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, May 26, 2011

Guru Report: Delle Donne And Hampton Are World University Finalists

By Mel Greenberg

LAUREL, Md. --
So whoever thought the Guru would begin the gateway games to the WNBA summer by staying in Laurel, Md., before meeting new WNBA president Laurel Richie?

Actually, the Guru is hold up here after coming down late Wednesday night to be on the scene to avoid the morning hassles to get to Thursday's WNBA preseason game at the Verizon Center in nearby Washington for the 11:30 a.m. matchup between the host Mystics and Chicago Sky.

And it is going to be a long day anyway considering the Guru will be on another scene Thursday night back up in suburban Philadelphia for the draft to fill rosters from applications for the NCAA Women's Summer League, which gets under way in Horsham, Pa., next month.

But first before getting on the business at hand with this blog, How long was that Phillies game Wednesday night won in 19 innings by the locals against the Cincinnati Reds?

Here's one way to measure it.

The Guru took off around rush hour to head in this direction and stopped at the wonderful revamped rest stop below Wilmington, Del., to do some quick computer work and also see what hotels at a reasonable price might be available.

Then about 9 p.m., the Guru jumped back into the auto, plug the iPad into the car electric and radio system, flicked the MLB apps and then pulled in the Phillies home radio broadcast, which actually sounded better powered by the iPad then the same broadcast in the Phillies market, which would fade out anyway under normal circumstances.

Want to know how many Jimmy Buffett concerts the Guru has been able to listen to, likewise, with his Sirius/XM apps?

Anyhow, the game was in the eighth inning as the Guru continued South.

At about 11:15 p.m., the Guru pulled into Little Italy in downtown Baltimore to stop at Sabatino's, his famous late-night restaurant stop in that city when not doing hardshells (Hi Tonya and Way!), and set up the the iPad on the table to track the game on the graphics presentation from the MLB apps.

The Guru finished about 12:30 a.m., the game was in the 14th inning and he re-plugged the iPad back into the car and continued with the idea of needing to find a hotel close to Washington that wouldn't break the bank (or glut the Marriott points pile if needed to do an extraction.)

Of course, back up in Wilmington the Guru grabbed several copies of the Room Saver magazine with discount coupons (to have spares for the Springhill Marriott in New London, Conn., for the month of June).

Inning number 17 came round when the Guru pulled into the I95 rest stop above Laurel and began checking what was available. Sure enough a Comfort Inn was doable and accpeting the coupon. So the Guru jumped back into the car and as he neared the hotel entrance a fly ball ended the Phillies game. -- Good timing and that's how long that game was.

Now that most of the original copy in this post has been authored to entertaining you, Delaware junior-to-be Elena Delle Donne and Philadelphia native Keisha Hampton, who will also be a junior, were two of the 14 players named as finalists Wednesday for the 12-player roster spots to become the United States entry in the World University Games in China late this summer.

Since the Guru was traveling and so was Delle Donne to return home, the Guru held off attempts to conduct his own interview until Thursday on the way back to Philadelphia.

Hampton, of course, raised her profile with DePaul last season and made the winning foul shots that completed a rally against host Penn State sending the Blue Demons into the NCAA Sweet 16 at Temple's Liacouras Center before losing to Duke in the semifinals round.

For Delle Donne, the selection is another giant step back to the international arena she was headed in the summer of 2007 before suddenly deciding to take a break from basketball while considering her collegiate choices, which, as we all know by now became UConn and then unbecame UConn and became Delaware, but for volleyball, and finally a return to basketball under Blue Hens coach Tina Martin.

So with all that said, and the Guru has gone this direction out of local consideration, though Delle Donne's name still gets goggled a bunch every day from everywhere, here is the Delaware release for now, with quotes, announcing her navigated hurdle. To make the team, which will be coached by Iowa State's Bill Fennelly and his assistants -- Duquesne's Suzie McConnell-Serio and Georgetown's Terri Williams-Flournoy -- Delle Donne will only have to survive a round of two cuts, if his math is right at this usual ungodly hour of the Guru's continued daily life.

So here's the press release from Delaware, which is also on the school's website by now:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Following three days of trails with some of the top college-aged women’s basketball players in the country, University of Delaware standout Elena Delle Donne was named one of 14 finalists for USA’s Women's Basketball University Games Team.

“I was definitely happy my named was called first on the list,” said Delle Donne, the first Delaware player to be granted a University Games trial. “It felt incredible, I got chills right away. I’m just so excited and can’t wait to get back here and start working with the team. It’s a phenomenal group of girls and I’m just really excited to be a part of this.”

The 6-5 Delle Donne, a native of Wilmington, Del., has the potential to become the first player in the Colonial Athletic Association since Adrienne Goodson in 1993 to make the USA University Games Team. With 14 players currently on the roster, and only 12 on the final roster, Delle Donne will resume training with the team from July 31 until Aug. 8.

The USA University Games Team will fly to Shenzhen, China for the 2011 World University Games women’s basketball competition, which is set to run from August 14-21. The squad will be lead by Bill Fennelly, current head coach at Iowa State University. Joining Fennelly on the bench are Suzie McConnell-Serio (Duquesne) and Terri Williams-Flournoy (Georgetown).

“Everyone involved with Delaware basketball is very excited about this great accomplishment by Elena,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, who concluded her 15th season at the helm of the program. “We are thrilled that she will have the chance to represent not only the University of Delaware, but also the United States at the World Games.

Courtney Hurt, who is a rising senior at Virginia Commonwealth University, a member of the CAA, joined Delle Donne at the trials, but did not make the finalist roster.

Joining Delle Donne on the finalist roster will be Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Jacki Gemelos (Southern California), Keisha Hampton (DePaul), Shenise Johnson (Miami), Glory Johnson (Tennessee), Lynetta Kizer (Maryland), Natalie Novosel (Notre Dame), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Nneka Ogwumike (Stanford), Devereaux Peters (Notre Dame), Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Shekinna Stricklen (Tennessee), April Skyes (Rutgers).

Delle Donne, who played in just 22 games after being diagnosed with Lyme disease, still had an outstanding season, leading the Hens with 557 points, averaging 25.3 points an outing. She set a new Delaware mark, knocking down 52 straight free throws, boosting her season percentage to a school record 94.4 percent, and hit 166 of her 177 attempts.

Midway through the conference schedule, the sophomore became the fastest played in Delaware and CAA history to reach the 1,000-point benchmark, doing so in just 38 career games. She surpassed the 55-game mark set by James Madison University standout Dawn Evans, who made the World Games Team Trials in 2009. Delle Donne’s 38 game mark is the second-fewest games needed in NCAA history to reach 1,000 points.

For her efforts during the season, Delle Donne was named first team All-CAA while being selected as the league’s Player of the Week on four occasions. She was also selected as the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association John J. Brady Athlete of the Year.

-- Mel


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