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, August 10, 2005

Dust to Dust and Darths to Anakins

By Mel Greenberg

UNCASVILLE, Conn. _ At one time, the visit of the Los Angeles Sparks to the Connecticut Sun Tuesday night might have had blockbuster implications on a par with some of the biggest summer attractions offered from the filmland capital of America that’s located practically in the Sparks’ back lot.

Instead, the Sparks have pulled a reverse Star Wars.

If one wanted to put a Hollywood title on the second meeting this season between L.A. and Connecticut, just call it Episode II: No Revenge of the Stiffs.

Several weeks after the Sun embarrassed the Sparks, 90-70, in the Staples Center, Los Angeles, trying to stay alive in the Western Conference playoff hunt, struck with punch but no counter in casino country as Connecticut prevailed, 64-51.

Back in May, the offseason addition of All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw joining Sparks superstar Lisa Leslie had virtually everyone handing the 2005 WNBA title to Los Angeles.

But injuries, inconsistency, and the problems adjusting to new coach Henry Bibby’s strategy have transformed the once-feared Darth Vaders of the WNBA into Anakin Skywalkers instead of the other way that Star Wars creator George Lucas scripted in his final production of the science fiction fable.

Holdsclaw, who was held to six points and four rebounds by the Sun, must feel like she’s living in Washington on the Pacific after moving from a Mystics organization that had stumbled and fumbled throughout most of her previous career in D.C.

In fact, her previous club is very much alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

That makes Wednesday night’s visit to the New York Liberty in Madison Square Garden quite an intriguing matchup.

The Liberty are in a three-team chase in the East for a playoff berth involving the Detroit Shock and the Mystics, and have little room for error.

The Sparks, fading fast in the West at 12-14, might implode altogether if they fail in the final of a grueling eight-game road trip.

Meanwhile, how about that Sun team beating up on the West this season?

Tuesday’s victory enabled playoff-bound Connecticut to finish with a near-sweep of the left-of-the-Mississippi crowd at 13-1, a mark that has helped keep them in pursuit of the No. 1 overall seed when the playoffs begin at the end of the month.

After the contest, we asked Connecticut coach Mike Thibault what his reaction might have been several months ago if someone had predicted his team would do that well outside the East after a paltry 4-10 performance last season in that aspect of the annual summer competition.

“I probably would have asked them what they were smoking,” Thibault smiled.

“Everybody makes a big deal about going against the West,” he referred to past history in which those teams dominated the league, especially with the Houston Comets claiming the first four WNBA titles and the Sparks following with the next two.

“Right now the East has done pretty well as a group against the West,” Thibault said about the serious competition as opposed to the West’s unbeaten lock on the All-Star series.

“We’ve had a shift in the balance of power. Detroit won the championship two years ago. Seattle and us had a great series last year,” Thibault continued.

“You’ve had a lot of good young players that come up into the league, make and influx into the Eastern Conference. There are a lot of good things going on in our conference.

“I don’t think there is a gap anymore.”

Nykesha Sales, who had 16 points for the Sun against the Sparks, behind the 22-point effort from Katie Douglas, echoes Thibault’s remarks.

“People used to measure themselves by how they did against Houston and L.A,” the former University of Connecticut star said. “Now, I think they’re starting to do that when they play against us.”

The Sun have a league-best 21-6 record, just ahead of the Sacramento Monarchs’ 20-7 effort to lead the West.

Remember, the playoff finals this season will expand from best-of-three to best-of-five with the No. 1 seed opening at home for the first two games and returning for a fifth and deciding game if necessary.

In the past, the top team went on the road first. That formula will still be in place in the early rounds.

Brain Download (2:45 a.m. edition).

If five limousines are parked alongside Madison Square Garden during the week, which one transported Inquirer colleague Stephen A. Smith to his new TV show in an ESPN studio across the street?

Quite frankly, a response is not needed.

* * *

You road warriors who use wireless cards or centrino chips (same thing) built into your laptops, should make the small investment necessary to buy a WIFI finder that detects active networks.
Then, when you’re ready to hook up your machinery, you won’t panic for long in a hotel offering free connections (cable or wireless) when you discover your LAN cable isn’t fitting what appears to be the jack.

* * *

Yours truly once covered Sparks assistant coach Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant, the father of Kobe, at a college tournament in New Orleans when he played at La Salle in the early 1970s.

The Explorers upset Jacksonville and Alabama, but the triumphs were tempered when popular team doctor Eugene Gallagher was felled by heart attack and the end of the first game against Jacksonville and died several hours later.

Paul Westhead was then the coach of the Explorers.

* * *

Note to our Inquirer sports editor Jim Jenks, whose daily blog can be found at nestingplace.blogspot.com:

Did any of the people who panned the new edition of the Madden game see it displayed on a mega-wide-screen in stores like Best Buy?

Quite impressive.

* * *

More than Penn-Pals: This Saturday, former Quakers all-time player Diana Caramanico will wed former Penn men’s star Jeff Owens on the campus of their alma mater.

* * *

If one makes the 230-250-mile trip here from Philadelphia on a day in which traffic is minimal, and the New Haven nightmare portion of I-95 is under control, using the GW Bridge across the Hudson, and also the Merritt Parkway, there will still be 15 tracks left on an Ipod or other MP3 player to be heard on a 42-track playlist of songs featuring Linda Ronstadt.

OK, so I travel to a different brake drum as the Stone Poneys might have said.

* * *

Among the pseudo celebrities attending the Sun game Tuesday night was Big East Conference women’s basketball media contact Rachel Margolis.

One of the (Sun PR chief) Bill Tavares media helpers at a recent game was UConn women’s basketball media contact Randy Press.

Having seen Geno Auriemma’s shadow, there are approximately only nine more weeks until Midnight Madness. :)

Until later (tonight in NYC or tomorrow night in Washington) –

--- Mel


Blogger ciscoblog said...

The online casino is an improvement in convenience of the brick and mortar casino. Online casinos today offer a complete software solution to all of gaming desires. You may download and intstall the casino software on your PC, but many online gambling sites also provide the player with the option very quick flash or java games.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have an excellent blog. I will be bookmarking this blog for sure. I have a tv show site. It for people interested in tv show related stuff.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello !.
You may , perhaps curious to know how one can collect a huge starting capital .
There is no initial capital needed You may commense to receive yields with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you need
AimTrust incorporates an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

It is based in Panama with structures everywhere: In USA, Canada, Cyprus.
Do you want to become a happy investor?
That`s your chance That`s what you wish in the long run!

I feel good, I began to take up income with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to choose a correct companion who uses your savings in a right way - that`s the AimTrust!.
I earn US$2,000 per day, and my first investment was 500 dollars only!
It`s easy to start , just click this link http://vypytexuv.wtcsites.com/vaqazeg.html
and go! Let`s take this option together to get rid of nastiness of the life

4:57 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 08.18
chanel handbags, gucci handbags, longchamp outlet, true religion outlet, nike air max, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, louboutin uk, prada outlet, coach outlet, burberry factory outlet, true religion outlet, nike free, ralph lauren outlet, nike outlet, ralph lauren polo, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors, tory burch outlet, michael kors outlet, michael kors handbags, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet store, longchamp outlet, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, louboutin shoes, cheap jordans, tiffany jewelry, kate spade, kate spade outlet, coach outlet store online, oakley sunglasses, longchamp bags, burberry outlet, coach outlet, coach purses, prada handbags, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin, tiffany jewelry, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, nike air max

8:47 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike roshe run pas cher, nike trainers uk, new balance, nike blazer pas cher, nike air max uk, hollister uk, sac guess pas cher, ray ban uk, michael kors, nike air max, timberland pas cher, mulberry uk, lunette oakley pas cher, longchamp soldes, lululemon outlet, nike roshe uk, hogan sito ufficiale, hermes pas cher, louboutin pas cher, nike air max pas cher, converse, longchamp pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, north face pas cher, michael kors outlet online, polo lacoste pas cher, nike free pas cher, nike air max uk, lunette ray ban pas cher, north face uk, nike air huarache, nike air force, vanessa bruno pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, polo ralph lauren uk, jordan pas cher, vans pas cher, burberry pas cher, abercrombie and fitch UK, longchamp uk, nike free, nike tn pas cher, michael kors uk

8:48 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

vans scarpe, hollister clothing, celine handbags, timberland boots, soccer jerseys, instyler ionic styler, p90x workout, converse, mac cosmetics, north face outlet, beats by dre, louboutin, herve leger, iphone cases, oakley, new balance shoes, babyliss pro, mcm handbags, chi flat iron, lululemon outlet, ghd hair, giuseppe zanotti, salvatore ferragamo, nike air max, polo ralph lauren, nike roshe run, nfl jerseys, soccer shoes, abercrombie, softball bats, hollister, nike air max, hermes handbags, jimmy choo outlet, insanity workout, valentino shoes, abercrombie and fitch, north face outlet, reebok outlet, wedding dresses, vans outlet, bottega veneta, mont blanc, asics running shoes

8:49 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

uggs outlet, juicy couture outlet, swarovski uk, uggs on sale, uggs outlet, pandora uk, ray ban, sac louis vuitton, uggs on sale, louis vuitton, louis vuitton uk, marc jacobs, supra shoes, replica watches, ugg uk, hollister, sac louis vuitton, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, lancel, pandora jewelry, montre pas cher, links of london uk, karen millen uk, louis vuitton, pandora charms, louis vuitton outlet, uggs on sale, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, doke & gabbana, converse shoes outlet, bottes ugg pas cher, coach outlet, swarovski jewelry, louis vuitton outlet online, louis vuitton, thomas sabo uk, ugg pas cher, wedding dresses uk, toms shoes, louis vuitton outlet, gucci, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton handbags
ninest123 08.18

8:50 PM  
Blogger mmjiaxin said...

michael kors uk
hollister clothing
karen millen uk
tiffany and co
ugg outlet uk
ralph lauren outlet
coach handbags outlet
chicago blackhawks
cheap uggs
nike free uk
instyler ionic styler
true religion jeans
denver broncos
miami dolphins
coach outlet store
ugg outlet
chanel outlet store
replica handbags,replica handbags outlet,cheap handbags,purses and handbags,wholesale replica handbags,replica bags,bags outlet,replica handbags wholesale,cheap purses,discount handbags,handbags sale,wholesale purses,handbags and purses,replica purses
cheap jordan shoes
tiffany outlet

11:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home