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, April 03, 2006

Kate's Take On the Scene - Day 2

I'm on the print-ony trail tonight (Sunday late).
So here's Kate's view on the latest rounds through the semifinals. -- Mel


By Kate Burkholder

BOSTON _ Sitting here in the media room after the Final Four games, it’s time for another Boston update.

Sunday (actually, it's early Monday, very early Monday) and Saturday were both busy days.

Saturday things started off at the ESPN morning press conference, where the media members offered their thoughts on the Final Four and everything else going on.

Stacey Dales-Schuman, Kara Lawson, Trey Wingo, and Doris Burke were the analysts who spoke.

Then we rushed to the room next door to the WBCA/Kodak All-America presentations, where Cappie Pondexter was among the ten players honored. That was just before LSU’s Seimone Augustus took home her second straight State Farm Wade trophy. (We stayed put for that announcement). That made her only the second player ever to win the prestigious award twice — along with Nancy Lieberman.

After that we came here to the TD Banknorth Arena for the press conferences with the four teams.

Back at the hotel later was the Associated Press awards — Coach of the Year going to UNC’s Sylvia Hatchell and Player of the Year going to Seimone.

Then we went to watch the WBCA “Night of the Stars” where I got to see Rutgers’ recruit Epiphanny Prince live in action for the first time and talk to her after the high-school game.

That was followed by the seniors game, which Cappie played in, and I got to talk to Rutgers’ associate head coach Jolette Law and senior point guard Courtney Locke in the stands, as they were there to support Cappie in her last go-around in the scarlet jersey.

Then Saturday night was the coolest part of the trip so far, the WNBA party at the Mariott Hotel.

Rebecca Lobo and Sue Bird talked to everyone, and I ended up getting my picture taken with SDS (Mel was in that one) and Suzie McConnell Serio (the Minnesota Lynx head coach).

I also met what felt like every WNBA coach and/or owner and saw a few players I recognized walking around.

I definitely didn’t feel like I belonged but it was a great time.

The music was good, even though Mel didn’t know any of the songs (FYI: “Grillz” was a popular selection for those of you out there who get that).

After the party I got stuck in the hotel elevator for about five minutes, but that’s enough about that. :)

This morning we got somewhat lost driving to Boston College to watch USA Basketball practice, but once we got there we got to watch Candace Parker, Cappie, and Jessica Davenport play alongside Sheryl Swoopes, Sue Bird, and Katie Smith.

I wrote an article for the Targum and the Knight-Ridder wire about the generational gap in USA Basketball which fascinates me (the oldest and youngest players are 15 years apart).

Caroline Williams, the communications director for USA Basketball, is the nicest woman ever by the way. One of the many business cards I’ve accrued so far on this journey.

After that Mel offered, who else, but Pat Summitt and her friends a ride back to Boston, which of course meant me squeezing four-across in the backseat of Mel’s Pontiac rental car next to the winningest coach in college basketball. Good times.

Then we headed right over here for both of the Final Four games.

The Maryland-North Carolina game was very entertaining. They could both honestly be vying for a national title, if the bracket would permit.

The fast pace and athleticism is something that really just sets them both apart from other teams I’ve watched, but it was Maryland who picked up the win because of the great post play from Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper, combined with the absence of Ivory Latta’s usual fire.

The point guard went down with a knee injury in the first half and returned but was never herself after that. Neither were the Tar Heels.

In the second game, Duke got the win over LSU while Seimone was held to only 14 points after averaging a national-best 23 ppg for the season. They brought it close a couple times but for the most part it was all Blue Devils, setting up the UMD-Duke ACC showdown Tuesday night.

I guess it’s time for me to go now. I still haven’t met two of the girls I’m staying with over at the Sheraton so maybe it’s time I go and do that.

Monday is the press conferences and a dinner at night, although I’m sure something else random and weird will happen along the way, and I’m probably forgetting something else important anyway.

Goodnight from Boston, everybody.


-- Kate

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