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, January 24, 2011

Guru Report: Rosseel's Half Makes Drexel Whole

(Guru's note: Information elsewhere from SID email and wire reports)

By Mel Greenberg

Homecoming weekend featured a career-day special with the Drexel women’s basketball team Sunday while elsewhere around the nation at several places a game of trivial pursuit sought answers to such questions as:

When was the last time Maryland crushed Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina so badly?

When was the last time Duke rallied from a 20-point deficit to win?

When was the last time a Penn State player rebounded the ball so ferociously?

But first let’s keep it right here in the City of Brotherly Love where host Drexel and Hofstra began the day locked with Delaware in a three-way tie for fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) standings.

Now it’s a two-way tie courtesy of Drexel’s 69-57 win over the Pride at the Dragons’ Daskalakis Athletic Center where they are 8-0 this season and Delaware’s ability to edge host Georgia State 50-46 in Atlanta.

Drexel (12-6, 4-3 CAA) showed some resiliency coming off a tough loss at George Mason 49-47 Thursday night in the closing seconds in Fairfax, Va., at the Patriot Center.

Kamile Nacickaite was the show in the first half with 17 of her 19 points as Drexel went to the break with a 32-20 lead over the Pride (11-7, 3-4).

Hofstra then surged on a 9-0 run before senior Jasmina Rosseel went to work and scored all 26 of her career-high points in a game as Drexel rushed to a lead of as many as 18 points.

Tyler Hale playing all but three minutes had 11 points and 15 of Drexel’s boards in an overwhelming 55-25 rebounding advantage that had to please associate head coach and defensive coordinator Amy Mallon, a Big Five Hall of Famer who played at St. Joseph’s.

And before anyone asks, Drexel has done even better in the past grabbing 70 rebounds on Nov. 21, 2000 in a win over Rider.

“Our players were able to handle the pressure, especially with that big shot by Jazzy,” Drexel coach Denise Dillon said of a long three-pointer by Rosseel that extended to one more from the line when Hofstra was assessed a foul on the play.

Hofstra freshman Nicole Capurso had 16 points, Candice Bellocchio scored 10 and West Chester Henderson High’s Shante Evans was held five points below her scoring average with 12.

“They wanted to control the tempo better than we did,” Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Stevesky said.

Meanwhile down in Atlanta, Delaware (11-7, 4-3) shook off a two-game losing streak to keep pace with Drexel as Danielle Parker’s three foul shots at the finish secured the win over the Panthers (7-11, 2-5).

“Right now we have to win games by defense,” said Delaware coach Tina Martin, who remains without star sophomore Elena Delle Donne still sidelined with back problems. “We have to win games by rebounding. I told the kids I thought our defense in the second half was very good. It was a very physical game.”

Lauren Carra had a team-high 16 points for Delaware, which will host George Mason on Thursday night.

James Madison (13-6, 6-1), which features the nation’s leading scorer in Dawn Evans and will visit Drexel Thursday night, is part of a three-way first-place tie including Old Dominion (12-6, 6-1) and North Carolina-Wilmington (14-4, 6-1), which is under first-year coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, the former WNBA superstar.

Virginia Commonwealth (10-7, 5-2), which lost to JMU 69-59, fell to second place as Rams scoring sensation Courtney Hurt reached her 1,000th career point.

Old Dominion’s 71-43 win over Towson at home in Norfok, Va., made Monarchs coach Wendy Larry the 21st coach overall to reach 600 victories.

Philadelphia University’s Tom Shirley in Division II hit the number on Wednesday night on his fourth straight attempt while it was Larry’s second attempt.

The CAA continues to be a free-for-all which could be even wilder if Delle Donne returns to play for Delaware this season.

“This conference has really grown the last several years in terms of teams being a tough one for you every night,” Dillon said. “Obviously the road games are harder than the home games and if you can win on Thursday against a very good James Madison team it makes up for some of the tough road losses.”

Penn State Rebounds Against Indiana

Now to answer some of those trivia questions, let’s head to Happy Valley in central Pennsylvania where the Nittany Lions (16-5, 5-2 Big Ten) put aside Thursday’s loss at Purdue and defeated Indiana 82-69 in a conference contest at home.

Sophomore Nikki Greene grabbed 20 rebounds, the first PSU player to grab that many in 24 seasons dating back to Vicki Link’s 20 against Rutgers on Feb. 16, 1987, when both schools belonged to the Atlantic 10 conference.

Greene classmate Mia Nickson had 25 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, while Alex Bentley scored 15 and freshman Maggie Lucas, the scoring star from Germantown Academy, had 16 points.

Nickson’s 20 carooms tied the Bryce Jordan Center record set by Michigan State’s Kristen Rasmussen on Dec.30, 1997.

The Hoosiers fell to 8-12 overall and 2-6 in the conference. As a team Penn State set a new arena record for the BJC with 61 rebounds, while Indiana had 36. The Nittany Lions had 68 rebounds against Florida Atlantic on Nov. 23, 2001.

Penn State, which travels to Illinois Thursday, became postseason eligible, meaning they could be picked for the WNIT if they don’t land in the NCAA field. The Bryce Jordan Center is one of 16 first-second round sites this season – host team in uniform or not.

Coach Coquese Washington’s squad is now tied for third with Michigan in the conference standings, a half-game behind second-place Wisconsin and a full game behind No. 12 Michigan State, which beat visiting Minnesota 66-54 Sunday afternoon.

Atlantic Coast Roll and Rally Warfare

No. 15 Maryland rolled and No. 3 Duke rallied to highlight Atlantic Coast Conference play Sunday night.

The host Terrapins (16-3, 3-2) blasted the No. 10 Tar Heels 88-65, who again come off a recent rout by No. 2 Connecticut to not play well against a major ACC rival when returning to conference play,

Maryland freshman Alyssa Thomas had 16 points and13 rebounds. The Terrapins had just nipped Virginia in overtime Friday night in Charlottesbville after trailing by six points with two minutes left in regulation.

“You’re starting to see a team come together … This is a real opportunity for us to gain momentum,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said in the Comcast Center at home in College Park.

The Tar Heels (17-6, 3-2) were without Jessica Breland who had minor knee surgery, the school announced Friday, and is day-to-day.

As for the trivia fact off the win, it was Maryland’s largest margin of victory against North Carolina since an 88-60 blowout on Feb. 6, 1990.

The Tar Heels’ Italee Lucas scored 17 points.

Maryland next stays at home to host Wake Forest (10-11, 1-4 ACC) Friday night at 8:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, No. 3 Duke trailed nearby rival North Carolina State by 20 points but was able to remain the last unbeaten Division I women’s team when Chelsea Gray drove and scored with 12 seconds left for a 66-65 victory over the host Wolfpack in Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C.

Jasmine Thomas had 14 points for the Blue Devils (19-0, 5-0), who travel to No. 2 Connecticut next Monday night in the Huskies’ Gampel Pavilion on campus in Storrs.

As for more trivia, it was in nearby Hartford in January 2004 that Duke once rallied from 20 points down the last time by such a deficit to win 68-67 on a three-pointer by Jessica Foley at the buzzer, which then stopped a previous NCAA-record home win streak by UConn.

Marissa Kastanek and Kody Burke each scored 14 points for the Wolfpack, who fell to 9-10 overall and 1-4 in the ACC.

Elsewhere in the ACC, Virginia, which had lost that heartbreaker to Maryland, finally got a conference “W” and got it emphatically beating Virginia Tech 72-37 at home in Charlottesville in the John Paul Jones Arena.

And this game also has some way-back trivia in that it was the most lopsided conference win by the Cavaliers (12-9, 1-4 ACC) since beating Maryland 82-41 on Jan. 5, 2001.

Conestoga High grad Chelsea Shine was UVa’s top scorer for the third straight game, this time collecting 16 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.

Virginia Tech (9-10, 0-5), which is still seeking its first ACC win this season, got 12 points from Alyssa Fenyn.

Clemson beat Wake Forest, 77-73, in overtime, while Georgia Tech recovered from its recent rout by Duke to beat Boston College 67-54.

Poll Milestones

When the Associated Press women’s poll for this week is released on Monday it will mark the 400th time Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer has had a team ranked including her previous stop at Ohio State.

Currently prior to the release Tennessee’s Pat Summitt is No. 1 with 591 appearances, missing only 14 in the entire history.

Georgia’s Andy Landers is second with 456.

When it comes to total appearances at the same school, Summitt and Landers, whose teams could both be unbeaten in Southeastern Conference play when they meet in Knoxville, Feb. 21, are ranked 1-2.

Third is former Texas coach Jody Conradt at 395 followed VanderVeer’s Stanford total which is 371 prior to Monday.

Duke will appear in the Top 10 for the 200th time.

The schools above the Blue Devils with more than 200 or more Top 10 appearances prior to Monday are:

Tennessee 534
Louisiana Tech 373
Connecticut 311
Stanford 304
Georgia 258
Texas 224

See you in the next 24.

-- Mel


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