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, February 18, 2011

Guru Report: Maryland Puts Down Duke Causing ACC Three-Way Tie

By Mel Greenberg

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – To listen to No. 16 Maryland tell the tale of the Terrapins’ Atlantic Coast Conference rivalry with No. 7 Duke, even if standings and NCAA positioning were not on the line, the mere appearance of the Blue Devils on the opposition lineup listings is enough to stir the emotions.

“It’s always special when we can beat Duke,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said after the Terrapins snapped a two-game losing streak Thursday night with a 69-47 win in the Comcast Center to even the season series following last month's setback to the Blue Devils in Durham, N.C.

Where the Terrapins (21-5, 7-4 ACC) go from here is anybody’s guess considering the way the youthful roster devoid of seniors has had highs such as Thursday night and lows as the losses leading up to the game.

But anything’s possible considering the history dating to the biggest moment in the rivalry – the comeback overtime triumph in Boston in 2006 that enabled Maryland to win its first national title.

“Anytime we can beat Duke, that’s always the best,” Lynetta Kizer said after scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

Freshman Alyssa Thomas had another stellar performance with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Tianna Hawkins scored 10 points.

The loss dropped Duke (23-3, 9-2) into a three-way tie with No. 13 Miami and No. 15 Florida State on top of the ACC standings while Maryland edged ahead in the rivalry 38-37 with the Terrapins’ most lopsided victory in the series since an 82-51 wipeout in 1993.

Even Frese’s three-year-old twin boys have quickly learned the importance of playing the Blue Devils.

She related it was their birthday Thursday and upon awakening in the morning when she asked Tyler if he knew what the day was, instead of acknowledging the expected answer, Frese said he responded, “You play Duke?”

Ironically, considering the inept night of offense on the Duke side, it was suggested to coach Joanne P. McCallie that perhaps playing Maryland might have affected her team’s mental state.

“We have no excuses,” McCallie quickly responded.

The Blue Devils were without Chelsea Gray, who stayed back home suffering from the flu.

A moment early McCallie summed up the outcome from the Blue Devils’ side, “Not a great game for us and a terrific game for Maryland. We turn the ball over 20 times, 22 second-chance points for them, get outrebounded (42-31), that pretty much explains it.”

All-America candidate Jasmine Thomas and Allison Vernerey each scored 12 points for Duke, which shot 34.7 percent from the field.

Duke had been as high as No. 3 in the rankings and unbeaten with 20 straight wins heading into the Jan. 31 nonconference showdown that saw the Blue Devils get mowed down at No. 2 Connecticut, starting a current lackluster 3-3 run.

Meanwhile, former Maryland star Crystal Langhorne of Willingboro, N.J., near Philadelphia, an All-Star for the nearby WNBA Washington Mystics who helped the Terrapins to the 2006 NCAA title, was at the game along with Mystics teammate Monique Currie, who starred at Duke.

Langhorne was asked her reaction to Wednesday’s news saying that All-Star Diana Taurasi had been cleared of the earlier allegations in Turkey of taking a performance enhancing drug.

“I was happy for her,” Langhorne said. “She’s a great person and she was probably disappointed with the results (of the original drug tests) and I’m just glad she got cleared.”

Asked her thoughts when Taurasi had been suspended by the Turkish basketball federation, Langhorne said, “I was a little shocked. I didn’t know what to think. When things like happen, you don’t know what to say, what to think, so when I heard she got cleared, I was just relieved.”

Apparently someone had a bet with Currie because after the game ended, she was seen photographed holding a Maryland T-shirt in front of her.

Elsewhere in the ACC Thursday night, while Maryland was bringing Duke back to the pack, Miami (23-3, 9-2) and Florida State (21-5, 9-2) picked up wins to finish creating the three-way deadlock with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Miami downed host Boston College 90-80 in Chestnut Hill, Mass., as Shenise Johnson scored 30 points and Riquna Washington scored 23 of her 25 points in the second half against the Eagles (17-9, 4-7), who might have been pushed back to the NCAA bubble in light of their conference record.

Boston College’s Carolyn Swords had 23 points and 13 rebounds.

Depending on which order one is reading the results; Florida State made the top of the ACC a threesome, triumphing on the road over Wake Forest 82-79 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Cierra Bravard had 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Seminoles, who in December became UConn’s 89th-straight victim, setting an NCAA Division I record for men and women.

Florida State also lost at Yale just prior to the game up the road in Hartford, making the Bulldogs’ win one of the all-timers for an Ivy team.

Sandra Garcia scored 13 points for the Demon Deacons (12-15, 3-8).

The threesome will be reduced by at least one Sunday when Maryland visits Florida State. Duke will host Virginia Tech (11-15, 1-10), which lost 81-65 Thursday night to visiting North Carolina State (11-15, 2-9).

Georgia Tech (20-8, 8-4) reached its fifth straight 20-victory season in Atlanta by beating Clemson 72-46 and dropping the Tigers to 10-17 overall and 3-9 in the ACC.

Sasha Godlett had 12 points for the Yellow Jackets.

CAA: Drexel Rallies; Delaware Swept; James Madison Streak Continues

Defending champion and preseason favorite James Madison opened up a two-game lead in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) standings with its 11th straight victor; 81-71 at home against Towson (8-17, 2-12 CAA).

Dawn Evans scored 25 points for the Dukes (19-6, 12-1) and passed her 2,500th career point for the Dukes, who clinched a first-round bye in next month’s CAA Tournament at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., near Washington.

JMU visits Delaware Sunday 3 p.m. at the Carpenter Center in Newark.

Virginia Commonwealth (15-9, 10-4) at home in Richmond completed a season sweep over Old Dominion (17-8, 11-3), beating the Lady Monarchs 74-53 and knocking ODU back into a second-place tie with UNC-Wilmington (19-6, 11-3), which gained a 74-49 win over visiting Georgia State (10-15, 5-9).

The Lady Monarchs got 11 points from Kquanise Byrd and 10 points each from Jasmine Parker and Tia Lewis.
VCU, which got an NCAA-leading 20th double double from Courtney Hurt with 27 points and 19 rebounds, opened a two-game lead in fourth place over Delaware (15-10, 8-6), which lost 67-56 at George Mason (12-3, 6-8) in Fairfax, Va., which enabled the Patriots to complete a season sweep of the Blue Hens.

The Rams are close to securing the last available bye for next month’s CAA tournament at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., near Washington.

Since the return of Ellena Delle Donne from an11-game absence and 12th overall because of suffering from symptoms of Lyme Disease, Delaware had been making a run at VCU, who still has to meet the Blue Hens.

But the four-game winning thrust stopped short against the Patriots with Delaware shooting a miserable 34.7 percent from the field.

Delle Donne was stopped from a sensational game, scoring 14 points and grabbing just six rebounds while Lauren Carra had 16 for the Blue Hens.

Brittany Poindexter had 15 pointa and 10 rebounds for GMU.

“It was a very frustrating evening for us,” Delaware coach Tina Martin said. “We didn’t necessarily shoot the ball well, we missed a lot of layups.”

Drexel (15-10, 7-7) and Hofstra (15-10, 7-7) stayed tied for sixth, a game behind Delaware, after each registered a win.

It was another exciting overtime effort for Drexel, which dropped four points behind William & Mary (2-22, 1-13) at home in the Daskalakis Athletic Center in the extra period before rally for an 80-74 win.

The Dragons are 11-1 in the DAC.

Kamile Nacickaite had six of her game-high 25 points in the overtime.

Jasmina Rosseel scored 22 for Drexel, which will host VCU on Sunday, while Tyler Hale had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Taylor Hilton scored 22 points for the Pride.

Hofstra easily handled host Northeastern 80-61 in Boston as Shanta Evans, a West Chester Henderson grad in suburban Philadelphia, scored 21 points against the Huskies (8-17, 3-11).

Penn State Foiled Again At Ohio State

The No. 23 Lady Lions were unable to gain a sweep against the Buckeyes, falling 89-67 to drop 1.5 games behind first-place Michigan State, who beat Northwestern 72-62 in another Big 10 Conference game.

The 11th-ranked Spartans’ win eliminated Ohio State (16-9, 7-6) from gaining a seventh-straight regular season title, although the Buckeyes’ third straight triumph kept Penn State (21-7, 10-4) winless in Columbus for the sixth straight time.

Zhaque Gray and Mia Nickson each scored 14 points for the Lady Lions, while Tayler Hill scored 19 for Ohio State, which had built a 23-point lead before Penn State rallied.

Jantel Lavender, an all-America candidate, scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Buckeyes while Samantha Prahalis scored 21 points and dealt 11 assists.

Michigan State (23-3, 11-2) got 19 points from Lykendra Johnson and moved close to its first outright regular season Big 10 title.

Amy Jaeschke scored 25 for Northwestern (16-11, 5-9), which is coached by Father Judge Joe McKeown, who formerly coached at George Washington.

Conference Titles

Courtney Vandersloot had 24 points and 11 assists as No. 25 Gonzaga’s 93-65 win at Santa Clara ensured a seventh straight West Coast Conference title.

Kayla Standish had 19 points for the Bulldogs (23-4, 11-0) while Lena Gipson scored 21 for the Broncos (8-17, 4-7).

The Houston Cougars (21-4, 12-0 C-USA), with their 12th straight win, clinched a share of Conference-USA’s regular season title by beating host Tulsa 72-56.

Lesslee Mason had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Houston, while Courtney Taylor had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Houston has won a C-USA regular season title only once before in the 15-year history of the Cougars’ membership in the conference.

Wildcats Struck

Georgia seems to play its best after being knocked out of the Associated Press poll.

The Bulldogs (20-6, 10-3 SEC), which dropped out this week, sacked No. 19 Kentucky 69-51 at home in Athens, as Meredith
Mitchell scored 16 points in the Southeastern Conference game.

Kentucky (19-7, 8-5) has faded, losing three of the Wildcats’ last four games. The Wildcats were awful on three-point shooting attempts, making just 2 of 23 attempts. But they did get 14 points and 11 rebounds from Victoria Dunlap.

Elsewhere in the SEC, No. 4 Tennessee (25-2, 13-0) stayed perfect in the conference by beating South Carolina 82-60 at home in Knoxville as reserve Alicia Manning had a career-high 22 points.

Ieasia Walker had 16 points for the Gameocks (15-11, 7-6), whose last win against Tennessee occurred on Jan. 23, 1980.

Looking Ahead

Penn will look for its third straight win and second straight Ivy weekend sweep when the Quakers host Brown at The Palestra Friday night.

Princeton, trying to stay in first place in defense of the Tigers’ championship, will host Yale, with the two visiting teams switching sites Saturday night.

The Guru will make a Gameday decision whether to travel north to Jadwin Gym in Princeton or head to the Palestra.

--Mel

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