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, November 06, 2006

Prince's Grand Debut Gives Rutgers Triple Digits

By Mel Greenberg

It didn’t take long for Rutgers freshman sensation Epiphanny Prince to make the RAC’s scoreboard light with 100 points.

Unlike the Brooklyn native’s 113-point solo job in a high school game last season, Prince had a little help this time from her teammates, so to speak, before her foul shot late in Saturday’s 108-54 exhibition victory over the Houston Jaguars produced a three-digit total on the scoreboard.

Prince finished 15 points, one of five Scarlet Knights to score in double figures. Essence Carson had 21 points, Kia Vaughn had 16 points, as did freshman Brittany Ray, and Rashidat Junaid had 14 points.

Besides the injured Matee Ajavon, the other Rutgers player who didn’t see action was sophomore forward Sammeika Thrash.

“She’s having personal issues,” Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer said of Thrash’s absence, but also acknowledged she’s still on the roster.

Stringer smiled and chided the media for its ability to “count heads” during the contest.

Sounds to us like Thrash has joined a long list of distinguished Rutgers stars of the past who at one time or another became enrolled in Stringer’s discipline class.

Saturday’s game, of course, was Rutgers’ first contest that launched the post-Cappie Pondexter era in the wake of the graduation of the Scarlet Knights all-American who had a sensational rookie season in the WNBA.

Overall, the game was a pleasant surprise in areas for Stringer, whose team will open Sunday against Georgia at the University of Oklahoma as part of the State Farm Tipoff.

“You never know how they’ll play until the lights go on,” Stringer said of her youthful roster. “But we have a lot more versatility. They played with a great deal of intensity and confidence. And they played hard. They were stingy on defense and represented the kind of things we traditionally do.

“I am pleasantly surprised. We only have one person who played significant minutes last year and that’s Essence. It was nice to see them pull together. It was an encouraging game for us.”

The Guru’s Helping Hand.

We noticed the folks at women’shoops were missing a name in terms of top wins by coaches in all the categories from college through high school.

Assuming there’s none higher on this list in this particular category or the answer is already being posted, the top win producer at the Juco level is Lin L. Laursen at Central Arizona, near Phoenix, whose record is 904-141.

Some nights it pays to be lucky to maintain the reputation.

While working on the desk Sunday night, our good friend Tom DiCamillo, the sports information director at nearby West Chester University, had phoned in the results of a few of his team in fall tournaments.

The Guru remembered he had applied for a job at Central Arizona. In fact, the Guru, who had given a recommendation to the school on his behalf, had earlier mentioned to the new GM with the Phoenix Mercury his (Tom’s) availability to help the PR office situation out there in the summer.

That was several weeks ago. So when Tom called, the Guru asked what the latest was.

“Oh, I got the job, I start in two weeks,” he replied, keeping the Guru’s recent reputation as a job market in tact.

Then he happened to add, “By the way, the women’s coach out there is sort of a legend. Her Juco record is 904-141.”

At that moment, the Guru remembered the inquiry he had seen earlier in the day about wins at the Juco level. As always, glad to be of service.

Terps at the Top?

The Associated Press preseason poll will run Wednesday afternoon and as has been the instance of similar rankings, defending NCAA champion Maryland is likely to be the choice at the top.

A year ago, everyone thought this was the season Maryland might challenge for the NCAA championship, although the Guru did make the Terrapins his official dark horse last season.

But the Maryland success raises an interesting question?

If Utah had prevailed in the regional final, which almost happened, if Ivory Latta doesn’t get hurt in the semifinal, if Kristi Toliver doesn’t make the three-pointer against Duke to force overtime, the Terps are an also-ran.

So then how would everybody be voting at the moment? From our viewpoint, no matter what would have occurred otherwise at the end of last season, Maryland would still be No. 1 on our ballot.

-- Mel


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