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, October 19, 2011

Guru's College Notes: CAA Coaches Make Delaware Confront Its Destiny

Guru's note: There is also a men's/women's story at Philly.com covering both men and women on CAA day for The Inquirer sports department print section.

By Mel Greenberg

PENTAGON CITY, Va. –
The Colonial Athletic Association does not offer Survivor when the conference holds its annual preseason media day for its collegiate men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Nevertheless Delaware veteran women’s basketball coach Tina Martin has certainly found the occasion to be her own reality show thanks to the greatest high school talent to come out of the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

And for Martin, she has had to have a certain constitution to persevere, not that her job has ever come close to being on the line, even when the Blue Hens experienced a recent two-year slump caused by graduation.

Four years ago in the fall of 2008 Martin had to offer a rat-a-tat non-stop string of no comment, not talking, statements at this event to friend and foe alike after Elena Delle Donne, the former national high school player of the year, had put the powerful Connecticut program and, for the moment, the sport she loved in her rearview mirror to return near her home and enroll in the Blue Hens volleyball program.

But over the ensuing winter after never having lifted much of a strong recruiting finger when the 6-foot-5 guard-forward Delle Donne was doing her thing at Wilmington’s Ursuline Academy, Martin found that answering a knock on the office door sometimes works even better than a home visit.

Delle Donne wanted back in the sport and she wanted it at a school in the CAA, a conference that continues to be one of the great quasi-secrets with the often-misused tag of mid-major to compare the competition to the likes of the Big East and Atlantic Coast Conferences.

And so a year later, Martin was doing a 180-degree turn when this affair was still being held across the Potomac River at the former ESPN Zone in the nation’s capital.

She had Delle Donne in the fold but spent most of the day trying to calm everyone down pointing out the Blue Hens were definitely on the way back, courtesy of other talent being eclipsed by the media focus on Martin’s prized freshman.

Adjustments were going to have to be made all over the place and Delaware was definitely not going to transform overnight into a machine but the road ahead was definitely looking to become an expressway back to the glory days before the slump.

However, soon after a solid debut at St. Francis, Pa., in the mountains of central Pennsylvania, Delle Donne endured a bunch of nagging injuries that caused her go back and forth from domination on the court to sitting on the sidelines in the role of a cheerleader.

The most notorious was when she missed several games after accidentally stepping into a pothole in a parking lot near her dorm following a snowstorm.

There were a slew of excruciating losses in terms of narrow setbacks in the closing minutes against the top teams in the CAA of that season.

However, the rookie season ended with Delaware earning a bid to the NWIT and Delle Donne doing a rarity in the conference by claiming both the player and rookie of the year trophies.

So forward progress meant that last season had much ahead on the horizon. However, after being a scoring machine in the first few games, Delle Donne mysteriously removed herself during the opening minutes of the road stop at La Salle in nearby Philadelphia complaining of fatigue.

Martin had already suffered one loss overlooked because of the attention Delle Donne draws when point guard Kayla Miller couldn’t play because of back problems.

So first having to endure backcourt by committee, Martin had to steer the Blue Hens through much of the season not knowing if or when her star player might return.

Ultimately came the diagnosis of Lyme Disease, and once the treatments began Delle Donne, who averaged a nation’s best 25 points when she did play, willed her way back into the lineup near the end of the season and things began to happen.

Seeded seventh in the CAA tournament, Delaware shocked former perennial power Old Dominion in the quarterfinals, another rarity that perhaps sealed the fate of longtime Lady Monarchs coach Wendy Larry.

Then another upset occurred over UNC Wilmington, whose new coach Cynthia Cooper, the WNBA Hall of Fame legend, had quickly helped the Seahawks shed their doormat image in the conference.

Suddenly Delaware was one win away from a CAA tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

But playing a fourth game in four days against defending champion James Madison and senior scoring star Dawn Evans became too much to overcome.

All of that, however, was reduced to past history Tuesday morning with the announcement that for the first time since joining the CAA for the 2000-01 season Delaware was picked by the conference coaches to fulfill the promise.

And this time around Martin had plenty to say, ready to accept the challenge, and represented her colleagues on the women’s side with remarks during the official short program part of the day.

And why not?

Miller is healthy, five starters are back supported from the reserves by six more letterwinners, including former St. Joseph’s standout freshman Sarah Acker, who after a year back on the court following a transfer from the Hawks could fortify the post attack.

But Delle Donne is the biggest reason, having gotten back on track with a stellar performance for the United States gold medalists at the World University Games.

“It’s been an interesting journey to say the least with Elena,” Martin stated the obvious before drawing a stream of media seeking interviews. “Certainly the games she missed in the first two years have not helped us as far as where we want to be.

“But she is healthy now and if we can keep her healthy, there is a great expectation on this team,” Martin continued. “We have a couple of players who are nursing nagging little injuries but that’s part of basketball. That’s the way it’s going to be.

“There’s not a team or season when someone doesn’t have something wrong with them so you play through it, you do the best you can and hopefully you’re successful and you go to postseason and you have great years,” Martin added.

“And this season is no different. We’re excited. I think we have a lot of talent on our team. And now it’s a matter of pulling them all together and letting them play together so we can become the team that, on paper, everybody is looking at and trying to figure out how good is Delaware going to be.

“I really don’t have that answer yet. But we’re working at it. We’re working to be the team that a lot of people think we are.”

Martin did allow herself to look back to the struggles of last season, though Delaware finished 20-14 overall and a fifth-place tie in the CAA with a 10-8 conference record.

Now the question being whispered in the underbelly is whether Delle Donne, whose natural senior season is ahead, will forego her final year of eligibility in 2012-13 to make the same move as former Tennessee All-American Candace Parker did in leaping to the WNBA, which allows that kind of action from undergraduates.

“If they can’t afford it, I’ll gladly pay the travel expenses for anyone in the WNBA who wants to follow Elena this season,” one coach joked about finding away to limiting Delle Donne’s potential over the rest of the conference to a one-year stand.

Delle Donne has already said, like her good friend UConn’s Caroline Doty who has been set back by recurring knee injuries, that she plans to see her time in Newark all the way through.

However, with Baylor sensation Brittney Griner not due to graduate until 2013, there’s speculation that Delle Donne could become the overall No. 1 pick if she comes out after this season.

But the ownership of the top pick is unknown at the moment until the draft lottery. There is the chance that recently-crowned WNBA champion Minnesota, holding ownership of the Washington Mystics’ first-round pick, could land another overall No. 1 choice, which would be ironic considering the Lynx ran away with the regular season and the playoffs winning 7-of-8 games along the way.

Martin can’t worry about the far future. She has continuously said she will support whatever Delle Donne wants to do to bring herself happiness and as of Tuesday for Delaware the only future that has meaning is the one that has become now.

-- Mel

8 Comments:

Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 09.17
nike air max, gucci handbags, red bottom shoes, michael kors handbags, ugg boots clearance, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet online, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton, cheap oakley sunglasses, tory burch outlet online, burberry outlet online, ray ban outlet, louis vuitton handbags, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, prada handbags, ugg australia, michael kors outlet, replica watches, christian louboutin outlet, ugg outlet, christian louboutin, polo ralph lauren, louis vuitton outlet, cheap ugg boots outlet, oakley sunglasses, oakley vault, burberry outlet online, christian louboutin shoes, nike air max, tiffany jewelry, prada outlet, cheap ugg boots, michael kors outlet online sale, replica watches, nike free, michael kors outlet online, longchamp outlet online, longchamp handbags, tiffany and co, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet store, nike outlet, jordan shoes

1:47 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

michael kors uk, michael kors outlet online, ray ban uk, scarpe hogan, ray ban pas cher, lacoste pas cher, coach purses, ralph lauren pas cher, burberry pas cher, lululemon outlet online, hollister, hermes pas cher, nike roshe run, coach outlet, nike blazer pas cher, tn pas cher, longchamp, hollister uk, new balance pas cher, louboutin, chanel handbags, kate spade outlet, michael kors, vans pas cher, north face, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, true religion outlet, air jordan, nike air max, north face pas cher, longchamp pas cher, true religion jeans, nike free pas cher, true religion, air max pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, timberland pas cher, kate spade outlet online, guess pas cher, coach outlet, converse pas cher, coach outlet store online, michael kors canada, nike air force

1:49 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike free, nike air max, reebok shoes, ghd, wedding dresses, celine handbags, beats headphones, nfl jerseys, air max, jimmy choo shoes, mac cosmetics, hollister, mcm handbags, north face jackets, abercrombie and fitch, vans outlet, baseball bats, mont blanc pens, asics shoes, nike air max, ralph lauren uk, longchamp, giuseppe zanotti, p90x workout, nike trainers, insanity workout, instyler ionic styler, soccer jerseys, lululemon outlet, abercrombie and fitch, north face jackets, herve leger, ferragamo shoes, valentino shoes, birkin bag, nike roshe, mulberry uk, nike air huarache, chi flat iron, hollister clothing store, nike roshe, bottega veneta, soccer shoes, babyliss, new balance outlet

1:55 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

air max, pandora uk, coach outlet, ugg soldes, replica watches, toms outlet, vans, ray ban, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, converse, supra shoes, karen millen, hollister canada, marc jacobs handbags, louis vuitton pas cher, doke gabbana outlet, ugg boots, links of london uk, swarovski jewelry, ugg, iphone case, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online, thomas sabo uk, louis vuitton uk, timberland boots, pandora jewelry, juicy couture, uggs canada, converse shoes, louboutin, swarovski uk, oakley, sac lancel, montre femme, louis vuitton canada, abercrombie, ralph lauren, sac louis vuitton, gucci, michael kors handbags, juicy couture outlet, ugg, pandora charms, wedding dress
ninest123 09.17

1:59 AM  
Blogger 风骚达哥 said...

20151006 junda
canada goose jackets
Abercrombie and Fitch Outlet Sale
Louis Vuitton Bags On Sale
Michael Kors Outlet Free Shipping
oakley sunglasses,oakley vault,prescription sunglasses,polarized sunglasses,aviator sunglasses,spy sunglasses,oakleys,oakley canada,cheap oakley sunglasses,oakley frogskins,oakley holbrook,cheap sunglasses,wayfarer sunglasses,oakley standard issue,fake oakleys,oakley glasses,oakley.com,oakley prescription glasses,oakley goggles,sunglasses for men,oakley gascan,oakley store,oakleys sunglasses
michael kors outlet
Hollister Clothes for Girls Website
Coach Outlet Store Online Shop
Coach Factory Outlet Online Sale
timberland boots for women
coach outlet
Michael Kors Outlet Online No Tax
Coach Factory Outlet Private Sale
fitflops
michael kors outlet
Ugg Boots,Ugg Boots Outlet,Ugg Outlet,Cheap Uggs,Uggs On Sale,Ugg Boots Clearance,Uggs For Women
michael kors outlet
michael kors
coach factory outlet
true religion outlet
Michael Kors Outlet Deals Online
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton outlet
ugg boots outlet
Abercrombie And Fitch Kids Online
cheap toms shoes
tory burch outlet
Christian Louis Vuitton Red Bottoms
Louis Vuitton Luxury Official Website
ralph lauren uk

6:53 AM  
Blogger Qing Cai said...

cheap snapbacks, http://www.cheapsnapbacks.us.com/
coach handbags, http://www.coachhandbagsoutletonline.us.com/
the north face outlet, http://www.northface-outlet.cc/
hogan, http://www.scarpehogan-outlet.it/
michael kors outlet, http://michaelkors.outletonlinestores.us.com/
ugg uk, http://www.cheapuggboots.me.uk/
nike roshe, http://www.nikerosherunshoes.co.uk/
abercrombie and fitch, http://www.abercrombie-fitch.us.com/
ugg boots, http://www.uggbootsclearance.in.net/
michael kors handbags, http://www.michaelkorshandbagsoutletstore.us.com/
ghd hair straighteners, http://www.ghdhairstraightenerssale.co.uk/
air max 2015, http://www.airmax2015.in.net/
nike air max uk, http://www.nikeairmaxshoes.org.uk/
christian louboutin, http://www.scarpelouboutin.it/
nike air force 1, http://www.airforce1.us.com/
cheap ugg boots, http://www.cheapuggboots.net.co/
nike huarache, http://www.nikeairhuarache.org.uk/
louis vuitton handbags, http://www.louisvuittonhandbagsoutlet.co.uk/
michael kors outlet store, http://www.michaelkorsoutlet-store.us.com/
canada goose outlet, http://www.canadagoose.us.org/
air max 90, http://www.airmax90.us.com/
football shirts, http://www.cheapfootballshirt.org.uk/
oakley sunglasses, http://www.oakleysunglassescanada.com/
louis vuitton handbags, http://www.louisvuittonhandbag.us/
polo ralph lauren, http://www.poloralphlauren.us.org/
cai2015107

11:18 PM  
Blogger Zheng junxai5 said...

2015-10-14 zhengjx
ugg boots
ugg boots
Ray Ban Sunglasses Outlet Store Online
coach factory outlet
toms outlet
coach factory outlet online
Abercrombie & Fitch Clothing With Big Discount
Cheap Jordan 13 Shoes For Sale Free Shipping
Ugg Boots,Ugg Boots Outlet,Ugg Outlet,Cheap Uggs,Uggs On Sale,Ugg Boots Clearance,Uggs For Women
Louis Vuitton Outlet Handbags Pursers In USA
michael kors handbags
ugg boots sale
ralph lauren
louis vuitton
Kobe Shoes,Kobe 9,Kobe 8 Discount
Mont Blanc Pens For Sale
Cheap Michael Kors Handbags On Sale
Christian Louboutin Outlet For Women
Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags Luggage Bags Sale
michael kors outlet
abercrombie & fitch
coach outlet store online
Louis Vuitton Outlet Authentic Handbags Discount
fitflops
Hollister UK Clothing Store
canada goose
michale kors outlet
Christian Louboutin Shoes Outlet Sale Cheap Price
Canada Goose,Canada Goose Outlet,Canada Goose Jackets,Canada Goose Sale
Cheap Jordans Shoes For Sale

4:47 AM  
Blogger 柯云 said...

2016-07-08keyun
michael kors outlet online
nike running shoes for men
louis vuitton purses
ray ban sunglasses wholesale
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors purses
louis vuitton outlet
louis vuitton handbags
abercrombie and fitch
coach outlet canada
nike blazers shoes
nike store
coach outlet clearance
jordan 11
toms shoes
supra shoes
adidas nmd
coach outlet
louis vuitton outlet
true religion jeans
true religion outlet online
adidas superstar shoes
coach outlet clearance
louis vuitton outlet stores
nike sb dunks
nike uk
burberry handbags
true religion outlet
nike roshe run
montblanc pen
louis vuitton outlet stores
air max 95
fitflop shoes
lebron 12
air jordan homme
longchamp handbags
asics shoes for women
tiffany rings
coach factory outlet

2:05 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home