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.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Week of the Dragon -- Drexel Women Set Marathon Mark

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA – “It’s been a great week to be a Dragon,” Drexel women’s basketball coach Denise Dillon exclaimed Thursday night after her team was on the winning end of an NCAA-Division I women’s record five overtime game in which the Dragons outlasted Colonial Athletic Association rival Northeasrn, 98-90, at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

The previous women’s record was four overtimes, which was accomplished 11 times.

Gabriela Marginean, a Drexel freshman who fouled out in the fourth period, set a home and program record in the Daskalakis Athletic Center with 47 points. The previous high was 38 points, also in the DAC, from Michelle Maslowski against Towson on Feb. 2, in 2001.

The Dragons’ win added another episode to Drexel athletics beginning in Omaha, Nebraska, Saturday night, when coach Bruiser Flint’s men’s team upset Creighton in an ESPN Bracket Buster triumph that might the squad back in the hunt for an NCAA at-large bid.

On Sunday, the Dragons’ men’s lacrosse team opened the season with an upset of top-ranked Virginia in Charlottesville, the first time any Drexel team had ever beaten a top-ranked team in any sport.

The same day, Dillon’s squad (8-19, 3-13 CAA) won for only the second time ever at UNC-Wilmington. Than Thursday night, her Drexel team gave up a 16-point lead that existed during the first half and became involved in the marathon with the Huskies (4-23, 3-13).

Drexel regained the high ground and held it from the opening tip of the fifth period when Delise Johnson won possession and got the ball to Narissa Suber, who scored.

“We told the kids just to keep working, keep working,” said Dillon, as graduate of Villanova.

Andrea Peterson, a transfer from St. John’s, added 16 points, and Suber had 15 for Drexel.

Shaleyse Smallwood had 37 points for Northeastern.

“It’s a shame somebody had to lose, they played so hard,” Dillon said of her team’s opponent.

Dillon praised her freshman.

“Gabi is one of the hardest workers on the team and that showed tonight,” the Drexel coach said. “To be able to play hard for 40 minutes is difficult for any athlete.

“But to sustain that level of intensity in a game like this really shows that she is a special player,” Dillon said. “And not just Gabi, but everyone on the floor in this game gave it their full effort. It was a great game to be a part of.”

Regulation ended in deadlock, 55-55, followed by a 62-62 tie after the first overtime. Then the two teams were glued together at 72-72 after each scored 10 points in the second overtime. The third extra period maintained the deadlock at 80-80. Then it was 85-85 before Drexel outscored Northeastern, 13-5 in the fifth and record-breaking session.

CAA Fireworks

No one’s any longer completely perfect in the CAA after third-place Delaware brightened its NCAA at-large outlook by beating No. 22 and previously unbeaten James Madison, 77-67, at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Thursday night.

Delaware will be hosting the CAA tournament in two weeks and is one of three teams with prospects for NCAA at-large bids along with JMU (24-3, 15-1 CAA) and Old Dominion, which has won all 15 CAA tournaments since joining the conference.

Blue Hens senior guard Tyresa Smith had a career-high 32
points and set a University of Delaware single season scoring record.

Delaware (23-4, 14-2) also got 22 points and nine rebounds from forward Chrissy Fisher, and the Blue Hens’ home win streak is now 14 straight. The Blue Hens had lost to the Dukes, 73-65, earlier this season in Harrisonburg, Va.

Meredith Alexander had 22 points and 13 rebounds for JMU.

It was the first time Delaware had beaten a ranked opponent at home in eight tries.

“Beating a nationally-ranked opponent is great and I’m very happy for our kids,” Delaware coach Tina Martin said. “Everything we wanted to do
gameplan-wise we did. We executed and we shared the ball. Tyresa is the
best guard to ever put on a Delaware uniform. Period. She is an
incredible athlete and more importantly a great kid. She does everything for this team.”

Atlantic Ten Action

Back in Philadelphia, La Salle put a hurt in Charlotte’s NCAA hopes with a 71-62 win over the 49ers at the Tom Gola Arena in an Atlantic Ten contest.

Junior Carlene Hightower scored a career-high 31 points for the Explorers, while senior Crista Ricketts scored 17 points for La Salle (18-10, 6-7 A-10) .

Charlotte fell to 17-11 overall and 18-5 in the league.

The news was greeted warmly in Washington, where St. Joseph’s will meet No. 9 George Washington tonight at the Smith Center, where your Guru will be on the scene.

“If we win our next two, we get fourth place and the bye,” St. Joseph’s coach Cindy Griffin said.

“Of course, the Colonials will be looking to stay unbeaten and go into Sunday’s final against Temple, which is expected to beat Duquesne in Pittsburgh tonight and also go unbeaten into the final game of the regular season.

Big Ten Notes

Illinois’ upset of No. 20 Michigan State could put the Illini into the NCAA picture depending what they do in the conference tournament.

Penn State fell (13-15, 6-9 Big Ten) fell at No. 5 Ohio State, 78-61, making it the first time in school history the Nittany Lions have gone winless on the road.

Worst, it seems PSU is also headed for back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in the program’s history, or at least the first time in the Rene Portland era when a significant numbers of games have been played, as opposed to the early days of the program.

--- Mel

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