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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Guru Musings: Will Evans Be The One In The CAA?

By Mel Greenberg

For the second straight season The Colonial Athletic Association has a wide-open race for player of the year.

The one difference this time around is that the media covering the conference no longer joins the coaches in the vote, as was the case in the preseason vote.

That's not a complaint, just a note for people who may not be aware of the change made.

A year ago, with Elena Delle Donne making a sensational debut at Delaware the 2008 national high school player of the year dominated the CAA statistics and won not only rookie honors but player honors as well.

This time around Delle Donne may still be in the mix though her absence from 12 games due to dealing with symptoms of Lyme disease has precluded her from eligibility to be among the NCAA stats and likewise she is not listed in the CAA weekly report.

But she is eligible to be considered for the postseason awards by the conference so it's possible she'll draw votes if one is making a player evaluation for the on-court performance even if her appearances are less than other worthy candidates.

Virginia Commonwealth's Courtney Hurt picked up a another CAA player of the week award, her fifth of the season which is tops in the conference. She is fourth in the nation in scoring with a 23.4 average and leads the nation with 21 double doubles off of 13.0 rebounds.

Meanwhile, James Madison's Dawn Evans is No. 1 in the nation with a 23.9 average and the Dukes, who won the postseason tournament a year ago, seem likely to win the regular season crown.

Evans will soon make former Drexel star Gabriela Marginean's reign as the all-time scorer in CAA short-lived, an achievement Dragons coach Denise Dillon predicted several years ago would happen.

Evans currently has 2,528 points and just needs 54 to reach 2,581 points to rewrite the record book.

Another candidate potentially is Hofstra sophomore Shante Evans who is fourth in the conference in scoring with a 17.8 average and second in rebounding at 10.8.

Will Naismith HOF Voters Be More Liberal?

Way back in the beginning of women being included in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame voting for indiuction honors in the annual ceremonies in Springfield, Mass., for the most part the women's subcommittee was regularly getting both nominees through the final vote by the honors committee.

In recent years only one women's candidate at a time has been picked even when both candidates would seem to be no-brainers picks to those who follow the sport.

For example, when Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer was on the ballot and was selected, the also-ran was former WNBA star Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, who eventually was chosen last year and, by the way, is a strong candidate for CAA coach of the year in her first season at UNC Wilmington.

The action in different years has caused the subcommittee to submit a single candidate to make sure the vote didn't get split and both candidates cancel each other from getting the number of required votes.

One year when the late great North Carolina State coach Kay Yow was a first-time nominee and holding an Olympic gold medal pedigree, no one was chosen, which caused a modest boycott of the ceremonies to send a message. She was chosen the next time around, though the honors committee was probably unaware any action had occurred.

The Guru mentions this in light of this year's list of nominees which includes both Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer and former Georgia and Olympic great Teresa Edwards.

Considering the success record of both individuals, it will be interesting to see if both make as well they should.

The Guru is glad to see VanDerveer was finally put forth to be considered because when he was on the subcommitee and wondered why she hadn't been recommended there were different reasons whispered ranging from she didn't want the honor why she was still an active coach to a confession of a missed deadline for submitting her name.

Atlantic 10 Logjam

Interesting that in the final week of the regular season a five-way tie exists for fourth in the Atlantic 10, which also carries a bye into next week's tournament at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass.

The Guru will not get into the tie-breaking process until after Wednesday's games since it is possible the one large tie will reduce to separate deadlocks depending who wins or loses, but since St. Joseph's is one of those teams, the Hawks have something else to play for when they host Temple Wednesday night besides the Big Five title and snapping a long string of Owls victories, most of which have been decided in the closing seconds.

Incidentally, if St. Joseph's lands in the Women's National Invitation Tournament, two intriguing matchups if either team also lands in the field instead of the NCAA would be a visit from Boston College, which then would have the Eagles Kerri Shields going against her sister Erin, who has been among the top newcomers in Philadelphia Division I this season.

Another would be a visit from Dawn Staley's South Carolina team, although the Gamecocks would likely get a home game if they are in the field.

Weekly Honors

La Salle seniior Ashley Gale was named Atlantic 10 player of the week, while St. Joseph's Michelle Baker was named Big Five player of the week.

Manhattan's Monica Roeder of Marlton and Cherokee High was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference player of the week, which reminds, there's another possibility for the WNIT if Loyola, Md., continues to run second in the MAAC to nationally-ranked Marist.

The Greyhounds are coached by Joe Logan, a former assistant at St. Joseph's, so that matchup would create a bit of a homecoming considering that Erica DiClemente, a graduate of Wissahickon High from Blue Bell is on the squad.

Looking Ahead

St. John's, trying to stay off the NCAA bubble, will be visiting Villanova at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, as well The Guru.

The Wildcats have won two straight bringing longtime coach Harry Perretta to 596 victories going into the Big East game against the Red Storm..

And in terms of the No. 600, with Tennessee likely to stay in the AP poll through the final vote in three weeks, coach Pat Summitt andThe Lady Vols, who have missed only 14 appearances in the 35-year history, will be at 599 appeaeances when the records meter stops for this season.

And now it is time to see if the overnight snow has stopped and the ice has melted to head home for some shuteye.

-- Mel

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