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, January 09, 2007

Guru's Tuesday Muses and AP Voting Link

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA _ Once again, for those of you who are too tired to reel back, here is the Associated Press voting link offering how board members cast their ballots in week No. 10.

We had another newcomer hit the list this week and rather high, also, in terms of crashing in from the outside with Middle Tennessee arriving at No. 21.

A new team means the Guru most make some historical check points. Coach Rick Insell never played for an AP-ranked women’s team for obvious reasons.

However, Middle Tennessee is the first team from the Sun Belt Conference to get ranked while still in the conference since Florida International made a two-week appearance at Nos. 25 and 23 in the final two weeks of the 2001-02 season.

Prior to that, former member Louisiana Tech was still in the Sun Belt when it last hit the rankings with that affiliation in the final vote of the 2001 season.

Western Kentucky has been ranked in the past as a Sun Belt member, as was Old Dominion.

Meanwhile, another weekly major showdown looms on Saturday when Maryland visits Duke – the first super test for the Terrapins since they upset the Blue Devils in overtime for the NCAA title in Boston last April.

Two nights later next Monday in the Research Triangle – (Ah, bet you thought I was going to say "on Tobacco Road" and show my age but smoking is not allowed) -- anyhow Connecticut travels to North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

We may be on the scene in Durham on Saturday depending what our hot gender-equity men’s team at Drexel does against CAA pre-season favorite Hofstra at home Thursday night. The Hofstra women will also be here playing the Dragons a few hours earlier.

If Drexel wins, I may be asked to make a nostalgic trip to Old Dominion on Saturday.

You Got Males and Text Messages Too

I’m sure at this hour, other sites are busy notifying you all, unless this is your first stop today, that Division III at the NCAA convention tabled for now the male practice player issue. Also put on the shelf for an other year was another proposed ban or limitation -- this one on text messaging for recruiting.

Charlotte Implosion Accomplished

We’ll be at the local Temple-St. Joseph’s opener Tuesday night at Temple in the Atlantic Ten – the rematch later this month will be the Big Five game – so we’ll ask former Owl star Candice Dupree what she thinks of getting some post help after former Duke star Monique Currie was taken first by the Chicago Sky in the dispersal draft of the Charlotte Sting roster.

Two Penn State alumnae were involved with guard Helen Darling going to the San Antonio Silver Stars and her former Cleveland Rockers coach Dan Hughes, while Nittany Lions scoring ace Kelly Mazzante was picked by the Phoenix Mercury.

Mazzante’s acquisition gives Phoenix some options in that they can see if she can fit into coach Paul Westhead’s explosive offense or perhaps be packaged with the regular No. 1 draft pick if Phoenix can get a prized post player who will contribute immediately to the Mercury defense.

Speaking of posts, Minnesota decided to take Tangela Smith and bypass local favorite Janel McCarville, who, if improved as has been reported, could help the New York Liberty who took her third Monday after the Linx grabbed Smith.

That’s the only observations we have in that area for the moment.

Quirk of History – What Goes Around …

Speaking of Penn State, coach Rene Portland will make her second straight attempt to join the 600 victory club when Ohio State visits Happy Valley Thursday night.

The Buckeyes, of course, are coach by Jim Foster, who succeeded Portland at St. Joseph’s three decades ago when she left the Hawks for a stint at Colorado prior to her move to Penn State.

“Don’t worry,” Portland told worried St. Joseph’s officials on her way to her interview in Boulder. “I’m going to ask for the sky.”

She returned several days later to announce her resignation on Hawk Hill.

What happened?

“I asked for the sky and they gave it to me,” Portland said at the time.

Foster was then hired to replace her and asked a friend from the high school ranks to join him on the bench that first season.

So, if you follow the bouncing ball of cause and effect – Portland asked for the sky at Colorado and it started a chain of events that ultimately resulted in Geno Auriemma giving Connecticut the world.

And that leaves us with a transitional comment that Erin will attempt to offer some thoughts in this space later Tuesday off last Saturday’s Connecticut-Tennessee game.

By now Acacia should have arrived in Italy and may check in the next several days.

And in a few seconds Jonathan, on his way to Philly.com, will hear this blog update on his program and again wonder what I am doing up at this hour.

I won't be for long, but Fordham at La Salle looms at 11:45 a.m.

-- Mel


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