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, July 31, 2010

WNBA: Dream's Rise Becomes Sun's Demise

By Mel Greenberg

UNCASVILLE, Conn. --
On Friday night while the Mohegan Sun casino-entertainment complex was offering patrons free tee shirts to add to their apparel, the Atlanta Dream were in the nearby arena busy making quick work skinning the Connecticut Sun 94-62 in a key WNBA game.

A 25-0 run by the Dream (17-9) across the end of the second and top of the third quarters was enough for Connecticut to suffer its worse loss since being transformed from the former Orlando Miracle.

The result coupled with the Washington Mystics' surprising 77-73 win at Indiana against the Fever and the New York Liberty's fourth-quarter sprint to an 88-79 win over the Los Angeles Sparks in Madison Square Garden created anticipation of the WNBA's next activity on Sunday.

Atlanta moved into a virtual tie for first place with Indiana .667-.654 and the two will meet down in Georgia. Connecticut (13-11) fell and New York (13-11) rose into a fourth place tie that would give the Liberty a playoff berth today because of a 2-1 series advantage at the moment.

That brief moment will be erased by Sunday's outcome since Connecticut, which has lost two of three to New York, will visit the Liberty.

Meanwhile, Seattle (22-2), which has already clinched the West regular season crown, avenged the second of its two losses Friday night when the Chicago Sky (12-14) visited the Northwest and fell 80-60.

Parents who left their kids here at the arena to see the Sun play while they went off to gamble, watch an entertainment act, or just shop, were probably not expecting to see their offspring again so quickly in the casino's main thoroughfare.

This one was over so fast that it took longer for the Guru to get an online rental movie downloaded during the game for viewing back in the hotel on his iPad to test how well the device played when hooked up to a HD television set.

It is a rare moment in this state to have two of the marquee programs -- the present two-time and twice unbeaten NCAA champion UConn Huskies and the Sun -- on the wrong side of a lopsided loss.

"Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield," Connecticut coach Mike Thisbault said of his Sun players' reversal to bad habits after having a big win Tuesday night here against Washington. "We were the bug today. (Atlanta) were good and we were equally as bad."

Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors was surprised with the ease of the Dream win, though pleased with its defense after anticipating a down-to-the-wire performance by both teams.

"I think it was just one of those nights," Meadors said. "You don't beat a team like Connecticut like that. It never happens. It never happens in Connecticut.

"We came in thinking it was going to be a battle and it would come down to whoever had the ball at the end of the game to win it."

Instead, the Dream just had a ball.

Though second-year pro Angel McCoughtry has been regularly launching missiles against the Sun -- she had 20 points Friday night -- the reigning rookie of the year out of Louisville got satisfication in gaining a win in this state after suffering narrow losses back in college where Louisville competes in the Big East Conference against UConn.

"Thank you for pointing that out," McCoughtry said. "I hsve had a lot of frustration in the state of Connecticut."

Asjha Jones had 16 points for the Sun, who need to beat New York Sunday and vice versa to be eligible for the last playoff berth in the rugged Eastern Conference.

Washington (14-10), which got a career-high 33 points from former Duke star Lindsay Harding against Indiana, hosts the Western cellar-dwelling Tulsa Shock (4-21) Sunday afternoon.

Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas each scored 16 points for the Fever (16-8) against the Myatics.

Washington is two games behind the leaders and one ahead of Connecticut and New York. The Mystics were coming into the game after a tough home loss Thursday night to San Antonio.

Seattle (33-3), which won its 13th straight, got 16 points from former UConn star Swin Cash, a WNBA All-Star.

Chicago (12-14) got 13 points from Sylvia Fowles as the Sky appear heading for playoffs banishment. The Sky also head Sunday to Western-runnerup and defending WNBA champion Phoenix (11-13), which didn't play Saturday.

Becky Hammon scored 22 points for San Antonio (10-15), which had beaten Washington 24 hours earlier on the road before the 101-85 win over Tulsa.

Ivory Latta scored 19 for the Shock, which will visit Washington Sunday afternoon.

Former Rutgers star Cappie Pondexter scored 20 points for the Liberty as the Sparks (8-17) fell to a virtual fourth-place tie with Minnesota as Los Angeles' Tina Thomspon scored 18 points.

That won't last long because the Lynx will host Seattle Sunday.

The Storm will be seeking to tie the 1998 former Houston Comets' start of 23-2.

Minnesota needs a win to stay in playoff contention though, obviously, won't be eliminated with a loss.

That should be everything. The Guru will be back Sunday from New York to round up the Liberty-Sun game along with the rest of the league.

-- Mel

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