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, December 07, 2011

Guru's College Report: Temple Posts Second Straight Rout

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA –
Nearly a week ago a virtual two-week break in the schedule sounded appetizing to Temple coach Tonya Cardoza the way her Owls were suffering on the road with a five-game losing streak culminating with last Thursday’s wipeout loss at No. 11 Rutgers.

But after two lopsided wins after returning home for the first time since opening night on Nov. 11 Cardoza wouldn’t mind if the slate said otherwise.

“I thought that was one of the best defensive games we’ve played this year,” Cardoza said Tuesday night at the Owls’ Liacouras Center following a 68-33 win over Kent State (1-6) that followed Saturday’s 73-57 win over Auburn.

“I thought we really did a good job of getting out and pressuring – pressuring passers, getting into the passing lanes and making things difficult for them,” Cardoza said.

“And then going down the other end and trying to get easy opportunities,” she continued. “Early on we weren’t converting but I thought in the second half we did a better job of converting easy shots.

“I think, obviously being home definitely helps and getting that first win at home over the last couple of weeks was definitely good for us. But now I think these guys are getting more confident and understanding exactly what we have to do to win basketball games,” she added.

“And putting two games that are good games are definitely good, it just stinks that now we have to go on break. But we’ll try to keep things sharp and keep things going so we don’t have any letups.”

When they return to action, the Owls (4-5) will host UCLA on Dec. 20, Villanova in a key Big Five game on Dec. 22 and then seventh-ranked Duke on Dec. 30.

Junior Diamon Beckford, a graduate of Upper Darby High making a homecoming appearance in front of family and friends, including a contingent from her alma mater, scored the first two points to give the Golden Flashes their only lead before the Owls erupted on a 15-0 run that gave them total control the rest of the way.

Brittany Lewis scored 14 points while Senior Shey Peddy, the reigning Atlantic 10 conference player of the week, scored 13 points as did senior Kristen McCarthy.

Temple forced Kent State into 24 turnovers and only committed 12.

The Owls ruled the backboards with a 52-24 advantage, including 25-6 on the offensive end.

BJ Williams dealt eight assists and grabbed six steals. In the paint, in part fueled by fast break attacks Temple had a 40-12 advantage and also overwhelmed the Golden Flashes on second chance points 22-5.

Itziar Llobet scored 13 for Kent State while Beckford finished with nine points, five rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.
Temple’s bench got in some quality minutes with a 19-5 advantage against the Golden Flashes’ reserves.

“The biggest difference is defensively,” Cardoza said of the improvement of her freshman from the opening day of practice. “At practice making sure they understand to play defense.

“Like Rateska (Williams) is a pretty good scorer but she was struggling understanding the concepts defensively. And every single day at practice she’s been getting better – so she’s getting better that means more playing time for her.

“The same with Monaye (Merritt). Because she’s going to be a point guard at practice she’s got to make sure she’s taking care of the ball and understand exactly what’s going on. And over the last couple of weeks she’s been doing a really good job so you have to reward them with playing time.”

Meanwhile, junior forward Natasha Thames, who went down in the Auburn game with an apparent knee injury, is done for the year, according to Cardoza.

Working the game as part of the officiating crew was Desiree Peterkin, a former operations director at St. Joseph’s who also worked WNBA New York Liberty games at Madison Square Garden several years ago running statistics to the media during games.

Peterkin, who also teaches in Baltimore, has moved up to Division I this season drawing assignments in five conferences, including the Atlantic 10 and Ivy League.

She will return to the area Saturday night when Penn hosts Army at The Palestra in what will be another homecoming for Army coach Dave Magarrity.

Penn State Thousand Point Club Gets New Member

Senior Alex Bentley, the preseason Big 10 player of the year, scored 11 points in No. 17 Penn State’s 66-28 win over Virginia Tech in the Lady Lions’ Bryce Jordan Center in State College which was enough to make her the 33rd member of the program’s 1,000-point club when her seventh tally in the first half was recorded.

The defensive effort by Penn State (7-2) in the nonconference game saddled the Hokies (2-5) with their lowest point total ever plunging past the 33 allowed by Tennessee during the 1994-95 season.

The low yield on the Penn State side was slightly more than the 21 the Lady Lions held against Rider in a 95-21 victory on Nov. 10, 2010 a little over a year ago.

Maggie Lucas, a graduate of Germantown Academy and resident of Narberth, Pa., in the Philly suburbs, scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds, which were both team bests.

Nikki Greene scored 14 points in the Penn State attack.

The club may soon get another as Lucas, only a sophomore, crossed her 700th career point.

The Lady Lions closed out with a 26-0 run shutting down the Hokies over the final 13 minutes, 15 seconds of the contest.

Phila. U. Handles Georgian Court

Coach Tom Shirley got double figure scoring efforts from four players in Philadelphia University’s 71-53 win over Georgian Court in a Division II Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference game at the Rams’ Gallagher Center.

Stephanie Agger scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds as the Rams (6-2, 2-0 CACC) won their third straight.

Christine Wooding had 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals while Najah Jacobs scored 12 and Kristen Blye had 10 points.
Shauneia McPherson scored 16 points to top Georgian Court (1-5, 0-1).

Next up for the Rams is a conference visit from Nyack on Saturday at 5 p.m.

UConn Routs Continue

Second-ranked Connecticut stayed unbeaten at 8-0 and saddled defending NCAA champion Texas A&M with a two-game losing streak by beating the Aggies 81-51 at the XL Center in Hartford before a crowd of 12,623 persons.

Tiffany Hayes and freshman sensation Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each scored 14 points for the Huskies in the annual Jimmy V. Classic.
Texas A&M (6-2) arrived off a loss at then-No. 13 Purdue on Sunday night
.
Kelly Faris enhanced the Huskies attack with 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Caroline Doty, a Germantown Academy graduate out of Dowingtown, Pa., in the Philly burbs scored 11 after she had missed most of last Wednesday’s home win over Towson after suffering a concussion.

Doty missed all of last season with a third recurring knee injury and has had battled several other ailments fighting her way back to active duty this season.

Connecticut’s first road trip is on Friday at Seton Hall and will be part of the single-game Big East December slate prior to the rest of the conference action that gets under way in January.

Seven of the eight wins have resulted in lopsided results with the only competitive game being against then-No. 3 Stanford 68-58, also at the XL Center with the Cardinal being the only other ranked team the Huskies have faced.

They travel to top-ranked Baylor on Dec. 18 in what looms as another 1-2 showdown after the Bears recently topped Notre Dame in Waco, Texas, in the title game of the WNIT tournament.

Tyra White had 14 for Texas A&M, which is headed to the Southeastern Conference from the Big 12 next season.

In an usual announcement in terms of being made a year in advance ESPN said Connecticut, which should be loaded again next year, will return to the Jimmy V Classic hosting Maryland at either the XL Center or the Huskies Gampel Pavilion campus arena in nearby Storrs next season.
The two will then play again during the 2013-14 season at the Terrapins’ Comcast Center. It is the first time the two programs have met though both have been national powers along the Eastern Seaboard for quite a while.

Maryland was on a collision course to play UConn in the Sweet 16 in Philadelphia last season in the NCAA tournament but the Terrapins were upset by Georgetown in College Park, Md.

They might have met in the 2006 NCAA Final Four championship in Boston, but Duke nipped Connecticut in the regional final and went on to lose to the Blue Devils’ ACC-rival Terrapins in overtime in the title game.

The win was UConn’s 91st straight at home, an extension of the Huskies’ NCAA record that includes both facilities and hosting appearances in NCAA and Big East tournaments.

-- Mel

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