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.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Silver Stars' Battle Cry: Forget the Alamo

(Guru’s Note: It’s not true that we said we won’t come off the induction break until the Connecticut Sun wins two in a row in the WNBA. However, because of the continuing interest in the blog covering the recent Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductions in Knoxville, that included the Guru, and the fact there are still more related events such as the Inquirer-hosted party on Friday night, July 27th, at a site to be announced in Philadelphia, here is the link to all that to keep it at the top of this blog: click here.

Continuing news with additional pictures and related media from all that will be posted over there. Incidentally, you'll have to click on a continuing link on several posts to see all the pictures and click on either cagtegories for the wbhof or archives to see everything from the moment Erin, Acacia, and yours truly landed in Knoxville on June 6.

If you’re coming over here from that site, welcome. Incidentally, most, if not all, of the same blogging team from Knoxville will be at the WNBA All-Star weekend in Washington.)

We now return you to regular coverage at this site.

By Mel Greenberg

Since the Utah Starzz, an original WNBA franchise in 1997, became the San Antonio Silver Stars, the contingent has spent more time under siege in its league wars than a group of forlorn Texans once spent in the 19th Century at a nearby mission against the Mexican army.

That may be coming to an end based on the Silver Stars’ current performance, which, by the way, is being handled with their general, coach Dan Hughes, sidelined recovering from Achilles surgery.

San Antonio is now 8-4, following Saturday night’s 71-58 victory against the suddenly forlorn Connecticut Sun in a cross-divisional game at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Silver Stars followed up on a back-to-back that began on Friday night when San Antonio rallied late in the game to beat the New York Liberty, 70-63, in Madison Square Garden.

That marked the first home-coming of sorts for former Liberty star Becky Hammon, who was traded to San Antonio on draft day for former Ohio State star Jessica Davenport, the second overall pick in April.

The win Saturday night was the fourth straight for the Silver Stars, who are just four wins short of matching their all-time win record in Texas, which was in 2003 when they went 12-22 after moving from Salt Lake City, Utah.

The streak is also an all-time mark in the Lone Star State.

``We are playing well and the majority has to do with how these players are playing together,” said assistant coach Brian Agler, who took over for Hughes at the start of the streak.

Agler has a past history of success in this state when he was in charge of the two-time champion Columbus Quest against the New England Blizzard in the former American Basketball League.

In Saturday night’s game, Hammon had a game-high 20 points, while second-year pro Sophia Young out of Baylor scored 17, and Vickie Johnson, a former Liberty star who signed with San Antonio as a free agent last season, scored 10 points.

Connecticut, which is now 5-8 and is just 1-5 at home, got 15 points each from Lindsay Whalen and Katie Douglas. Le’Coe Willingham scored 10 points.

The Sun had rallied for a key road win Friday night against the Indiana Fever to plug a five-game losing streak, but atrocious 31.1 percent shooting put Connecticut back on the negative side of the won-loss result again Saturday night.

``We are shooting the ball awful,’’ Sun coach Mike Thibault stated the obvious.

Sun all-star Nykesha Sales was also sidelined with nagging Achilles soreness and having had rolled her left ankle in the win over Indiana.

Connecticut had a chance to gain the momentum near the end of the third quarter when the Sun pulled to within a point of the Silver Stars at 50-49 with 2 minutes, 41 seconds left in the period.

But Connecticut was unable to convert the next several possessions and San Antonio found a groove to pull away into a double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter.

“When we started using the mid pick and roll into some hand-offs, it went from a two-point game to a 12-point game in a hurry,” Agler said.

San Antonio owes its advancement to several deals, including the acquisition of former Penn State star Helen Darling in the dispersal draft of the former Carolina Sting roster, the trade for Hammon, the restrictedfree-agent signing of Erin Buesher, who had been with the Sacramento Monarchs, as well as acquiring former Notre Dame star center Ruth Riley from the WNBA champion Detroit Shock in exchange for center Katie Feenstra.

Former North Carolina star post player Camille Little was acquired with the second round pick in the April draft.

``We are just trying to focus on being us and when we play the style we feel we shoud, we are a tough team to beat,” Hammon said.

``We have a lot of weapons out there and people that do a lot of different things, so it’s nice to be versatile at all positions. I thought defensively we have been on point and tonight we executed on defense for the most part for 40 minutes.’’

Sam Bowie, William Travis, and Davy Crockett should have been so lucky at the Alamo.

-- Mel


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