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 01, 2010

Statistical Notes Off AP Preseason Women's Poll

(Guru's note: There is another post above this one setting up WNBA news for the week).

By Mel Greenberg

The Associated Press preseason women's poll released Friday produced plenty of material for collegiate media relations individuals to fill their game notes in advance of the official season opening night of Nov. 12.

UConn Still 39

Comedian Jack Benny made famous the line of stopping his age count at 39.

That number seems to affixed to the powerful University of Connecticut women's basketball team, the two-time unbeaten defending NCAA champion that made its eighth appearance as the No. 1 team going into the season.

For the last two seasons the Huskies went 39-0 in capturing their sixth and seventh NCAA titles respectively in St. Louis and San Antonio.

Then graduated UConn senior Tina Charles, the consensus national player of the year in 2010, went 39-0 in being the media panel's unanimous pick as WNBA rookie of the year playing for the Connecticut Sun.

Though just missing another unanimous, as was the case all last season, UConn still came up with a 39 at 39-1 in terms of the number of first place votes that made the Huskies an overwhelming pick to extend their current NCAA tournament trophy streak to three.

That could change to either a perfect vote or a fall from the top very quickly because a 1-2 matchup will occur right past the starting gate when Connecticut hosts No. 2 Baylor on Nov. 16 in Hartford.

Before the AP vote is tallied that will consider the outcome of that game, Connecticut will have another hurdle of sorts the following Sunday in Atlanta when senior Maya Moore makes her Peach Tree State homecoming in a nonconference visit to Georgia Tech, which is 13th in the preseason poll.

Coale To Hit AP Poll Milestone Sooner

Oklahoma is unlikely to drop from 10th out of the rankings no matter what the Sooners do their first week so after the next vote is tallied Sherri Coale will tie Women's Hall of Famer and former Kansas coach Marian Washington at 25th for all-time poll coaching appearances at 176.

Coale is currently 14th among active coaches. The leader in both categories is Tennessee legend Pat Summitt, who in AP poll history week No. 595 has now made 581 appearances as her Lady Vols have been absent a mere 14 times.

Tennessee has appeared in 34 preseason polls, missing just the very first one in November, 1976, but quickly hit the rankings once play got under way in the back end of the nation's bicentennial year.

Georgia coach Andy Landers, the 2007 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame induction classmate of the Guru, is second in both categories at 451.

Retired Texas coach and Hall of Famer Jody Conradt is third overall at 395 but is soon likely to be surpassed by Stanford's Tara VanDerveer, who is fourth and third at 389, including her years at Ohio State before turning the Cardinal into a national power.

The preseason vote enabled VanDerveer to slip past Hall of Famer Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer, whose Scarlet Knights were unranked. Stringer, however, is the leader of a small group of individuals to have three different teams in the AP rankings with an overall listing of 388.

Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma, who didn't join the AP action with UConn until the 1990s, has made up lost ground with a placement of sixth and fifth at 349.

Former Penn State coach Rene Portland is seventh on the all time list at 336 coaching St. Joseph's in Philadelphia and the Nittany Lions.

However, she will soon be passed by Ohio State's Jim Foster, who is at 333 and No. 2 on the list of coaches swith three different teams including St. Joseph's and Vanderbilt.

Virginia's Debbie Ryan is right behind Foster at 328 for ninth all-time and seventh on the active list.

On the all-time list the late North Carolina State coach Kay Yow is 10th at 326, one ranking appearance ahead of Baylor assistant and former Louisiana head coach Leon Barmore, who shared 51 appearances with Sonja Hogg coaching the Techsters.

On the active list, North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell is eighth (294), followed by Texas and former Duke coach Gail Goestenkors (280).

Seattle coach Joan Bonvicini (267), who returned to active duty at Seattle, re-inserted into the active poll appearance at 10th off of her previous stints at Long Beach State and Arizona.

In terms of coaching hat tricks, to steal a term from hockey, third on the list of three-team wonders is Texas A&M's Gary Blair, who has made 228 appearances that also include Stephen F. Austin and Arkansas.

WNBA Washington Mystics assistant Marianne Stanley, a former Immaculata star who will be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 11, picks up a triple off the glory years at Old Dominion, her stint at Southern Cal, and the one-year babysitting job for Stanford (183 overall) when VanDerveer was off the clock coaching the U.S. Olympic team on its national tour leading up to the 1996 Gold Medal at the Atlanta Games.

The other trifecta with a significant number was turned in by WNBA Indiana Fever head coach Lin Dunn, who acieved her numbers with Miami (1), Mississippi (2) and Purdue (130) for an overall total of 133.

Also Noteworthy

St. John's appearance is its first in a preseason poll, starting action at No. 14. Coach Kim Barnes-Arico got the Red Storm back into the national rankings in 2006 but when the nickname was previously the Redmen, the New York school earned a 1979 ranking under former coach Don Perelli, who also coached at Northwestern, and again in the early 1980s under Joe Mullaney Jr. who has since been a longtime aide to Harry Perretta with his latest title of associate head coach at Villanova.

Iowa made its first appearance in a preseason vote since the start of 1997-98. Coach Lisa Bluder has also made some poll appearances previously at Drake.

Kentucky's preseason number of 9th is the Wildcats' highest AP listing since a No. 6 on Feb. 27, 1983 back in the days of the Val Still era.

UCLA's listing of 16th is the Bruins' highest overall ranking since a similar listing on Dec. 13th in 2004.

Though the cut-and-paste effort to copy into this blog is tricky, here is an update off the numbera a week ago showing AP preseason 10 or more total appearances overall and the entire list of rankings from the 1999-2000 preseason vote through Friday's release.

Associated Press Preseason Polls All-Time Total Appearances

(10 or More Appearances)

Team Total-35 Yrs Last Ranked


1. Tennessee 34 2009-10 -- *-11
2. Georgia 29 2009-10 -- 11
3. Texas 28 2009-10 -- 11
4. Louisiana Tech 27 2004-05
5. Maryland 23 2008-09 -- 11
5. (tie) Rutgers 23 2009-10
5. (tie) Stanford 23 2009-10 -- 11
8. (tie) Penn St. 22 2004-05
8. (tie) Vanderbilt 22 2009-10 -- 11
10. LSU 21 2009-10
10. (tie) Connecticut 21 2009-10 -- 11
12. (Tie) NC St. 20 2005-06
12. (tie) ODU 20 2008-09
14. Virginia 19 2009-10
15. North Caro. 18 2009-10 -- 11
16. Purdue 17 2008-09
16. (tie) Sou. Cal 17 2006-07
16. (tie) Duke 17 2009-10 -- 11
19. Auburn 16 2008-09
19. (tie) Miss. 16 2005-06
21. Ohio St. 15 2009-10 -- 11
21. (tie) Texas Tech 15 2005-06
23. Iowa 14 1997-98 -- 11
23. (tie)Long Beach St.14 1990-91
25. Kansas 13 2009-10
25. (tie) SFA 13 1997-98
27. Oklahoma 11 2009-10 -- 11
28. (tie) UCLA 10 2006-07 -- 11
28. (tie) Baylor 10 2009-10 -- 11

*-listed in the 2010-11 preseason poll.

Associated Press Preseason Polls Since 1999-2000
Total Apperances
Team Total-12 Yrs Last Ranked


1. Connecticut 12 2009-10 -- *-11
1. (tie) Duke 12 2009-10 -- 11
1. (tie) Tennessee 12 2009-10 -- 11
4. Georgia 11 2009-10 -- 11
4. (tie) North Caro. 11 2009-10 –- 11
4. (tie) Notre Dame 11 2009-10 –- 11
4. (tie) Oklahoma 11 2009-10 –- 11
4. (tie) Stanford 11 2009-10 –- 11
9. LSU 10 2009-10
10. Purdue 9 2008-09
10. (tie) Rutgers 9 2009-10
10. (tie) Texas 9 2009-10 -- 11
10. (tie) Vanderbilt 9 2009-10 -- 11
14. Baylor 8 2009-10 -- 11
14. (tie) Ohio St. 8 2009-10 -- 11
16. Maryland 7 2008-09 –- 11
16. (tie) Texas Tech 7 2005-06
18. Arizona St. 6 2009-10
18. (tie) Michigan St. 6 2002-03 –- 11
18. (tie) La. Tech 6 2004-05
18. (tie) Penn St. 6 2004-05
22. DePaul 5 2009-10
22. (tie) Iowa St. 5 2002-03 –- 11
24. Auburn 4 2008-09
24. (tie) California 4 2009-10
24. (tie) Florida St. 4 2009-10 –- 11
24. (tie) Minnesota 4 2005-06
24. (tie) N.C. State 4 2005-06
24. (tie) Old Dominion 4 2008-09
24. (tie) Texas A&M 4 2008-09 –- 11
24. (tie) Virginia 4 2009-10
24. (tie) UCSB 4 2003-04
33. Arizona 3 2004-05
33. (tie) Boston Col. 3 2004-05
33. (tie) George Wash. 3 2007-08
33. (tie) Kansas St. 3 2004-05
33. (tie) Louisville 3 2009-10
33. (tie) UCLA 3 2006-07 -- 11
33. (tie) Utah 3 2005-06
33. (tie) Xavier 3 2009-10 –- 11
41. (tie) Colorado 2 2003-04
41. (tie) Colorado St. 2 2002-03
41. (tie) Georgia Tech 2 2009-10 –- 11
41. (tie) Kansas 2 2009-10
41. (tie) Kentucky 2 2006-07 –- 11
41. (tie) Miss. St. 2 2002-03
41. (tie) Oregon 2 2000-01
41. (tie) Southern Cal 2 2006-07
41. (tie) TCU 2 2006-07 -- 11
41. (tie) West Va. 2 2007-08 –- 11
51. Arkansas 1 2002-03
51. (tie) BYU 1 2006-07
51. (tie) Cincinnati 1 2002-03
51. (tie) Florida 1 2001-02
51. (tie) Illinois 1 1999-00
51. (tie) Iowa 1 1997-98 –- 11
51. (tie) Michigan 1 2001-02
51. (tie) Middle Tenn. 1 2001-02
51. (tie) Nebraska 1 1999-00
51. (tie) New Mexico 1 2006-07
51. (tie) Pittsburgh 1 2007-08
51. (tie) St. John’s 1 ------- -- 11
51. (tie) Temple 1 2005-06
51. (tie) Virginia Tech 1 1999-00
51. (tie) Washington 1 2001-02
51. (tie) Wisconsin 1 2000-01

*-Ranked in 2010-11 preseason poll

-- Mel

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