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, January 30, 2006

Tar Heels Leap To The Top

By Mel Greenberg

Depending on what time you are reading this from early Monday morning until the weekly Associated Press women's basketball poll is officially is released in the afternoon, the ascendency of North Carolina to a first-ever No. 1 ranking may have yet to go into play.

However, the win at No. 2 Duke leaves no doubt about the Tar Heels' rise, so we thought we'd jump start the process with all the little factoids, among other items elsewhere, that surround the history-making event in Sylvia Hatchell's program.

Although this is the 30th season of the rankings and this week's list is the 511th poll of all-time, North Carolina is only the 21st team to reach the top. In a note of oddity, the Tar Heels achieve first-ever No. 1 status for the first time since Duke made the preseason poll of the 2002-03 season.

The Blue Devils were later eclipsed by Connecticut, which beat Duke in February in a 1-2 matchup and went on to win a then-fourth NCAA title.

Overall, there have been 513 No. 1 rankings. Old Dominion and Texas shared the top the week of Jan. 29, 1980. Louisiana Tech and Tennessee were tied for first in the preseason poll of the 1989-90 season.

Here's a list of all the No. 1s and the times they have been ranked.

Most times #1 overall, all years

Schools Count

Tennessee 104

Connecticut 94

Louisiana Tech 83

Texas 47

Old Dominion 34

Virginia 24

Duke 23

Southern Cal 16

LSU 15

Auburn 11

Stanford 9

Wayland Baptist 9

Iowa 8

Penn St. 6

Vanderbilt 6

Delta St. 5

Georgia 5

Notre Dame 5

Maryland 4

Purdue 4

North Caro. 1

Meanwhile, there is an expectation that the number of teams in the 21-25 group from last week that suffered double losses will create a mass exit making possible the arrival of Kentucky, which upset then-No. 1 Tennessee, and St. John's, which has been closing in on a ranking.

Kentucky's last appearance was on Feb. 2, 1993, while St. John's last cracked the list on Feb. 5, 1984, when Diana Taurasi and Alana Beard of the WNBA had yet to reach their second birthdays.

Also, talk about synchronized progress. Mississippi's Carol Ross, a former Florida head coach, and Kentucky's Mickie DeMoss, who was Pat Summitt's longtime assistant at Tennessee, were both hired right after the 2003 season.

As it evolved, both of their new programs reached the AP rankings the same season after long absence. Additionally, DeMoss and Ross once served the same time on the staff of Auburn's Joe Ciampi, who was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville in June.

Meanwhile, while waiting for the new rankings, here is a list of coaches who have played for and coached teams ranked in the AP Poll. DeMoss, a graduate of Louisiana Tech, finished her education a year before the Techsters cracked the list in the 1977-78 season.

Marianne Stanley, the WNBA's New York Liberty assistant who coached Old Dominion, Southern Cal, and Penn, also missed the list by graduating Immaculata the season before the first-ever poll In November, 1976.

AP PLAYER-COACH HISTORY

(Played for and coached Ranked Teams)

NAME SCHOOL COACH SCHOOL PLAYED

1. Katie Abrahamson-Henderson SW Missouri (now Missouri St.) Georgia/Iowa
2. Cheryl Burnett SW Missouri Kansas
3. Pokey Chatman% LSU LSU
4. June Daugherty Boise St./Washington Ohio St.
5. Nell Fortner Purdue Texas
6. Wendy Larry% Old Dominion Old Dominion
7. JoAnne P. McCallie Michigan St. Northwestern
8. Muffet McGraw Notre Dame St. Joseph’s
9. Cheryl Miller% Southern Cal Southern Cal
10. Kim Mulkey-Robertson Baylor Louisiana Tech
11. Mary Murphy Wisconsin Northwestern
12. Kathy Olivier UCLA UNLV
13. Carolyn Peck Purdue/Florida Vanderbilt
14. Laurie Pirtle Cincinnati Ohio St.
15. Carol Ross% Florida, Mississippi Mississippi
16. Bev Smith% Oregon Oregon
17. Dawn Staley Temple Virginia
18. Jan Ternyik San Francisco Montclair St.
19. Charli Turner Thorne Arizona St. Stanford
20. Amy Tucker* Stanford Ohio St.

*-Filled in for Tara VanDerveer in 1995-96

%-Five played and coached at same ranked school.

And that's it until the next sunrise.

-- Mel

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