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, June 01, 2007

Road to Knoxville: The Guru's Tabulation

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA _ While others are busy covering the Guru over the next several weeks, it doesn't mean the Guru can't continue to offer pearls others would miss about his induction classmates at next week's enshrinement events at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.

There are also other notations to be made until members of the blogging team are actually on hand with the Guru to take over most of the coverage. Incidentally, in that regard, Jonathan is working on building a special coverage site at Philly.com to enable better multi-media applications from Tennessee , but links will be provided back and forth between here and there, if that comes about so you all don't miss anything.

Friday's (today's) major event will be the Guru getting his official haircut for the Friday night events June 8 and the ceremony, itself, on June 9.

But since there is a time limitation on the speeches, as previously noted, the Guru will continue to offer some insights that won't make the cut, otherwise. Work will begin this weekend on the speeches, themselves.

Meanwhile, here are some Associated Press women's basketball poll statistics about the rest of the class who made the baskets or coached the games that got them ranked.

For those of you who will be lurking here, the Guru will also be offering extra stats about himself that are not part of his bio, such as total number of sports editors at The Inquirer, who have had to endure his presence during his 37 years of employment.

First, the class covers the entire 536-week history of the poll, with the Guru contributing by being around the first two seasons to count the ballots in 1976-77 and 1977-78 before the rest of the group came on the scene at varying intervals the rest of the way.

Extracting the Guru from the equation, this group spans every season since those two, beginnng with Pam Kelly Flowers' arrival at Louisiana Tech in 1978-79.

Overall, they are responsible for 468 appearances, with Georgia coach Andy Landers doing all the heavy lifting, alone, to those numbers since the 1991-92 season.

The four players: Kelly Flowers, Tennessee's Bridget Gordon and Daedra Charles-Furlow, and Texas' Andrea Lloyd Curry are responsible for 221 rakings, while Landers took care of the other 247 rankings since Charles-Furlow's graduation in 1991.

In working this tabulation from our historical database, only one credit was given to a given week in which one or more inductees may have been on ranked team the same week. However, in some cases, the overlap kept streaks alive.

Kelly-Flowers and her Techsters teammates went 70-for-70 during her era, which lasted until 1981-82 when La. Tech won the first-ever NCAA title.

Andrea Lloyd Curry showed up as a freshman at Texas the next season and took care of the entire route with 67 straight rankings with the Longhorns through 1985-86 when as a senior she became part of the first-ever unbeaten NCAA champion.

Two of Lloyd Curry's seasons overlapped Bridget Gordon's freshman and sophomore years at Tennessee in 1984-85 and 1985-86.

In terms of the class, that became important because Gordon's first season saw Tennessee, believe it or not, miss nine ranking weeks in the middle. Remember, overall the Vols have missed only 14 weeks in the poll's entire 31-year history with coach Pat Summitt, as well as the school, having the most total appearances at 522.

Landers, incidentally, is second with 414 poll appearances at Georgia, which matches his number.

Daedra Charles-Furlow seems to have not played as a freshman -- something we will doublecheck later Friday since we no longer make weird-hour phone calls thanks to email. Undoubtedly, based on reports, the Guru expects to hear plenty about those calls in comments from those who are being interviewed about him.

Anyhow, to return from digression, Charles-Furlow did shoot 1.000 with 51 straight poll appearances with the Vols after Gordon's graduation, spanning 1988-89 until 190-91.

Then it was up to Landers to take this year's class the rest of the way, which he did rather well, although his first two of those seasons saw a lot of absenteeism from the weekly vote.

There were also some other bumps, but Georgia and Landers have been in every poll since the start of the 1998-99 season for a current streak total of 163.

Leon Barmore on Kelly Flowers

Retired Lousiana Tech coach Leon Barmore, who is in both the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., suggested to the Guru the other day that if he needed to purchase some minutes for his acceptance speech from one of the other inductees, his former star Pam Kelly Flowers may be a good person to approach.

"I know she won't say all that much," Barmore jested. "But what she will say will probably be memorable. She was a great player for us."

He also noted that he once coached Charles-Furlow on a USA Basketball sports festival team years ago.

"I gave her a nickname that stuck for a while," Barmore said. "She was from Detroit and I called her 'Night Train' after that pro football player from up there named Dick "Night Train" Lane."

-- Mel


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