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, April 06, 2005

I'm the national champion and I have to pay?

By Mel Greenberg

INDIANAPOLIS _ Those words were uttered, perhaps in jest, by a member of the new NCAA women's basketball champion Baylor Bears here a few hours ago just before the sun came up.

The location was a Steak and Shake or vice versa, an all-night joint near the RCA Dome where Baylor shaked and baked over Michigan State, especially from outside and on the backboards for an 84-62 victory Tuesday night.

The hamburger crowd included former Oklahoma and WNBA star Stacey Dales, who served as a studio analyst on the scene for ESPN for the third straight year.

Dales is no longer with the Washington Mystics, having retired in the offseason. Her studio co-host Lisa Leslie headed back to la la land for the coming of the WNBA's ninth season.

Leslie plays with the Los Angeles Sparks, a team still without a coach, but with the addition of Chamique Holdsclaw, who left Washington in mid-summer and later revealed she was suffering from depression.

It is unknown whether Dales provided Leslie any "teammate advice" for dealing with the former Tennessee sensation, but the three-time Olympic gold medalist already has previous experience on past USA basketball teams with Holdsclaw.

Meanwhile, Chris Voelz of the Women's Sports Foundation substituted for WSF president Donna Lopiano as emcee for the WBCA coach of the year luncheon

Lopiano had to attend to a family health situation back East.

Voelz began by telling the crowd, "You're waiting for the head coach and you got the assistant coach."

Soon thereafter when we got up to present the, ahem, Mel Greenberg media award to Dave Loane, a sportscaster of Illinois women's basketball and other Illini sports, we reminded Voelz she was under-valuing herself.

In our profession, we pointed out, we go to the coach for a statement and the assistant for information. :)

Houston Comets coach Van Chancellor, also the Olympic gold medal-winning coach in Athens, was seen in the room working WNBA general managers, perhaps to say hello, and perhaps to trigger a trade before the April 16 draft.

The Charlotte Sting, with the top draft pick, is still zeroing in on its selection.

As for the NCAA title game, Emily Niemann's 5-for-7 three-point shooting in the first half and Baylor's overall 45-22 rebounding advantage were the keys to Michigan State's demise.

The weekend was still a landmark with both of Tuesday night's competitors appearing in their first title game after advancing to the Women's Final Four for the first time. Their respective rallies over LSU and Tennessee Sunday night also made for exciting stuff.

As we said when we started this current discussion, our story begins a few hours before sunrise, but we are not on the front end of today, we're still on the back end of last night in broad daylight.

So on that note, with a late flight scheduled back to Philadelphia this afternoon, we'll take advantage of the extended checkout by saying good morning and good night and we'll be back after our arrival on the East Coast.

-- Mel

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