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.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Guru's WNBA Musings: What a Blast Off To The Season!

By Mel Greenberg

This is a quick post due to needing to head up to Connecticut for Saturday night's opener at the Mohegan Sun Arena between the host Sun and Washington Mystics.

Considering that new WNBA president Laurel Richie had never seen a game live prior to taking her post last month, she certainly got enough in Friday night's overall WNBA opener to pump the marketing machine off of the Los Angeles Sparks' 82-74 win over the Minnesota Lynx in Tinseltown at the Staples Center.

A year ago the two were part of the five "others" in the mediocre Western Conference who all struggled with losing records behind the eventual league champion Seattle Storm that was dominant at the high end of play.

Los Angeles beat Minnesota in a closely fought game in the final week of the season that put the Sparks in the playoffs and the Lynx off to the draft lottery with the overall No. 1 pick.

When the two last met, then second-year pro Candace Parker, the former Tennessee superstar, had been lost for the season since June 13 because of shoulder surgery.

And Minnesota had a slew of injuries with former Stanford star Candice Wiggins having long since been sidelined among the victims.

But with a later season start, everyone healthy and play on the court much better than the WNBA usually displays in the opening weeks, the game was an absolute treat and was not decided until the Sparks pulled away in the closing minutes.

Parker had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles and former UConn sensation Maya Moore, who became the first overall draft pick in April and the second straight Huskies star with the honor, made her pro debut with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists.

The two play again in Minneapolis early Sunday afternoon, though it will be interesting on the turnaround to see if the two teams lose a bit off steam off the trip back to the Midwest.

The rest of the league except for New York and Atlanta, will be under way Saturday night.

The top rookie performer, however, was not Moore.

No, kudos go to the tech people who work for or with the WNBA home office because a new apps for phones and, more importantly, the iPad, performed brilliantly and, yes, the Guru could watch a game live on his iPad, which celebrates its first birthday in the Guru division next weekend.

The Guru had hoped the league could follow up on the superb apps done for the NBA over the winter and, for that matter, the NCAA March Madness apps from CBS for the men's tournament.

Saturday with four games in play, it will be interesting to see how much can be seen off the NBA TV telecasts.

In fact, now it is incumbent for the NCAA folks to see what they can do for the women's collegiate game with similar technology.

That said, the Guru will be back on the air later Saturday night tweeting and blogging.

Until then, see you in a few hours.

-- Mel

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