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 25, 2010

WNBA: Mystics' Langhorne Shatters Sparks

(Guru's Note: The Guru attempted but could not get out of Philly fast enough to get to Washington for the Mystics game so he was not on the scene. He will attempt to get to Mohegan Friday night for the Conn-Phoenix game.)

By Mel Greenberg

Billed as a WNBA game in the nation's capital Thursday night, the Washington Mystics' cross-conference matchup with the Los Angeles Sparks drew key involvement from alums of its prominent NCAA neighbor up the road -- the University of Maryland.

Two members of the 2006 NCAA champion Terrapins were the leading scorers for their teams, most notably Washington's Crystal Langhorne, who drove the Mystics into a second-place three-way tie in the East via a 68-53 victory over the injury-riddled Los Angeles Sparks at the Verizon Center.

The native of Willingboro, N.J., a suburb of Philadelphia, scored a career high 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Mystics' 8-4 record became a match with the Connecticut Sun and Indiana Fever behind the front-running Atlanta Dream (10-4).

Point guard Kristi Tolliver, acquired in a trade earlier this season from the Chicago Sky, scored 11 points for Los Angeles, which sunk further at the bottom of the West at 3-9.

However, as one member of the Sparks noted of her team that recently lost All-Star Candace Parker for the season because of a separated shoulder, a two-game win-streak puts the Sparks right back in the hunt.

Maryland was making news back on campus at the same moment with multiple sources reporting that longtime athletic director Debbie Yow about to take the soon-to-be-vancat AD position at North Carolina State, where her late sister Kay Yow had a Hall of Fame coaching career.

Ironically, Washington recently honored former Terrapins coach Chris Weller last Saturday to mark her induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., earlier this month, as yet another Maryland local tie.

The Mystics also have Marissa Coleman, another former Terrapin star, on the roster, and previously had Olympian Vicky Bullet as a player and assistant coach.

When Bullet attended Weller's induction, one member of the entourage noted that Bullet, in her brief coaching stint, had said that Langhorne had a solid foundation and was certainly a hard worker.

The win was Washington's fourth straight giving the Mystics their place in the local sports scene that was highlighted Thursday night by the NBA building neighbor Wizards selecting Kentucky's John Wall as the overall No. 1 pick in the draft.

A few miles away, the baseball Washington Nationals have been in the headlines over rookie pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg.

Meanwhile, the news of Yow's impending move -- a press conference at N.C. State in Raleigh is expected Friday, has a sense of irony involving the opening caused by Lee Fowler's departure June 30.

Her sister Kay lost a longtime battle against breast cancer in January 2009.

Despite sentimental support for Kay's longtime assistant Stephanie Glance to be her full-time successor -- she had filled in as interim several times -- Fowler ignored Kay's wishes and went with Kellie Harper, a former Tennessee star who had been head coach at Western Carolina.

Harper guided the Wolfpack back to the NCAA tournament in her first season in Raleigh.

Although Debbie Yow has run a department that produced a slew of NCAA championships, including basketball titles for the men and women, she also had been a previous coach at three universities.

And to this date, despite her adminstrative success, Debbie Yow constantly prods the Guru to continue to note that she was the first to have three different teams make the AP womnen's poll via Florida (83-84), Kentucky and Oral Roberts (a one-week wonder in 1982-83).

Several others have followed with the trifecta, including Ohio State's Jim Foster, Texas A&M's Gary Blair, and Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer.

Believe it or not, there is a UConn tie in all this because Huskies athletic director Jeff Hathaway has already been speculated as a potential successor at Maryland where he held various adminstrative slots in the early 1990s with the Terrapins.

WNBA Weekend Fireworks

Ok, the Guru didn't let it slip by, time to look ahead to another wild weekend when the schedule is more plentiful.

Friday night ioaded as is Sunday, which features a five-spot.

The Guru will be busy checking elsewhere on the WNBA Apps on his iPad and Blackberry while being hopefully live at Mohegan where the Connecticut Sun and Phoenix Mercury have a one of the key confrontations.

The Sun could stay right in the mix for first with a weekend sweep that would include a potential Friday win and one Sunday in New York at Madison Square Garden against the Liberty.

Connecticut is coming off of Tuesday's upset loss to the Chicago Sky, the first at home. The Sun won at Phoenix last Sunday, escaping the defending WNBA champs after blowing a 21-point lead in the desert.

Phoenix (5-7), holding a slim half-game edge over the San Antonio Silver Stars (4-7) for second in the West, is trying to avoid falling even further behind the dominating Seattle Storm. Furthermore, the Mercury travel to Washington Sunday.

Seattle (11-2) hosts the defending Eastern champion Indiana Fever, which beat the Storm in the Midwest a week ago. Indiana is trying to stay right with Connecticut and Washington in that second-place logjam.

The Mystics could finish with a dynamite week if Washington can survive the back-to-back and get a win Friday in Chicago against the Sky (5-8), over which it rallied last week at home and prevailed in overtime. As mentioned, then its back home to ready for Sunday's game against Phoenix.

New York (4-7), which rallied and then fell to Minnesota at home Tuesday night, has a must-win game at the Tulsa Shock (3-9), which is tied for last in the West with Los Angeles.

When the Shock were the once-proud group in Detroit winning three WNBA titles, the franchise existed in the East and the games with the Liberty were among the top rivalries in the league.

But the Shock is but a shadow for now of its former life in Motown, which is why New York needs a win quickly, especially with Connecticut's visit looming Sunday.

The Sun have already won the first of the five-game season series back in Uncasville.

Only one game is on Saturday's slate with the Minnesota Lynx visiting San Antonio.

The Lynx struggled early in the season and were heading nowhere fast until Seimone Augustus' return from surgery fueled a two-game sweep a week ago against Tulsa and continued with the win in New York that got Minnesota right back in the West playoff hunt.

Unfortunately, Minnesota lost former Stanford star Candice Wiggins with another injury, this time a season-ending ruptured left Achilles tendon with eight seconds left in the win over New York.

So the San Antonio game is the first test of where the Lynx go from here, while likewise, the Silver Stars are looking to get on some kind of run as both teams seek to stay ahead of Tulsa and Los Angeles.

As for Sunday's games yet to be mentioned a bit further or added to the discussion, Los Angeles at Atlanta. A must-win for the Sparks in the wake of the loss at Washington, while the Dream will be seeking to maintain its first-place East slot off the quick start it got from opening day.

Chicago, with the Washington game Friday night, and a visit from Indiana Sunday will be trying to move closer to the playoff contenders in the East, though the odds are the Sky could be further when idle Monday rolls around.

The Fever will be trying to stay in the East crowd, especially if Seattle gets revenge Friday night for last week's loss.

The Storm finish off Sunday with a visit to Tulsa in a game in which Seattle tries to keep the pedal down on the conference rivals while the Shock seek to get closer to playoff contention, which is not impossible thanks to the mediocrity of the won-loss records in the West.

That's it for now.

Hopefully, back with a live game and a wrapup from the other sites Friday night that will probably be written on a late-nite Amtrak return trip.

-- Mel


Blogger ninest123 said...

ninest123 09.09
oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co, cheap ugg boots outlet, ugg outlet, prada outlet, cheap ugg boots, ugg australia, jordan shoes, replica watches, replica watches, christian louboutin shoes, nike air max, louis vuitton handbags, burberry outlet online, tiffany jewelry, nike free, christian louboutin, nike air max, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren, michael kors outlet online, red bottom shoes, cheap oakley sunglasses, nike outlet, prada handbags, burberry outlet online, ugg boots clearance, michael kors outlet store, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton, christian louboutin outlet, oakley vault, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet online, ray ban outlet, tory burch outlet online, michael kors handbags, louis vuitton outlet online, longchamp handbags, longchamp outlet, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet online sale, ray ban sunglasses

3:45 AM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

nike free pas cher, air max pas cher, guess pas cher, true religion jeans, kate spade outlet, coach outlet, hermes pas cher, kate spade outlet online, true religion, vans pas cher, coach purses, ray ban pas cher, michael kors, nike roshe run, tn pas cher, michael kors uk, lacoste pas cher, timberland pas cher, scarpe hogan, longchamp, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike air force, north face pas cher, air jordan, oakley pas cher, longchamp pas cher, north face, true religion outlet, sac vanessa bruno, new balance pas cher, coach outlet, coach outlet store online, burberry pas cher, converse pas cher, hollister uk, nike air max, ray ban uk, hollister, chanel handbags, nike blazer pas cher, lululemon outlet online, michael kors canada, louboutin, ralph lauren pas cher

3:47 AM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

chi flat iron, new balance outlet, soccer shoes, nike air max, instyler ionic styler, beats headphones, jimmy choo shoes, hollister clothing store, mac cosmetics, herve leger, nfl jerseys, abercrombie and fitch, nike free, abercrombie and fitch, asics shoes, ferragamo shoes, vans outlet, nike roshe, lululemon outlet, valentino shoes, soccer jerseys, reebok shoes, hollister, ralph lauren uk, insanity workout, p90x workout, mulberry uk, nike trainers, nike air huarache, celine handbags, birkin bag, longchamp, north face jackets, north face jackets, air max, wedding dresses, nike air max, babyliss, mcm handbags, nike roshe, mont blanc pens, bottega veneta, giuseppe zanotti, baseball bats, ghd

3:50 AM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

michael kors handbags, sac louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, swarovski uk, pandora jewelry, air max, marc jacobs handbags, links of london uk, abercrombie, ugg, vans, coach outlet, gucci, louis vuitton uk, converse, michael kors outlet online, louboutin, oakley, louis vuitton pas cher, uggs canada, juicy couture outlet, converse shoes, wedding dress, pandora charms, doke gabbana outlet, louis vuitton canada, toms outlet, hollister canada, pandora uk, replica watches, louis vuitton, supra shoes, thomas sabo uk, montre femme, swarovski jewelry, sac lancel, ugg, karen millen, ray ban, ugg boots, juicy couture, michael kors outlet, timberland boots, iphone case, ugg soldes, ralph lauren
ninest123 09.09

3:52 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home