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.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Guru's Musings: Odds And Ends

By Mel Greenberg

First, the Guru has been providing some coverage for Full Court Press of the WNBA playoffs so if you go over there at fullcourt.com you can catch up.

This is a mixture of things both pro and college.

The Guru begins with this thought: Someone in recent times tired of the ongoing collection of Big East women's basketball titles, with an exception here and there, won by Connecticut, suggested that perhaps they should retire the Huskies from the competition and let it be a more open affair.

Considering the current news of the day, it now looks like they might retire the conference first.

The Guru guesses that Pitt coach Agnus Berenato won't be asked to speak on behalf of the women's coaches at the Big East media day in New York next month. That first game with Georgia Tech should be interesting.

Congratulations to the Guru's good friend Larry Dougherty, associate athletic director of media relations at Temple athletics who unwittingly became the Guru's 1,000th follower on twitter @womhoopsguru Friday. Larry just finished serving his one-year run as president of the Collegiate Sports Information Directors Association. CoSIDA.

Spoke with former Virginia coach Debbie Ryan the other day to congratulate her on her appointment as an assistant coach on the USABasketball Pan American team with former WNBA Los Angeles Sparks coach Jen Gillom under former Colorado coach Ceal Barry.

The stint will be a two-week run and a committee will select college players. At the moment, Ryan has been having a delightful summer up in Seattle where she has been a volunteer assistant with the WNBA Storm.

Speaking of USA Basketball, spoke the other day to Duquesne coach Suzie McConnell-Serio to tell her that in a few hours she would no longer be the only coach in WNBA history to take the Minnesota Lynx to the playoffs.

This past summer McConnell-Serio was an assistant to Iowa State's Bill Fennelly on the gold-medal winning World University Games squad for USA Basketball.

Her take on Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, who was the leading scorer and rebounder on the squad: "What a great player. And besides that, what a great person. She was a joy to work with. She'd hang around after practice to work on her shooting and a few other things.

The Seattle Storm's Sue Bird and San Antonio Silver Stars' Ruth Riley shared the WNBA Kim Perrott Sportsmanship Award.
They should have held off the presentation until former Hartford Courtant UConn women's beat writer Jeff Goldberg got on the scene. Both appear prominently in his book Bird at the Buzzer about the 2001 Big East title game.

Bird, of course, won the game for UConn, but Riley, who was on the opposing side, got revenge several weeks later leading Notre Dame to a win in the national semifinals at the Women's Final Four in St. Louis.

Hmmm, most of that storyline almost duplicated itself last April in Indianapolis.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley on her former Temple star Candice Dupree's 29-point performance Saturday night to keep the Phoenix Mercury alive in their semifinal series in the West against Seattle: "She was doing it all."

Connecticut Sun star Kara Lawson, the former Tennessee standout who also is an ESPN broadcaster, donated $5,000 to the Fallen Patriot Fund of the Mark Cuban Foundation. The donation in her name was made through the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award program.

The fund was established to help families of U.S. military personnel who were killed or seriously injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In the now-concluded Connecticut-Atlanta series the Dream were the only road team to win a semifinals opener in the WNBA playoffs and on Sunday the Sun could have been the only road team to win a Game 2 until they faded in the fourth quarter.

Good thing the Guru played it safe Friday night after the game and stopped at Frank Pepe's Pizza on restaurant row at the Mohegan Sun. It was a tough choice but one more trip could occur if they have a separate press conference for Tina Charles if she win's the MVP award.

That's the way it played out last year when the Sun missed the playoffs but a separate event was held to give Charles the rookie of the year award.

That said, will be recapping New York-Indiana from afar, not on site, for Full Court but will be back here with other pearls at the next sunrise.

-- Mel

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