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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Temple Stings Yellow Jackets

Guru’s Note: We were not on the scene for this one, having to be the inside desk guy in sports Monday night. But we did talk to coach Staley afterwards and are filing this enhanced report of the story that led the women’s roundup in The Inquirer’s print edition.

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA _
After Temple pulled back from the brink of a stunning season-opening loss at Drexel on Friday night, coach Dawn Staley was a little unsure what might occur next when the Owls were to host Georgia Tech in the home opener Monday night at the Liacouras Center.

The former WNBA star point guard was pleasantly surprised as her veterans helped key a program-best 65.2 shooting percentage (15-23) in the second half that carried Temple to a 76-62 victory.

The Owls also shot a nifty 22 of 28 attempted free throws to Staley’s delight.

“I’ve never been part of a Temple team that made that many foul shots,” said Staley, who is now in her seventh season at the North Broad St. campus near where she grew up.

“It’s a great win for the program. We really grew up tonight,” Staley gushed. “Kamesha did an excellent job hitting buckets when we needed them.

Senior Kamesha Hairston, who has ascended to the leadership role in the wake of the graduation of all-America Candice Dupree, had a game-high 23 points.

Senior Fatima Maddox added 18 points and junior Lady Comfort scored 16.

Freshman guard LaKeisha Eaddy added eight points and dealt five of the Owls’ 17 assists.

“The stats don’t show what her real value is,” said Staley, who is starting a freshman for the first time in her reign over Temple’s fortunes. “She’s bringing a different dimension, defensively, that we’ve never had. She has a gift and really has a promising future .She’s really grown.”

Considering that Staley is one of the all-time point guards in the history of the women’s game, that’s quite a compliment for the newcomer.

Speaking of compliments, Staley also noted, “Our players really commended the scouting report done by coach Boyer,” she said of assistant coach Lisa Boyer. “Our players are always complimentary to the staff for their help.”

Georgia Tech (3-1) was the first of four opponents Temple will face from the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference, including defending NCAA champion Maryland at home on Dec. 10.

Janie Mitchell scored 18 points for the Yellow Jackets, who led 31-28 at the half. Temple’s marksmanship produced a 48-31 advantage the rest of the way and the Owls are now 6-1 under Staley in home openers.

Local Battle of the Unbeatens

Penn (2-0) will host La Salle (3-0) in a Big Five matchup at Penn’s Palestra Tuesday night that begins at 5 p.m. The Guru’s weekly gender equity class will continue later at the same site as he covers the men’s game between Penn and Drexel, the team he has handled at lot for the home office.

La Salle is playing some of the best basketball the Explorers have shown in recent seasons with the inside attack of senior Crista Ricketts and junior Carlene Hightower leading the way.

Ricketts is the current Big Five player of the week and has also won a second straight Atlantic Ten Conference weekly honor.

Penn has been led by senior guard Joey Rhoads with the Quakers getting extra help from Lauren Pears, who missed most of last season with a knee injury.

As for the second game, Drexel is off to a 2-0 start after beating Vermont on the road last weekend. We’ll know more about Penn when we get the scouting report from recent Quaker grad Mr. Tannenwald [updated by the person in question -- Ed.] , who is now an office neighbor in nearby Philly.com.

On Wednesday, we’ll review the reunification of the long dormant Penn State-Rutgers war that used to be a highlight when both were in the Atlantic Ten.

-- Mel

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