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, January 28, 2011

Drexel Dumb Plays Lead To Loss to JMU On Academic Night

By Mel Greenberg
PHILADELPHIA –
On a night that Drexel honored over 200 scholar-athletes at halftime Thursday for academic success, Dragons women’s basketball coach Denise Dillon bemoaned some not so smart play by her squad, which fell 66-60 to James Madison, the defending Colonial Athletic Association champs who completed a sweep in the two-game series.

“I was disappointed with the way we played,” the former Villanova star said afterwards in the Daskalakis Athletic Center “I don’t think we came out with the intensity and sense of urgency you need against a team like James Madison.

“Just unsure of what we were doing. As well as we played Sunday, we played flat and you can’t do that against anyone,” Dillon continued. “We should have learned that lesson last week against William & Mary and George Mason.

“We have some young mentalities we should change over the last part of the season.”

Taylor Wootton had a career-high 18 points and also fouled out late in the game for Drexel (12-7, 4-4 CAA), while Kamile Nacickaite scored 16 points.

Jasmina Rosseel, who was sensational Sunday against Hofstra with 26 points in the second half, could only manage five off a 2-for-12 effort from the field.

Lauren Jimenez scored 19 points for the Dukes (14-6, 7-1), who maintained their pace with CAA tri-leaders Old Dominion and N.C.-Wilmington, which all won their games Thursday night.

Dawn Evans, the nation’s leading scorer with a 24.3 ppg mark through Monday’s NCAA statistical release, scored 18 points on a 6-for-16 effort from the field.

Officials from the NephCure Foundation headquartered in Philadelphia attended the game to cheer for Evans, who suffers from the kidney disease and is an ambassador for the group to combat the illness.

Former NBA star Alonzo Mourning also suffered from the disease.

The win moved JMU and the other two CAA leaders closer to a first-round bye for the CAA tournament that will be held in March in Upper Marlboro, Md., at the same neutral site the Atlantic Ten competed a year ago.

“We knew we had to come out and play well, that’s what we talked about all day long,” JMU coach Kenny Brooks said. “This senior group – this is the only building they hadn’t won in so we used that to challenge them and they did a great job responding and I’m very, very proud of them.

“We got picked No. 1 (to win the CAA) because they had to pick someone No. 1 but I think it’s wide open, which I said back on media day. But I also think we got a great shot but there’s a lot of good basketball teams out there.”

Drexel is still tied with Delaware (11-8, 4-4) which at home coughed up a rare loss to George Masaon, 51-49, in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

But the two are now three games behind the tri-leaders and one behind Virginia Commonwealth, who Drexel will visit in Richmond Sunday.

Blue Hens sophomore sensation Elena Delle Donne was sidelined for the 12th time this season, but with her ailment now diagnosed as Lyme Disease, the scoring star is responding to treatment and is expected to see some action Sunday at Hofstra.

Delle Donne has 956 points in 36 games and has plenty of room to beat out Evans’ mark of 55 games as the CAA women’s player to be the fastest to score 1,000 points.

Evans, with 2,362 career points is nearing the CAA career record of 2,581 points set by Drexel’s Gabriela Marginean before she graduated after last season.

Trogele Triggers Penn State Win And Tie

Another Philly-area star has made good for Penn State (17-5, 6-2 Big Ten) in the Nittany Lions’ conference wars.

To date the talk has been freshman Maggie Lucas, a Narberth resident and Germantown Academy graduate, who has already broken former all-American Kelly Mazzante’s freshman record for three-point shots made.

On Thursday night it was a senior from the high end of the roster in terms of age to be a heroine when Devon’s Julia Trogele hit a layup with 9.1 seconds remaining to grab a narrow 67-65 win over host Illinois (7-14, 2-6) in Champaign.

Penn State moved into a four-way tie for first place with Michigan, which upset Ohio State; Wisconsin, and No. 10 Michigan State, which fell to No. 18 Iowa.

The Nittany Lions matched their win total of a year ago as Trogele finished with 19 points, matching her career high, and 11 rebounds.

Nikki Green had 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Penn State will host struggling Ohio State on Sunday.

Observations

After No. 2 Connecticut blasted off from the start of the second half to transform a close Big East war with Rutgers into a 63-44 rout, Huskies coach Geno Auriemma came into the media room of the Scarlet Knights’ Louis A. Brown Athletic Center Wednesday night and noticed that something was not quite the same.

“Not like the old days. Remember the old days? The place used to be packed. People used to ask me questions that pissed me off and get me in trouble and things like that,” he said with a wry smile.

“Now it’s a bunch of friendly faces.”

On the Connecticut side, most of the regulars braved the elements to head south and cover the game. But Rutgers’ side has been virtually re-vamped and downsized.

What was noticeable to the Guru, however, this was the first time in a long while and maybe ever that not one columnist was on hand from any of the publications that cover either Rutgers or UConn.

When South Carolina upset No. 20 Georgia Thursday night it was not the first time that Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley ambushed the Bulldogs’ Andy Landers, a Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer.

Staley has gotten him once before when the Bulldogs were ranked and she coached Temple.

Since the Guru could not get to his home, due to the nature of how plowing doesn't gets done in his neighborhood, he is camped out to write this blog at a favorite and cheap hotel spot halfway to College Park, Md., where he will be on hand for the late-start ACC tilt between the host Terrpains and Wake Forest.

-- Mel

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