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, September 07, 2007

Former WNBA Coach Van's the Man This Weekend

By Mel Greenberg

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.- We're up here in New England for a quick trip the next two days to cover former Houston Comets coach Van Chancellor's induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, along with other notables from the basketball world.

We'll have a print story in Saturday's editions.

Among the inductees of the class of 2007 are Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson and North Carolina coach Roy Williams, an acquaintance of Chancellor, who is the new Louisiana State women's coach.

But before moving full speed ahead wth a Tigers team expected to challenge for the NCAA title along with Tennessee, Rutgers, Maryland, and Connecticut, to name a few, Chancellor is being celebrated for his past accomplishments as a longtme coach of Mississippi, who went on to take Houston to the first four WNBA titles and then led the USA squad as its first male coach to the 2004 Olympic gold medal.

Chancellor made it on the third try after narrowly losses among women's nominees to the late LSU coach Sue Gunter in 2005 and a year ago to Connecticut's Geno Auriemma.

``Well it close then, but we're rolling now,'' Chancellor beamed before Thursday night's dinner involving the Gowdy Media Awards and the Bunn award.

``It's just amazing being among all these basketball greats,'' Chancellor said of a room full of past inductees along with the present class.

Speaking of greats, during the dinner, Hall of Famer Lynette Woodard, the scoring sensation from Kansas who also played for the Harlem Globetrotters was at our table.

We'll have some extra tidbits here later Friday night into Saturday morning from the press conference and Chancellor's speech, whom he says was written by asssistant Bob Starkey.

Chancellor's family is here and we'll see who all shows additionally on Friday.

During the dinner we told the tale of a visit to Houston several years when the Comets had a weekend game early in the evening.

The game finished rapidly to the point we began to savor in our minds a potential postgame meal at one of Houston's many fine restaurants.

But just as our thought paused, one of Chancellor's grandkids walked over and yelled, "Grandpa. Can we go to the Waffle House?"

And so we did.

Tenneessee-Connecticut Reunited At NCAA Parley

Bet that sub-headline is catching your attention.

So you all thought it was over when Tennessee coach Pat Summitt cancelled the longtime series in June with Connecticut and coach Geno Auriemma?

Not entirely.

We we heard the two coaches were recently participants at a women's issues meeting at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.

Quipped one observer here who was at the event: ``Yeah, well the NCAA had them on the same side of the room so they wouldn't have to look across the table at each other.''

Love Those Message Boards

We recently noticed Rutgers fans getting all worked up on their message sites over who's ranked in front of the NCAA runnerup Scarlet Knights in some early preseason magazine polls.

How does that happen?

Well, it's not necessarily who beat who last season, which by the way, one would think already illustrates the points as a lesson to the Rutgers crowd.

Some authors of preseason polls will look at schedules and predict the long-range success ratio.

Teams with harder schedules will be less likely to have better records than others with softer competition among a group of competitors.

In fact, we seem to remember the cleanup job the local authorities had in New Brunswick pulling red shirts out of the Raritan River shortly after a certain Blue Devils team slashed and burned the Rutgers Athletic Center.

Now, yeah, if you manage to evaluate the talent comparisons, that's another story, which is why we stood alone in all that postmortem at the time and forecasted that greatness could still be had by the end of the season once the schedule eased up a bit.

Judging by the recently-released schedule, it's another killer, but this time, it's no longer a young squad lacking defensive skills who will be doing the navigation work into the Big East portion of the season.

Erin to the Desert

Due to an ongoing family situation, the Guru is unable to stray too far from home, with traveling decisions being made at the last minute, such as the one that allowed us to take the short drive here.

But we're happy to announce that we're sending Erin to Phoenix next week to report on the finals through Game 3 and, if necessary, through Game 4. Because her work will be either at this site or the movable-type (women's induction) one, if we've made the transfer by then (see previous post), since she will not be on a deadline-intensive late East coast start that exists for print editions. She may, however, do an offday print piece next week depending on where the finals are at that stage.

We'll let you know in a few days how coverage of the USA team training in Philadelphia will be handled as we get closer.

CJ Back on the Bench at Temple

That would be former point guard Cynthia Jordan, one of Temple coach Dawn Staley's first recruits, who is joining the coaching staff as a graduate assistant.

The former star from the Tidwater area of Virginia was a member of the championship team this summer in the Philadelphia Department of Recreation's NCAA women's Summer League.

Considering the head coach, one of the most prolific point guards of all time who retired as a player after last summer, is getting a little older, it will be good for the Owls to have some fresh energy on the sidelines to challenge the squad at practice.

The aforemention remark is just a test to see if the Temple coach has time to read this blog while serving as an assistant at the moment with the USA Senior squad that began training in New York Thursday before coming to Philadelphia.

Life after Widener

From the things we don't have room in the print edition dept. at the moment: Is former Widener star Chelsea Luhta soon to become a Danish delight?

The forward from the Division III school in Chester, near Philadelphia, has been drafted to compete in Denmark form Vaerlose in the Dameligaen and her progress can be followed after Sept. 29 at the web site http://www.vbbk.dlk and the league can be followed at http://dameligaen.dk according to the Widener folks who sent us the news.

Luhta is also starring in the movie Our Lady of Victory about Immaculata's first national title. She plays a member of the neighborhood-rival West Chester squad. Former Penn star Diana Caramanico also plays a member of the Golden Rams.

-- Mel


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Blogger khaled ali said...

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