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.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Finishing Touch

Boston-Philadelphia _ Hello all

Boston is now a memory and an exciting one at that in terms of the basketball.

It is also a horrific memory for the writing regulars who saw their worst nightmare come true after being conjured on the day the WNBA announced the it would follow the NCAA championship with its selections the next afternoon.

What we had was basically a new take on "the Boston Marathon" with the game going into overtime and ending right on top of East Coast deadlines.

My pal Voepel over the Kansas City Star, ESPN.Com, and whatever other venues she's connected with, never stopped and decided to write away into the sunrise and, unlike the rest of us, forego the media hospitality suite.

Then soon after the crack of sunrise, er make that, mild snowfall, it was off to the draft, with the NCAA wrap-up put on a quick hold.

Then it was back to the wrap-up, and over to the hotel to pack, and then a late-nite ride down the seaboard to get Kate back in plenty of time for class at Rutgers.

On the plus, the site for the draft was far more luxurious and workable than the usual cramped and sometimes (depending on the weather) chilly areas over at the WNBA Entertainment Headquarters.

But we can now say the rookie we brought along is no longer a rookie. Kate handled it well, the late-nite hangouts, the introductions to everyone who's anyone in women's basketball (completed with Ann Meyers appeared in the lobby Tuesday morning as we headed out to the draft), a file to her paper on Cappie, a file for here on the draft, and a game story to the Knight-Ridder Campus Wire.

That said, we have some projects for her in the future, and since she appears to have developed a following here, she has access to be a partner blogger (happy now that you'll find something new to read when I feel like taking a break :) ), and will join us on the WNBA trail this season (although all that is her option and we have to let the college types have a life -- unlike the rest of us :) ).

That said, here's Kate's game story that was carried on the KRT Campus Live Wire.
-- Mel

BC-BKW-FINAL-RECAP:PH _ sports, campus (760 words)

Terps turnaround shocks Blue Devils

By Kate Burkholder


_ After committing 12 turnovers in Maryland's semifinal win in the NCAA women's basketball tournament Sunday, Terrapin freshman point guard Kristi Toliver's inexperience stood out.

But with the national title on the line Tuesday night, Toliver was the most poised player on the floor as she drained a three-point attempt with six seconds left in regulation to send the Terps to overtime against Duke.

Toliver then hit both of her free throws with 34 seconds left in overtime to give Maryland a one-point lead. The Terrapins held on in overtime for the thrilling 78-75 win at the TD Banknorth Arena over a stunned Blue Devils team that led Maryland by 13 early in the second half.

The Terrapins went undefeated (6-0) in overtime this season as they picked up the dramatic come-from-behind win for the silver anniversary year of the NCAA women's championship.

"Everyone's game should come out in the tournament," forward and tournament MVP Laura Harper said, before proclaiming her happiness in Joakim Noah form. "The Maryland girls are hot right now _ we're hot right now!"

The overtime win was only the second in the 25 years of the championship. The other occurred when Tennessee beat Virginia, 70-67, in 1991.

For a second-seeded and third-ranked Maryland team (34-4) that came to Boston just wanting a little respect, the Terrapins turned heads all over the place in picking up their first national championship in school history.

The outcome also kept Duke (31-4) winless in four appearances in the Women's Final Four, including the 1999 championship.

The one-seeded Blue Devils had plenty of chances to put the game away late, but it was right as Maryland came on at the end that Duke began to slip.

Maryland tied the game at 58 with 5:22 to go in the second half.

Monique Currie, however, picked up a couple big points for the Blue Devils late to push Duke back up by four.

A Toliver jumper-cut that put Maryland ahead by one with 57 seconds to play, but when Maryland fouled Duke sharpshooter Jessica Foley, the guard hit both free throws and gave Duke the three-point advantage, setting the stage for Toliver's clutch three-pointer to send it to overtime.

"I've seen it too many times," Duke head coach Gail Goestenkors said. "Every time their (Maryland) games go to overtime, they win every game. I've seen many instances where the pressure is on where they come through."

In the extra period, neither team scored for the first two minutes before Currie stepped up to hit a jumper that gave Duke the lead again.

With Duke up one with 47 seconds on the clock in overtime, Toliver nailed both of her free throws to put Maryland up one.

Coleman also hit two free throws to put the Terps up three with 13 seconds left, while Maryland attached itself to Duke's best shooters Waner and Foley.

Under heavy pressure, Foley's desperation three-point attempt fell short as time expired and the Terrapins became national champions.

"I'll tell you, no team deserved to win this game," Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. "Duke played a heck of a game and it was a game that I always had dreamed it would be. It was super. We've got kids that believe in each other that got it done together. It was just a great win as a team."

Duke had led by as many as 13 in the first as Maryland's biggest weapons struggled early, and the Terrapins trailed by 10 at the end of the first half.

Terps forward Crystal Langhorne was held to only four first-half points after scoring 23 in the win over North Carolina. She ended with 12.

A combined nine players reached double figures last night between the top two teams in the nation in scoring (Duke 87 ppg, Maryland 84).

For Maryland, Toliver, Laura Harper and Shay Doron each scored 16 to lead the way. Coleman's 14 blocks was good for a game-high as Toliver and Langhorne combined for eight assists.

The Blue Devils were led by center Alison Bales' 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Last night was the 62nd meeting between the two teams and the fourth this year.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kate Burkholder, associate sports editor for the Rutgers University Daily Targum, is covering the NCAA Women's Tournament with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

© 2006, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Visit Philadelphia Online, the Inquirer's World Wide Web site, at http://www.philly.com/

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.


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