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.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Guru Report: Temple Stays A-10 Perfect While Swarthmore Star Ties DIII Record

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA –
Temple and Duquesne continued their winning ways Wednesday afternoon and night and are now set to collide in Pittsburgh as part of what will be Showdown Saturday throughout the standings of the Atlantic 10 conference.

The Owls put the bop in coach Shimmy Gray-Miller’s St. Louis Billikens with an 82-48 triumph – their ninth straight – in a school-day matinee game at the Liacouras Center to keep pace with No. 7 Xavier (18-2, 7-0 Atlantic 10) as the two remaining A-10 teams unbeaten in conference play.

Qwedia Wallace had a game-high 23 points for Temple (16-6, 7-0 Atlantic 10), while Shey Peddy, both the conference and Big Five player of the week, scored 19 points, Marli Bennett had 14 points and Kristen McCarthy scored 11.

Lorreal Jones and Mallory Eggert each scored 10 points for St. Louis (7-15, 1-6).

Temple sizzled again from the field with a 9-of-11 effort on three-point attempts compared to 1-for-14 for the Billikens and the Owls also were 31-for-55 overall from the field for a 56.4 percent effort.

They also blocked nine shots, including four from Bennett and outrebounded St. Louis 38-27.

“Defensively we weren’t as good as we had been the last couple of weeks – we only had four steals – but that’s a credit to (St. Louis) making sure they took care of the basketball,” Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said.

“Overall, this was still a really good win for us.”

Several hours later Duquesne (19-3, 6-1) struggled early but eventually subdued Massachusetts 84-79 in overtime in Amherst as Alec Gensler had a career-high 27 points, including a trey as time in regulation expired to force the extra period.

The Dukes, coached by former Penn State all-American Suzie McConnell-Serio, a past WNBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist, have won 12 straight on the road.

Cerie Mosgrove had 21 points for the Minutewomen (6-17, 2-6).

Both Duquesne and Temple are currently projected into the NCAA tournament as at-large teams if neither wins next month’s conference tournament and ensuing automatic bid at the Tsognas Center in Lowell, Mass.

But neither has yet earned the right to be considered a lock, although the winner Saturday could have a shot at cracking the AP poll depending how things shake out elsewhere.

Only 12 of the 14 conference teams play in the A-10 tournament and the bottom of the standings is congested with schools seeking to avoid elimination.

Meanwhile there’s a seven-way crunch at the top involving teams seeking to earn one of four first-round conference tournament byes.

Dayton (15-7, 6-2) edged host St. Bonaventure 87-80 in overtime Wednesday night dropping the Bonnies to 15-8 overall and 5-3 in the conference.

Richmond (14-8, 5-3) came back to stop host Fordham 55-42, as the Rams fell to 10-13 and 2-5.

In a battle between the last two winless schools in A-10 play, host George Washington (6-15, 1-6), that’s right, beat Rhode Island 53-35, as another Rams contingent in the A-10 fell to 6-15 and 0-7.

On Saturday URI will host St. Joseph’s (12-9, 2-5) in a game that is also a must-win for the Hawks to avoid being dragged backward into the elimination crush.

Charlotte (17-5, 5-2), which was idle Wednesday and is contending for a first-round bye, will visit Massachusetts.
St. Bonaventure will be at Richmond in another bye battle game while Xavier will visit arch-rival Dayton seeking to keep pace with Temple.

The Musketeers don’t meet the Owls until the final game of the regular season and Xavier is in the hunt for a No. 2 NCAA seed, while Temple is seeking a safety-valve resume to earn at-large status and extend its NCAA appearance run to eight straight.

The Owls are a host for the Sweet 16.

Meanwhile in the battle below to avoid discard status for the Tsongas Center, George Washington will visit St. Louis on Saturday while La Salle (6-16, 2-5), will on Sunday host Fordham, which drew a trip to last year’s conference tournament over the Explorers by winning a coin flip.

Meanwhile Cardoza said Temple is just worried about the opponent immediately ahead as the Owls continue another run in the conference.

“Anytime we talk about streaks, it doesn’t work out for us,” she said. “The bulk of our schedule is really, really tough. We’re not worried about all the talk of our streak.”

Wallace said she was unaware of her numbers against St. Louis.

“I didn’t know I had that good a game because we played so well as a team,” she said.

Stockbower Makes Swarthmore History

Garnet senior forward Kathryn Stockbower, a graduate of Upper Dublin High, became part of two records, including an impressive run of consistency in the NCAA, but all did not end well at Tarble Pavilion, where host Swarthmore lost to Muhlenberg 76-63.

The win completed a season sweep for the Mules (14-5, 10-4) in the two games played by the members of the Centennial Conference.

Muhlenberg’s Alita Zabrecky scored 21 points while Sheila Cook scored 14 points and the Mules also got 13 each from Kelly McKeown and Alexadra Chili,

Stockbower had 14 points and 14 rebounds to register her 79th career double double tying the NCAA Division III record set former Johns Hopkins star Julie Anderson in 1998.

Furthermore, Stockbower’s 14th rebound late in the game made her the all-time rebounder in Garnet women’s history with 1,264 carooms – one more than the previous achievement reached by Heather Kile in 2002.

There’s more to be said but the Guru’s holding off until Stockbower earns the NCAA mark outright, which could occur as early as Saturday at first-place Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

The game was interrupted for one hour when a power outage in Swarthmore occurred early in the first half.

The arena went dark briefly and then auxiliary lights went on until full power was eventually restored.

“I’m just glad my player scored right before it happened and they saw it go in and it counted,” Muhlenberg coach Ron Rohn jested.

The teams tied 36-36 at the half.

Rohn, who is in his ninth season with the Mules, has guided them to three Centennial titles in the last four years.

He previously was a head coach in Division I at both Hofstra and Colgate.

For the record, the Guru had once experienced another power outage at a game, which occurred back in time at the end of one particular season when Villanova still played in the Jake Nevin Field House.

The Wildcats were playing St. Joseph’s in a Big Five game when the place went dark and candles and flashlights were used.

Because the Big Five title had already been decided and since conference tournaments were being played the next weekend, after an hour’s wait, with no shot at restoring power anytime soon that night, all parties agreed to let the game be cancelled.

Next Up: Delle Donne Goes For A Grand

The Guru next heads to Delaware Thursday night where Elena Delle Donne is 16 points short of becoming the fastest woman in Colonial Athletic Association history to reach 1,000 career points.

The Blue Hens will host Northeastern while Drexel is at home hosting Towson and trying to snap a losing streak.

The two teams are tied for fifth with Hofstra and George Mason and will meet each other Sunday at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

Drexel has already won the first meeting early last month.

Penn State will be at Michigan seeking to at worst continue in a two-way tie with Wisconsin atop the Big 10 standings.

The Guru will return in the next 24 hours.

-- Mel

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