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, June 07, 2011

Guru's WNBA Report: Mazzante Lands "Dream" Job

By Mel Greenberg

Well, apparently there was a little news after all in what is normally "Idle Monday" on the WNBA schedule.

Penn State and Big Ten Conference all-time scorer Kelly Mazzante, who was one of the final cut victims last Thursday as the San Antonio Silver Stars got down to the 11-player roster limit, has been picked up by the reigning Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream.

Mazzante, a terrific perimeter shooter, had four threes in the recent preseason game between San Antonio and the Connecticut Sun at the Mohegan Sun casino-entertainment establishment in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., not far from where she grew up.

During this past season when the Lady Lions returned to prominence in Happy Valley, some of Mazzante's freshman marks were eclipsed by a new scoring threat -- Maggie Lucas out of Germantown Academy in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Here is the Dream official announcement.

ATLANTA, June 6, 2011 — The Atlanta Dream announced today the team has signed guard Kelly Mazzante and waived guard Brittainey Raven.

“Kelly is the type of player that can step up and contribute right away,” said Dream General Manager and Head Coach Marynell Meadors. “It was a difficult decision to let Brittainey go, but I am excited about what Kelly brings to our team. She is a veteran leader and an outside scoring threat that can stretch the defense. Her experience and ability to spot up and knock down the shot is going to help us.”

Mazzante, a six-year veteran, helped the Phoenix Mercury to a WNBA championship in 2007. The all-time leading scorer in Big Ten conference history (male or female), Mazzante was originally drafted by the Charlotte Sting in the second round of the 2004 WNBA Draft. She played her first three seasons in Charlotte before being acquired by the Phoenix Mercury in 2007.

Mazzante was dealt to New York in 2010 as part of a three-team trade involving Cappie Pondexter but was waived prior to the start of the season. Most recently she was in training camp with the San Antonio Silvers but was waived prior to the start of the 2011 regular season. In her six-year WNBA career, she is averaging 14.7 minutes, 4.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game, shooting 34.1% from beyond the arc.

Incidentally, Mazzante will be in Newark, N.J. at the Prudential Center next Tuesday night when Atlanta visits the New York Liberty.

Starkey Knighted

It's a college item but having been an assistant at LSU to Van Chancellor gives Bob Starkey WNBA DNA. He also was on Sue Gunter's and Pokey Chatman's staffs with the Tigers.

Anyhow, one of the loose ends of the recent turnstile of coaching changes was tied up with the news that Starkey has become an assistant on Joi Williams staff with the Knights at Central Florida or UCF as it is more known these days.

Ironically Starkey ends up going to limbo and back through the two biggest of the moves with the exits of Chancellor at LSU and Debbie Ryan at Virginia, neither of which were apparently initiated by either Hall of Fame coach.

Chancellor's departure left Starkey temporarily unemployed when former UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell was hired at LSU and did not retain one of the genuine good guys in the sport.

However, and follow the bouncing ball, Ryan was replaced at Virginia by Joanne Boyle, who was then replaced at Cal by Lindsay Gottlieb, who was then replaced at UC Santa Barbara by former Rutgers associate head coach Carlene Mitchell, who then hired on her staff former Scarlet Knight Courtney Locke, who had been an aide at UCF, leaving the vacancy at the Conference USA champions enabling Starkey to be brought aboard.

Meanwhile, there's still Old Dominion, which is looking for a new dominion in replacing longtime coach Wendy Larry.

Watch This Space

Actually, watch the headline and upper space in the next 24 hours or so.

What happens when you have someone from Michigan who was a basketball manager at Missouri and is a big Notre Dame fan who also has worked at NFL Films, which is headquartered in South Jersey in the Philadelphia suburbs near the Guru's home?

The answer is a new member of the blogerette patrol, who will be riding shotgun here on the WNBA and Summer League trails a bunch the next several months. Depending on where things are in August, the road could also extend to the college world.

That's all the Guru will say on the matter at the moment until the official introductions are completed.

-- Mel


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