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.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Guru's College Report: Temple Will Face Duke And Texas A&M

(Guru’s Note: The WNBA Roundup is above this post).

By Mel Greenberg

Though the focus over here the next month is still the WNBA and the playoffs just ahead, now that September has rolled in and Labor Day is in the past tense, there is some college odds and ends on the local front.

Temple has yet to announce its non-conference schedule, but via other schools who have already released theirs, the Guru can tell you the Owls will continue their rugged preparatory drill for the Atlantic 10 the first two months of the season.

Duke and Rutgers remain on Temple’s list of past opponents with the Blue Devils slated to come here on Dec. 30 while the Owls will be traveling up the road to Rutgers on Nov. 30.

That’s just after Temple returns from the Junkanoo Jam tournament in Freeport in the Bahamas in the Caribbean where the Owls will meet defending NCAA champion Texas A&M on Nov. 25 and then either Iowa or St. John’s.

Temple was supposed to be playing Penn State, according to a report the Guru heard last spring but apparently the Lady Lions had other fish to fry, though that was not the exact quote given the Guru several weeks ago.

The Owls played Auburn and UCLA on the road and Ohio State here but it is not known if there are returns slated. UCLA has a new coach in the wake of Nikki Caldwell’s hire at LSU.

PSU, which is expected to release its Big 10 slate Wednesday, will appear just down the road playing Delaware Nov. 17 in a return game from last season.

The Lady Lions, fresh off a return to the NCAA tournament after an absence of several seasons, have Big 10 freshman of the year Maggie Lucas, a Germantown Academy graduate, among several players with Philadelphia connections.

Penn is traveling to meet NCAA runner up Notre Dame on Dec. 2 and that will be a homecoming for Quakers Associate Athletic Director Mary DiStanislao, who was the Irish’s first basketball coach after they declared for Division I in the early 1980s. She also coached Northwestern and was an assistant to Cathy Rush at Immaculata.

Rutgers recently released its entire schedule and as mentioned the Scarlet Knights will visit La Salle, Nov. 19, and will travel to Villanova on the Big East schedule February 18.

Connecticut visits Villanova Jan. 14 on the Huskies’ first visit to Philadelphia since winning the NCAA regional in March at Temple over Duke. Hopefully, Caroline Duty, the Germantown Academy grad, will have returned to action from her recurring knee injury.

Villanova coach Harry Perretta will begin the season two wins short of career number 600 – a milestone reached last season by Philadelphia University coach and athletic director Tom Shirley.

The Wildcats announced their schedule Thursday at the team’s website.

It may take a short wait for Perretta to hit the milestone since Villanova will be an underdog in the season opener against Michigan State in Iona’s tournament on Nov. 11 and then either play the host school or North Carolina A&T the next night.

Then its off to perennial Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Marist and then to two-time defending Ivy champion Princeton.

Delaware, with junior Elena Delle Donne, visits Nov. 22, and then on Thanksgiving weekend the Wildcats will actually host Philadelphia University of the Sciences on Nov. 26.

That means a homecoming of sorts for the Devils’ all-everything (except coach) Bob Heller, who once was part of Perretta’s program.

Back to Rutgers schedule, Tennessee will visit on December 13 while DePaul, with Philadelphia-native Keisha Hampton, visits January 24 and a week later NCAA runner up Notre Dame visits, both also part of the Big East schedule. This season Rutgers travels to Connecticut on Feb. 4.

St. Joseph’s hasn’t released its schedule yet but in the Hawks’ annual tournament the Shields sisters could face each other again for the second time in less than a year when Boston College visits.

Erin, one of the top scorers in the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women’s Basketball Summer League, will be a sophomore on the Hawks while Kerri is a senior with the Eagles. Both are Archbishop Carroll graduates.

They met at the end of last season with Boston College winning at home in the second round of the NWIT.
Incidentally, their mother Renie, the university’s compliance director at her alma mater, is a candidate to succeed Ellen Ryan, who is retiring from being an associate athletic and was also the Hawks’ first women’s basketball coach.

A sendoff by the university is planned for Monday.

Drexel Abroad

Denise Dillon’s Dragons, expected to be one of the contenders along with Delaware for this season’s Colonial Athletic Association championship, is getting a jump-start on the season with a trip to Italy that began over the weekend.

The team’s website has ongoing coverage and pictures of the trip.

Hollie Mershon and Kamike Nacickaite each scored 20 points in a 97-59 win over Pomezia to start competitive part of the tour while in the second game to date, Nacickaite had 22 points and Tyler Hale scored 11 in a 65-46 win over AD Firenze Basket.

There are pictures of the group’s visit to the Vatican, which means perhaps one can say Drexel now has a prayer when Dawn Staley returns home this winter with her South Carolina squad to meet the Dragons at the Daskalalis Athletic Center.

You’re Hired

Some recent additions not reported here are La Salle’s hire of Pitt graduate Shayla Scott as an assistant to Jeff Williams, who coached her when he was an aide to Agnus Berenato prior to his hire by the Explorers a year ago.

She will work with the post players.

St. Joseph’s has added John MCray, a 2011 graduate of Ohio State, who had a similar rule with the Buckeyes coached by former Hawks women’s coach Jim Foster.

Coach Cindy Griffin also recently announced the incoming transfer of three players – former Cardinal O’Hara star Natasha Cloud, who was a Maryland freshman last season, Chatilla Van Grinsven, the young sister of the Hawks’ senior Samira Van Grinsven from Colorado State, and Kelsey Berger, a two-year letter winner at the Air Force Academy.

-Mel

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