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, March 02, 2007

NCAA Dance Tickets Reduced By One

By Mel Greenberg

The dateline says what it says because we’re originating from here through Monday night at the Atlantic Ten women’s basketball tournament. But this edition will cover a bunch of topics.

Arkansas Job Opens

This just in, although it may be posting elsewhere before we zip this report into the blog but a release from Arkansas just came streaming a little while ago into our blackberry announcing Arkansas coach Susie Gardner has resigned.

The move comes not too many weeks the Razorbacks had earned themselves a ranking in the Associated Press poll and Gardner, who played at Georgia, became part of a small group of female women’s coaches who can claim both having played and coached AP-ranked teams.

That’s makes two jobs open in the powerful Southeastern Conference, including Florida where Carolyn Peck began Friday night with a chance to stay in charge of the Gators for one more game if Florida were to upset Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament.

Harvard Punches Its Dance Ticket

Harvard claimed the Ivy title with a win over Cornell Friday and thus an automatic bid to the NCAA women’s tournament. The Ivies are the only conference without a postseason tournament to determine the NCAA qualifier.

Several other dance tickets will be grabbed in conference title games on Saturday.

Atlantic Ten Adventures

So your Guru made it to Columbus up the road on Thursday where he was promptly issued a Jeep car, which called a for a little hands-on learning with hands while driving down I-71 to the Queen City.

Fortunately, our trusty GPS continued to do the job.

Incidentally, seeing George Washington coach Joe McKeown still limping around after surgery for the knee injury he obtained in practice in December brings two thoughts to mind.

After his mishap, the Colonials have gone on to their greatest won-loss record ever. It also reminded us of McKeown’s younger days around the NCAA tournament when we used to refer to him as McKeown and a cast of hundreds. Now, it’s just McKeown and a cast.

The conference may be identified as mid-major but the sports information directors are still one of the best socializing groups in the country as Thursday night’s annual pre-tournament confab demonstrated.

On Friday, we had our first look at Xavier’s Cintas Center, which is quite nice. McKeown calls it the best venue in the conference.

Three upsets, according to seeds, occurred in the opening round with eighth-seeded La Salle losing to ninth-seeded Dayton, 10th-seeded St. Bonaventure rallying from a 16-point, second-half deficit to beat No. 7 Massachusetts, and No. 11 Saint Louis upsetting No. 6 Richmond.

On Saturday, George Washington will meet Dayton, St. Joseph’s will play Charlotte, Temple will play St. Bonaventure, and Xavier will host Saint Louis.

Former Temple star Candice Dupree, the three-time tournament player of the year, is on the scene. ``Just relaxing,’’ she said when asked if she was scouting future prospects for the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, for which she is a player.

We also had a brief chat with Tasha Pointer, a Xavier assistant who helped lead Rutgers to the Women’s Final Four in 2000.

Anniversary Ahead

Someone noted to us that our own Womhoops Guru blog will be two-years-old in a few weeks. We’ll try to figure some celebration.

My Cookie for a Quote

During the early action here Friday, Temple coach Dawn Staley, seated near us to scout the opposition, was desirous of some media snack cookies we had on press row.
We asked what we’d get in return and were promised a quote after the Owls’ opponent would be determined.
That remark can be found in our phillynews.com/Inquirer print coverage of the tournament.

St. Joseph’s Cradle of Coaches

Former Hawks assistant Joe Logan, now in charge at Loyola of Maryland, was named the coach of the year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Long Island coach Stephanie Gaitley, who was an assistant and head coach on Hawk Hill, received similar honors in the Northeast Conference.

The National Scene

Times have changed when UCLA and Arizona are playing out-bracket games in the Pacific Ten. Other observations will be made and the blog updated late Friday night after all the tournament rounds are over.

In the meantime, we’re picking up St. Joseph’s press aide Jack Jumper to go to Montgomery’s for barbeque, a stopped we missed in 1997 when the Women’s Final Four was held here.

The Local Scene

Yes, Wags, we see that Holy Family will be playing Philadelphia U. for the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference title Saturday in Connecticut in DII ball.

-- Mel


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