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.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Drexel Fame Night and Other Guru Commentary

By Mel Greenberg

Following the afternoon Drexel men’s victory over Towson in a Colonial Athletic Association game at the Daskalakis Athletic Center, we attended the annual Drexel Athletics Hall of Fame dinner Saturday night.

The women’s basketball inductee was Leslie Reiner, who played for the Dragons from 1992-95 when she was a two-time captain.

She played for former coach Lillian Haas and assistant Jim Stinger her freshman year and then under Kristen Foley, who is now an associate athletic director at Temple.

Reiner, who is married and lives in Yardley in Bucks County with one son and another child set to arrive in July, averaged 13.2 points per game in her career and finished with 1,361 career points.

She was a first team all North Atlantic Conference (now America East) performer as a junior, and made the second team as a senior.

Reiner led Drexel in scoring twice and assists three times. She set the Dragons record for foul shots made in a game with 16. Her 444 foul shots made are second in the program’s history, and is also among the leaders in assists (375) and steals (227).

The other inductees, incidentally, were Tom Carpus for Golf, John Daskalakis for men’s lacrosse and for whom Drexel’s arena is named, Kris Doiron for basball, Eileen Farrell for swimming, Todd Lehmann for men’s basketball, Beth Mastrocola for women’s lacrosse, Veronica Roe for diving, and Bohdan Siryj for soccer.

Siryj had the best line of the night.

“I know I was a pretty good soccer player,” he said. “It took them 50 years to find that out.”

The 1963 men’s soccer team, the first in the program to go to the NCAA tournament, was also honored.

In her acceptance, among some of her remarks, Reiner thanked the selection committee.

“I am shocked to be here, but completely grateful to be considered for such an amazing honor,” Reiner said.

“Not many people know this, but if it I wasn’t for my mother, I probably wouldn’t have even had the opportunity to attend Drexel,” she continued.

“When I was looking to go to college, I was looking at two factors – I wanted to major in fashion design, and the other I was hoping for a basketball scholarship,” Reiner said.

“What my mother did without me knowing, is she did some basketball research, and put together a tape of highlights of my games and sent it to schools that could offer both.

“… This leads me to thank coach Haas and coach Stinger for viewing that tape and driving to see my (high school) game. I know when driving there, you probably wondered, `Where in the heck are we?

“So I think you for finding me and giving me the opportunity to play for Drexel and it was a pleasure to play for you both.”

“Drexel has opened so many opportunities for me.”

MEAC Monsters

Senior Rashida Suber, a graduate of Reading High in Pennsylvania, reached her 1,000th career point for Coppin State, Saturday, in a 58-53 victory over Delaware State in Dover that set a record for men or women for consecutive wins in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The Eagles have now won 33 straight, breaking the Coppin State’s men’s regular season win-streak MEAC record, which was 32 in undefeated runs in 1992-93 and 1993-94.

Counting two previous MEAC postseason tournament titles, Coppin State has won 40 straight games against conference foes and are now 15-6 overall and 10-0 in the confrerence.

Out of conference, the Eagles have narrow losses of 10 points to Atlantic Ten leader and No. 11 George Washington and four to A-10 contender Xavier. Other nonconference setbacks were by six points to CAA-leader James Madison, six to Miami of the ACC, five to Seton Hall and one to West Virginia.

Another conference crown would make Coppin State the first MEAC team to take the title three seasons in a row.

Rutgers-Connecticut Part I – Where Have We Seen This Before?

Back in December, many would have been thinking the first Big East showdown of the season between the Scarlet Knights and host Huskies in Storrs would be a one-sided affair.

Rutgers was struggling with youth and injuries, while Connecticut was zipping along.

Here are once again in a dynamic we have seen in the past heading into the major Big East rivalry.

Rutgers (14-6 overall, 7-2 Big East) has emerged from an 85-43 trouncing off lowly Cincinnati (12-10, 3-7), while No. 6 Connecticut (20-2, 10-0) barely held off No. 16 Marquette (19-4, 7-3) by a score of 52-48 in Milwaukee.

In the past, the two seasons have heading into a matchup with similar recent results, only to have Connecticut dominate the outcome.

A year ago, Rutgers, led by former all-American Cappie Pondexter, swept the season series with a rare win in Storrs. The two never got to meet a third time, however, because the Scarlet Knights imploded against West Virginia in the Big East tournament that set off a series of domino-like moves that resulted in the controversial NCAA regional tournament group in Cleveland that included Tennessee and North Carolina along with Rutgers, all in the top ten of the final Associated Press poll.

So for the first time since those early, shoot-the-rapids adventures against some of the best nonconference opponents in the country, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer will learn for sure just where her team is in the scheme of things.

The Scarlet Knights would be playing for a first-place tie had they not coughed up a recent lead at Louisville, the only major downer for Rutgers since 2007 arrived.

Wildcat Woes

Villanova's 54-51 loss at Georgetown Saturday in a Big East contest was the Wildcats' seventh straight, a run that's the worst since an eight-game setback in the 1989-90 season with the Wildcats finished 9-18.

In danger of not qualifying for the Big East tournament, Villanova is currently 7-15 and 1-8 in the conference, the most seasonal losses to date since a 15-15 record in 1999-2000.

The last losing season was 13-14 in 1993-94. Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Connecticut remain a part of the schedule.

Coming Up

We'll be at the TempleDayton women's game here Sunday afternoon before doing our turn on the desk Sunday night while the rest of the staff handles Super Bowl coverage.

At this hour, miles away across the sea, the sun will soon rise in Italy, meaning the third in Molto Monday installments from Acacia in Bologna may arrive.

If anything crosses our mind during a stop at the late-nite diner, we'll use our technological tricks to file from tableside. Otherwise, we'll be back later.

-- Mel