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.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Delle Donne Update: Still Waiting

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA --
Delaware is still waiting to hear from doctors if sophomore star Elena Delle Donne will be given medical clearance to play with the Blue Hens (5-0) Wednesday night when they host defending Ivy champion Princeton (3-2) in a key non-conference game at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

The Tigers beat Delaware in Princeton early last season when Delle Donne began her collegiate career and finished earning both top rookie and top player honors in the Colonial Athletic Association.

No one was available to the Guru for comment Monday on Delle Donne's condition, though perhaps the local Wilmington News Journal might have learned something since she removed herself six minutes into Sunday's win here in town at La Salle.

Afterwards, Blue Hens veteran coach Tina Martin said Delle Donne had been extremely tired, had been taking medication and was expected to see doctors on Monday to determine the cause of her condition.

Delle Donne, the 2008 high school player of the year out of Ursuline Academy in nearby Wilmington, Del., didn't score and looked sluggish against the Explorers.

She entered the game with a 34.2 points scoring average and though her brief appearance caused her average to plunge to 27.4 she was still the nation's leading scorer in Division I off the weekly statistics report that was transmitted Monday by The Associated Press.

With no more to report on Delle Donne's health issue, at the moment, the Guru moves to the original intent of this posting, which is the appearance of local teams and individuals in the statistical rankings with a few national mentions tossed in.

Delle Donne in the individual scoring category is just ahead of another CAA star: James Madison senior Dawn Evans, who is listed at 26.6 The duo are ahead of Connecticut senior Maya Moore (26.0), likely the national player of the year a second time and most likely the No. 1 pick in the next WNBA draft by the Minnesota Lynx.

There are a million ways to continue this drill so the Guru will take the easiest, which is just going category-by-category off the notes he made gleaning the AP report.

In terms of fewest team turnovers per game, Marist, which beat Villanova out on the Main Line Sunday at the Pavilion, leads the category at 9.6, ahead of UConn, the nation's No. 1 team whose women's record win streak is now at 84. The Huskies are second with 11.7 turnovers. Villanova is eighth at 13.7; Temple is 16th at 14.5; Drexel, which is in a lot of categories after a 4-0 start against Big 5 schools, is 19th at 14.8; and La Salle is also in the group at 15.0

St. Joseph's, which visits defending Patriot League champion Lehigh Tuesday at noon in Bethlehem is 14th in defending three-point shots with opponents shooting a poor .222 percent against the Hawks from beyond the arc.

North Carolina leads the nation in team scoring with a 91.9 average, while Penn State, off to a hot start in offense, is 10th with an 85.1 average.

In terms of rebounding differential, Delaware is tied for fifth with St. John's, holding a 17.0 advantage against opponents off the glass.

When it comes to fewest fouls committed, Drexel is tied for seventh with Navy at 13 per game, St. Joseph's and Rutgers are further down the category.

Villanova leads the nation in foul shooting, making 56-0f-64 for an .875 average. Drexel, which beat the Wildcats Friday at home for the first time in two meetings, is 18th, shooting 33-for-42 for a .786 average on free throw attempts.

Connecticut, no big surprise, is first in scoring defense, holding opponents to a 44.3 average. But get this, Drexel is third with a 45.8 average showing Dragons coach Denise Dillon, a former Wildcats star in the 1990s, is getting results from her preaching to the squad.

Delaware is 12th in field goal percentage defense, showing the Blue Hens are not just about scoring. They've limited opponents to a 31.6 percentage, St. Joseph's is 22nd, limiting teams to 32.7 percent from the field, and Drexel is 28th at 33.0.

When it comes to team shooting from the field, Drexel is 16th at .475, St. Joseph's is 22nd at .468, and Penn State is 24th at .463. Rutgers is also further down ranked in the category.

Turnover-assists ratio in the team rankings has UConn first at 1.93, while Villanova is 11th at 1.17. The Wildcats, where has this been heard before, lead the nation in three-point shots made per game at 10.7. Penn State is fifth at 5.90 -- anyone wonder what Suzie McConnell Serio would have done back in the day? Temple is listed further down in the group.

Incidentally, though they lost the game in Pauley Pavilion Sunday against No. 13 UCLA in Westwood, Calif., the Owls are getting kudos for competing most of the way against the Bruins. Next up is a showdown Wednesday in McGonigle Hall against Rutgers, which probably hasn't been in the building since the old Atlantic 10 wars before the Liacouras Center was built.

Penn State is second in three-point accuracy at 48.5 from beyond the arc. Drexel is sixth at 43.9, while Temple is also listed further down.

When it comes to blocking shots as a team below Brittney Griner and Baylor (8.0), Rutgers at 6.0 is tied for 12th, and Delaware and St. Joseph's, yes the Hawks, are tied at 15th with a 5.8 average.

Moving back to individual efforts, Penn State's Alex Bentley is tied for 12th at 6.3 in assists.

Griner leads in blocks -- no surprise -- for Baylor at 5.6, but Rutgers' Monique Oliver and St. Joseph's Samira Van Grinsven from the Netherlands are tied for eighth at 3.3.

Villanova's Lindsay Kimmel, the transfer from Temple, is tied for seventh making 3.8 treys per game. Drexel senior Jasmina Rosseel from Belgium and Penn State freshman Maggie Lucas from Germantown Academy are also further down ranked in the category.

Rosseel is also second in the turnover-assist ranking at 7.0

"It's nice to Jas come along and grow during her career her. Villanova's Megan Pearson and Penn State's Bentley are also listed.

BCS Schools Dominate the AP Poll

That pseudo-BCS challenge that's been going on among six power conferences in women's basketball competition could also be called the AP Poll challenge. The six big timers, whose power stems from football configurations, own all but one slot in this week's Associated Press women's poll release Monday.

The exception is Xavier, which moved up to fourth and the Musketeers' highest ranking ever and competes in the Atlantic 10. The only A-10 schools which have done better are no longer in the A-10, which are Rutgers and Penn State.

The Nittany Lions had a No. 1 ranking in the back part of 1990-91 and finished No. 1 -- the real No. 1 team on the floor was the Dawn Staley-led Virginia Cavaliers -- but then was upset in the second round of the NCAA at home by unranked James Madison after holding a first-round bye. That actually opened the door for UConn to advance to its first Women's Final Four, which was in New Orleans.
Rutgers, with Sue Wicks, rose as high as No. 2 in the back end of 1986-87. The Scarlet Knights also got to No. 2 in the days of the AIAW when June Olkowski and the Coyle Twins -- Mary and Patty -- were doing their thing.

As for the BCS monopoly, The Big 12 has six schools -- Baylor (2), Texas A&M (7), Oklahoma (11), Texas (17th), Iowa State (19th), and Nebraska, which re-entered this week at 24th after bolting from an unranked slot to the top five last season.

The Big East five are UConn (1), West Virginia (10), Georgetown (12), Notre Dame(16), and St. John's (20).

The Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences each have four -- The ACC: Duke (5), North Carolina (14), Florida State (15), and Maryland (21); The SEC: Kentucky (9),Tennessee (10), Georgia (21) and Vanderbilt (23).

Three Big Ten schools are Ohio State (6), Iowa (18), and Michigan State (25), whlle the remaining are a Pac-10 duo of Stanford (3) and UCLA (13).

In two weeks on Dec. 13, likely heading into the Sunday that will see the UConn women tie the UCLA-men's record 88 win streak, Poll No. 600 will be released. Look for special trivia notes here once the rankings are determined.

TCU, The AP Poll and The Big East

There are almost three seasons, counting this one, before TCU, also known as Texas Christian University, becomes part of the Big East as announced Monday.

But if the Horned Frogs were already holding membership this week, the addition would not change the Big East position among conference rankings in terms of total appearances whose members have been listed in the weekly voting.

Remember, this particular configuration allows for teams that got their actual rankings when they had been in previous affiliations such as when the Big 12 for the most part was the old Southwest and Big Eight conferences.

The total would look like this:
1. Southeastern Conference 2898
2. Big 12 1998
3. Atlantic Coast 1991
4. Big Ten 1529
5. Big East 1262
plus TCU 28
1300
6. Pac-10 1223

By Comparison Some Others
Atlantic 10 256
Big West 287
Sun Belt 222
Conf. USA 146

Now in terms of rankings earned conference teams who were members at time of ranking:

1. Southeastern Conference 2616
2. Atlantic Coast 1661
3. Big 10 1338
4. Big 12 1183
5. Big East 1091
6. Pac-10 940

Some others

Atlantic 10 452
Sun Belt 434
Southwest 343
Big 8 284

That's it for now.

-- Mel




















-- Mel


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