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, March 01, 2011

Guru Notes: AP Poll History Trivia And Award Winners

(Guru’s note: There is another post above this one rounding up a wild night in the Big East to close the regular season. Over in melgreenberg.com, click on the media link and then Philly local for some D2 and D3 news).

By Mel Greenberg

Here are some AP Poll notes and weekly and postseason award winners so as not to foul the posting waters with the blog above this one.

Penn State’s Maggie Lucas of Narberth and Germantown Academy was named the Big 10 freshman and sixth player of the year awards as the Nittany Lions head later this week to the conference tournament in Indianapolis with the No. 2 seed, their highest since 2004 when they won the whole shebang.

Those were the days of scoring ace Kelly Mazzante and on Sunday Lucas tied Mazzante’s season single record of 102 three-pointers.

She is the first freshman honoree out of Penn State by the Big 10 since Mazzante and first Lady Lion to win the Sixth Player honor. Lucas was also named to the all-freshman team and the Big 10 second team by the media and third team by the coaches
Penn State’s Alex Bentley was named to the first team in the coaches’ vote and third team in the media vote.

Julie Trogele of Devon, the lone PSU senior, received honorable mention support as did Nikki Greene, who was also named to the all-defensive team.

This week’s Big Five women’s player of the week is Temple’s Qwedia Wallace.

West Chester’s Shante Evans, as graduate of Henderson High, is the Colonial Athletic Association player of the week after the Hofstra sophomore scored 20 points in Sunday’s 75-73 upset of first place James Madison, proving the point the Guru has been claiming over how dangerous the middle teams in the CAA might be in the quarterfinals.

The CAA and bless them for doing so sent out a million tiebreaker scenarios off of Wednesday night’s regular season final.
The Guru will deal after the fact but traditional power Old Dominion will be in town at Drexel at 7 p.m. – you know the recent history – while Towson will be at Delaware.

Hofstra, Towson and Delaware are all tied for fifth at the moment.

Monica Roeder of Marlton and Cherokee High and newcomer at Manhattan is again the freshman of the week in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Poll Trivia

There are items of interest in this week’s AP Poll history file with the newest release of the weekly rankings having been issued Monday.

First to answer a trivia question put to the Guru last week by St. John’s media rep. Kristin Duffy.

Has a team in the rankings every not gone to the NCAA tournament?

The answer is yes and the Guru guessed right but don’t get nervous.

In 1984 Tennessee-Chattanooga, then coached by Sharon Fanning-Oits, now at Mississippi State, finished 20th in the final poll and was not selected as an at-large after losing in the Southern Conference.

But the Chocs were only in for the final month of voting, the poll was then just a top 20 poll AND the NCAA field was much smaller than the 64-team arrangement in the current structure.

Furthermore, the Southern was not a high-powered league and UTC’s schedule was not nearly as strong as the myriad of teams in the Big East.

Perhaps Rutgers off a Sunday win if it happens in the Big East may return to the poll or else it could be the first season the Scarlet Knights have been shut out since 2001-02. And a year ago, they only appeared in the preseason poll.

But a longer vacancy streak existed after Rutgers establishment was gained in the late 1970s.

The Scarlet Knights missed three seasons in 1995-96-97.

Wisconsin-Green Bay’s ranking of 15th is the highest ever. The school was 16th on January 20 in 2003.

Speaking of Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Horizon Conference representative is one of five mid-majors, depending on defining the Atlantic 10, in the poll this week, which as a group matches five each out of the Atlantic Coast and Big East Conferences.

The five with the addition of Houston out of Conference-USA are also Xavier (Atlantic 10), Marist (MAAC), and Gonzaga (West Coast).

Next season UConn should move into ahead of Louisiana Tech into second place for total appearances in the Top 5. They now trail the techsters 279-273 with two more polling weeks left.

Meanwhile, Miami, co-winner of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season with Duke, has reached No. 10. This is the Hurricanes’ highest ranking since a 6th place finish in the last poll of the 1992 season when Miami was in the Big East and dominating the league while UConn’s Rebecca Lobo was just a freshman force of the future.

Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie on the active list has tied Vanderbilt’s Melanie Balcomb for 17th with 145 appearances.

Part of McCallie’s total was earned at Michigan State and her single program ranking marks at each school right now are on top of each other on the longevity list.

Balcomb has some of her total from Xavier before Kevin McGuff took over when she left for the Commodores.

With West Virginia’s exit, McGuff is now ahead of Mike Carey 48-47 appearances on the active list.

Next week McCallie will tie Old Dominion’s Wendy Larry.

DePaul’s Doug Bruno and Maryland’s Brenda Frese have been locked in a tie for a while now and they each have 119 appearances.

The leader of course is Tennessee’s Pat Summitt at 997, missing just 14 weeks in the entire poll history.

Houston, which has had a perfect run in Conference-USA to date, is back in at No. 25, the first ranking since a vote of 22nd on Dec. 20th 2004.

The previous season, the Cougars finished ninth and former coach Joe Curl was named the Associated Press coach of the year.
Before that season, Houston made the rankings back in 1992 as a member of the Southwest Conference and several years before that.

This is Todd Buchanan’s first ranking as a head coach, though he had been on Curl’s staff. Other Houston coaches who have guided the Cougars to rankings were Greg Williams and Jessie Kenlaw, who both in later years found their way into the WNBA.

-- Mel


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