering the roots of three of the coaches, Geno Auriemma, Dawn Staley, and Cheryl Reeve, since this staff is likely not to change under Auriemma on the run-up to Brazil and the 2016 Olympics.

By the way, looking at the continuous flow of young talent into the system, the next time around, maybe there should be more concern over the health of the newer generation, who could do ample work if any of the vets heading for the last roundup run into injury problems between now and then.

About Preseason Magazines

Forecasts in the October publications prior to the start of the official weekly polls in The Associated Press and USAToday, always are good for getting the conversation going as the emphasis changes back to the collegiate channel, which will be all about getting to Tampa in April.

But there are inconsistencies in the mags such as the Guru read one ranking with comments alongside that after the 1-2 Uconn-South Carolina punch all spoke of major losses of personnel through most of the rest of the Top 10.

So, if that is so, what are they doing ranked so high. Amazing that no one picked up on Rutgers, for example, that has virtually everyone back and likely to be a factor with a fresh start in the Big 10.

The Guru did see one other listing that was much better in accounting for who is back in terms of depth.

Looking Ahead

In the next several days the Guru will post the coaching carousel he never got started over the summer, as eventful as it was, but thanks to David Saw on the West Coast, who kept his own version, the Guru has his copy to reformat in the annual Guru presentation.

Incidentally, the total changes seem like minimally a three-year low, though in the Guru’s world, the carousel for this time around is allowed to spin until opening day.

Whatever happens during the season becomes part of the next ride with some asterisks noted when one becomes a full-time coach rather than an interim on the spot when a vacancy occurs.

The Guru will also preview the local schedule, attention CAA, please get your start times done so the home tips of Drexel, James Madison, UNCW, and Towson, can – the other three being part of the missing dates at Drexel and Delaware – enable the Guru to close the spread sheet – updates are allowed, but he needs to test the spreadsheet for publishing and iPad operational purposes.
He also can then look further to give Travel Sugar Daddy a clue as to what is needed expenses-wise.

OK, that’s it for now. Glad to have given you something to read for the moment and the Guru will return soon enough.

-- Mel

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Monday, October 06, 2014

SEC Players Past and Present Were Part Of USA Basketball's Successful Summer

( Guru's Note: The conference count on the national team: Former Big East thanks to UConn: 6 of which 1 has AAC experience, Big 12 has 2, then 1 each for SEC, Big 10, Atlantic 10 when played, and Pac-12. )

By Mike Siroky

The Southeastern Conference was represented at this year's sweeping win of the FIBA World Championship for Women in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey by Seimone Augustus of LSU.

She played in all six games and was the fourth-best scorer, at 9.3 per game, with the fourth-most playing time, 19.7 minutes more per game, more than, among others, Brittney Greiner.

It's just one of the league's many summer highlights as the 2014-10-15 season is almost upon us.

Starting with coach Dawn Staley, of upstart and NCAA top seed South Carolina. USA Basketball coach Geno Auriemma recognized her as an up-and-coming coach by adding her to the coaching staff, even though none of her players made the team.

Incoming freshman A'ja Wilson was on the world championship 18-under team. Staley coached that one. Wilson led the team in scoring at 19.0. Paris Key of Vanderbilt, another newbie, was also on the roster.

"This is why you play, this is why you want to represent your country, for times like this," said Staley when the big championship was won.

"It was really an eye-opening experience as a coach. There are other coaches that have a different perspective on coaching. It opens you up to a new brand of basketball, something you can use in your own coaching styles."

Auriemma never took his foot off the gas and kept the pressure from within so great that playing was a breeze.

"It’s very difficult to win these championships," he said.

"There’s a lot of great teams and they’re getting better all the time. You can tell by the games, and it’s really, really difficult. For us to be able to do that, even though everybody expects us to do it, that doesn’t make it easier.

"I’m really proud of our team. These guys make a great sacrifice, because they just finished playing in their own league, in the WNBA and a lot of them are getting ready to go play in Europe. So, it’s a tremendous sacrifice that they made for their country and I can’t be more proud of them."

•The national 3-on-3 team featured Cierra Burdick of Tennessee and Tiffany Mitchell of South Carolina. They won the World Championship in Moscow, defeating the host team, 8-1, completing a 9-0 run.

•The WNBA itself had 35 current and former WNBA players on rosters of 11 of the 16 participating countries, including Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.

The American team had 11 of 12 players with league experience. Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, both UConn legends, were members of the USA’s gold-medal-winning teams at the 2002 and 2010 FIBA World Championships.

Bird, the first four-time USA World Championship Team member, and Taurasi, the reigning MVP of the 2014 WNBA Finals, is a three-time member of the USA’s World Championship squad.

Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims, teammates on the NCAA champions at Baylor in 2012, also were teammates for USA Basketball this year.

Ten current WNBA players represented Australia, Brazil, France, Serbia, and Spain.
Staley, as a former WNBA player, is another WNBA link.

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Theresa Grentz Back in College Coaching

By Mel Greenberg

Here is the Lafayette announcement

Theresa Grentz Returns to the Sidelines at Lafayette College

EASTON, Pa. –.
Lafayette women’s basketball head coach Diane Nolan announced the addition of Theresa Grentz to her coaching staff. Grentz was the head coach of the 1992 US Women’s Olympic team and was also the head coach at the University of Illinois and Rutgers.

“I am absolutely thrilled to announce Theresa Grentz is joining our Leopard staff for the season,” Nolan said. “Passion, charisma, expertise and integrity are just a few adjectives describing coach Grentz. I am very excited for our players, staff and Lafayette community to interact with coach Grentz, as she shares her wealth of knowledge and experience. I want to express special appreciation to the college administration, including our Director of Athletics Bruce McCutcheon, for support of this unique opportunity for our women’s basketball program.”

During her 33-year head coaching career, Grentz has accumulated over 670 wins. While at Rutgers she won 434 games, including an AIAW National Championship in 1981. She also reached the NCAA Tournament in nine consecutive seasons with the Scarlet Knights. During her time at Illinois, Grentz won 210 games and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen twice.
Grentz was a three-time All-American for the Immaculata College Mighty Macs, where she was a member of three National Championship teams. In 2014, Grentz and her teammates were inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Grentz is also the former President and a founding member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and was a recipient of the 2013 Lapchick Character Award.

“I am honored to be joining the Lafayette College coaching staff,” Grentz said. “It is no secret that basketball has been one of my life’s passions. In my new role, I am committed to helping continue Lafayette College’s winning tradition.”

During her seven year hiatus from basketball, Grentz served as the former Vice President for University Advancement at her alma mater Immaculata University. Over the last three years, Grentz has devoted her time to Grentz Elite Coaching, a basketball teaching academy to improve players and coaches in order to enhance their game. In the Spring of 2014, Grentz penned her first book: Lessons Learned from Playing a Child's Game.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Part III: Richmond's Celebration of Life Tributes to Ginny Doyle and Natalie Lewis

By Mel Greenberg

Here is the transcript of the remembrance speech made by Ginny Doyle's good friend and Richmond athletic department co-worker Cathy Rossi at Saturday's memorial service.

Still to come are women's basketball coach Michael Shafer's opening and possibly, if they desire, the remembrance from Natalie's parents.

I would first just like to thank everyone for coming today to help us to remember and celebrate the lives of these two extraordinary women.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Cathy and I’ve been friends with Ginny ever since I’ve known her.

I know that might sound strange, but Ginny was the type of person that you could be fast friends with and I can’t actually remember a time where I didn’t consider her my friend.

Being a basketball junkie myself I knew that Ginny and I would have a lot to chat about; little did I know that Ginny would ALWAYS have a lot to chat about.

Most people do know that Ginny was an epic story teller so I hope that I can do her a little bit of justice in telling just a part of her story here today.

Ginny and I were co-workers here at the University of Richmond, and me being the socialite that I am I was always organizing some sort of social outing or gathering.

There is a popular series of Bud Light commercials out right now that use the tag line “Up for whatever”, and I can’t help but think of Ginny because she was always up for whatever I threw out there.

We probably went to over 20 concerts together and I know there were times where she might not have known more than one song of the artists but she’d just say “yeah, I’m in”.

Even when she had her latest knee surgery, Darius Rucker was playing out at Innsbrook (who I’m pretty sure we had seen twice already together) and since Ginny couldn’t hobble out to the show we listened to whole set from the back deck of her house, with her mom too……and told stories.

Ginny reminisced about how her parents used to make her and her brother Joe dress up and entertain them and their friends with renditions of the Kenny Roger’s classic “The Gambler”.

I didn’t even know Ginny had musical talents!

I also had the pleasure of going to see the Steve Miller Band with Ginny and her 3 siblings-Joe, Ray and Pat. I remember Ginny being so excited to have everyone out together and visiting at the same time.

As dedicated as Ginny was to coaching, she was even MORE dedicated to her family.

But whatever you threw out there Ginny was always in, as long as she didn’t have to go recruiting or watch game film which was always a priority.

Being a basketball coach was so much of who she was, but she was so much more than that.

Everything that she was as person is what made her a great coach. She was so humble and giving…..and selfless and loyal.

Knowing that I was going to be speaking to you all today I had reached out to a few other friends of Ginny and just asked them what they would say about her if they had the chance to speak to you all today.

There were so many positive responsive it would be impossible to share them all today but they were things like, “we always had a LOT of laughs”, or “she was so giving and appreciative of others”, and “She was not only my coach but my friend and mentor”.

I always knew that Ginny was a great friend to me but I quickly learned that she was great friend to everyone she met.

Another friend (and former player of Ginny’s) talked about how she took the time to know her players off the court AND their families. And that trait didn’t stop with coaching. She was always willing to take the time to get to know other people, and know THEIR story.

Coach (Stephanie) Gaitley, who was one of Ginny’s coaches, shared a funny story with me that when Ginny was playing for her she could hear all the ladies on the bench whispering and chuckling and saying “you tell her”, “no you tell her”.

So finally Ginny came up to her and said, “Um, Coach your shirt is tucked inside your underwear.”

(Coach Gaitley did approve me sharing that with you all today btw)…But that’s who Ginny was……she was the type of friend that would tell you if you had food all over your face or your underwear embarrassingly showing.

She had a huge heart and a tremendous sense of humor too, even dressing as a Nun one Halloween, which now has me wondering if God is appreciating her sense of humor as much as we did?

When I look around and think about the outpouring of love and support the Doyle family has received over these last few months, it amazes me to know the number of lives that Ginny had impacted in her short time here with us.

I could live to be 100 years old and not affect even HALF the number of people that Ginny has touched in her 44 years.

I consider myself SO LUCKY to have known Ginny..…..and very PROUD to be able to call her my friend.

And whether she was your teammate, your colleague, your sister, your aunt, you daughter, your mentor, or your coach…………..she was without a doubt also your friend.

When we leave here today, I just hope that we all understand how absolutely blessed we are to have even had the opportunity to have these two extraordinary women in our lives.

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