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.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Guru's College Report: Temple Tops Auburn To Snap 5-Game Plunge As Peddy Scores 27

(Guru update: Temple game is actually at Liacouras Center with Kent State Tuesday night and not in McGonigle was originally listed. below Pittsburgh also at Duke today not other way around.)

By Mel Greenberg

It was homecoming day for Temple Saturday in the Liacouras Center and the Owls celebrated their return to one of their home arenas for the first time since the season opener to thrash Auburn 73-57 looking much more like the team picked as a co-favorite in the Atlantic 10 rather than one that had made coach Tonya Cardoza endure the first five-game losing streak of her life.

“I never had a five game losing streak,” Cardoza said after the Owls (3-5) had topped the Tigers (5-2) of the Southeastern Conference. “I didn’t have one at UConn (where she was an assistant for 14 years), I never had one at Virginia (where she played) and I don’t even think I ever had one in high school.”

The win left a seven-game losing streak during the 2002-03 rebuilding season under former coach Dawn Staley as the longest one since prior to the 2000-01 season when Staley entered the coaching profession.

Senior Shey Peddy set a high for her two years at Temple following two at Wright State by scoring 27 points, shooting 11-for-16 from the field and also grabbing five steals.

Camille Glymph was the only Auburn player in double figures, scoring 12 points.

After beating Miami of Ohio next door on Nov. 11, Temple began its long trek winning at Northeastern in what was a homecoming to Boston for Cardoza and Peddy, who both grew up in nearby Roxbury, Mass.

The Owls then had a rally fall short at nationally-ranked Ohio State before being shocked two days later at Northern Illinois.
Then it was on to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam where Temple had a competitive loss to defending NCAA champion Texas A&M before squandering a 12-point lead the next day against St. John’s.

The trip finished up at another nationally ranked school as No. 11 Rutgers exacted revenge for two straight Temple wins against the Scarlet Knights.

“Finally, we got a win, whew,” she said when coming into the conference next to her office where the postgame press conference was held.

“The way these guys came out today, it says a lot. Sometimes you can feel sorry for yourself, miss another opportunity for you to step out there and try to be the best basketball team you could possibly be,” Cardoza contined.

“And I thought for long stretches of the basketball game today that we definitely showed that we’re a pretty good basketball team. We still have things to work on but I thought that was a good start for us and hopefully it will build some more confidence and we will thrive off this win for us.”

Spurred by Peddy, Temple shot 49.1 percent as a team while the Tigers were held to 35 percent.

The game was competitive in the early stages befor BJ Williams’ trey put Temple in front 11-9 with 14 minutes, 5 seconds left in the first half.

The differential slowly grew to nine points with 7:38 left and reached double digits at 11 points 31-20 with 4:12 left in the period on Brittany Lewis’ layup.

Leading by eight points at 35-27 with 1:45 left in the half, Temple exploded to finish out a 10-0 run. Joelle Connelly, who is in her second season after transferring from Hofstra, hit two foul shots, senior Kristen McCarthy hit a jumper and then in the closing second freshman Tyonna Williams nailed a 3-ball, Peddy grabbed a steal and then Lewis did likewise for a 45-27 lead.

The lead grew to 23 points late in the second half and then shrunk but never below 15 points.

The only downer was Natasha Thames leaving the game early with an undetermined knee injury.

“I felt good once my first shot when in and then they all started falling,” Peddy said of her performance. “Like (Cardoza) said, we’re home, we’re familiar the court and the realms … “

Cardoza is taking things one game at a time for now with Kent State visiting in another nonconference game on Tuesday night, which will be played here in Liacouras as the Owls look to crawl back above .500.

“We’re not looking anywhere right now,” she said. “We’re still trying to find ourselves and make sure as a group that we’re together. We’re not worried about any opponents right now. We’re just trying to focus on ourselves.”

Lewis scored nine points and Kristen McCarthy shot 4-for-8 to score eight points and also she grabbed nine rebounds and had a steal.

“Kris did a great job,” Cardoza said. “She was smarter on the defensive end, definitely smarter on the defensive end. And for the most part she didn’t take any unnecessary shots – cause some of Kris’s shots, they go in sometimes but sometimes it’s not good for us.

“But today she played both ends of the floor and she was on the backboards. The fact she played against a team that does a great job rebounding the ball, offensively, defensively, the fact she led our team in rebounding says something about her.

“But she knows that’s something she has to bring to our team. She has to be a better rebounder and I think the last couple of games she’s really been focused on trying to help us in a different way if she’s not scoring.”

Despite Temple’s record, Auburn coach Nell Fortner, a former Texas star who has coached in the WNBA and also guided the United States to the 2000 Olympic gold medal, was leery of the Owls’ capabilities to excel.

“We thought they looked good on film, they just played some tough opponents,” Fortner said. “They’re just a tough, hard-nosed team and they run their stuff well. And you have those two guards – Peddy runs the ball well and they’ve got some nice shooters.

“It was just a long day for us.”

Princeton Overcomes “Wrong Number” To Top UMBC

The Tigers (7-1), the two-time defending Ivy champions, confronted the defending America East champs (3-4) in suburban Baltimore and prevailed 56-41 in a nonconference meeting that began with an error at the scorer’s table.

Princeton coach Courtney Banghart had made one lineup change inserting Nicole Hung for her first start but then had to tipoff with Megan Bowen, whose No. 43 was entered into the official book instead of the 44 worn by senior center Devona Allgood, who has started every game since the start of her sophomore season.

Allgood made things right when she was inserted into the contest after the first deadball.

Princeton was playing its first game since coming up short at home Thursday night when No. 24 Delaware and junior sensation Elena Delle Donne became winners in the battle of two of the nation’s top mid-major squads.

“We didn’t have a lot of time to sulk,” Hung said. “It was definitely good that we had to get back at it right away. One day after our loss we had to prepare for UMBC. It was a good opportunity to beat another good team.”

No Princeton player scored in double figures but the Tigers got a trio of nine point each from Niveen Rasheed, Bowen and Hung.

The visitors’ defense was more effective than Thursday night when the Tigers would force the Blue Hens to waste most of the shot clock only to be rescued by Delle Donne many times before the horn sounded.

Leading by 12 points at the half, Princeton forced six straight turnovers and launched a 10-2 run for a commanding 38-18 advantage.

“It was nice to see us get to how we’re usually are, especially after Delaware, which was an anomaly for our normal defense effort,” Hung said.

Erin Brown had 19 points, including the 1,000th for her career, but the Retrievers had to play without three starters.

Princeton won’t play again until Friday when the Tigers return to the area and play another defending conference champion in the Patriot League’s Navy at Annapolis, Md., where the Naval Academy is located.

Penn State Edged By Texas Tech

Having topped North Carolina in their last game out the No. 16 Lady Lions were involved in another conference challenge event Saturday afternoon when Penn State traveled to Lubbock, Texas, to meet the Big 12’s Red Raiders, who are ranked 19th.

A three-pointer by Jordan Barncastle at the buzzer enhanced a narrow one-point lead to the final score and a win by Texas Tech (7-0), which stayed unbeaten and got revenge for a loss at State College and the Big Ten reps last season.

It was Penn State’s first loss since the Lady Lions (6-2) fell at Delaware early last month.

Texas Tech’s work on the boards was telling with a 48-36 advantage and coach Kristy Curry’s squad pulled down 22 offensive rebounds.

Alex Bentley, the preseason Big Ten player of the year, had a game-high 18 points while Germantown Academy graduate Maggie Lucas of Narberth in the Philadelphia suburbs scored 15 points. Nikki Greene played in her native state for the first time and scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds despite suffering in foul trouble.

Kierra Mallard had 18 points and 15 rebounds for Texas Tech, the alma mater of WNBA great Sheryl Swoopes. Casey Morris had 13 points and Monique Smalls scored 15.

The Long Way Home

Penn’s biggest adventure came after being handled Friday night by No. 3 Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
On Saturday the Quakers had to deplane and then bus to Chicago where last night they were still awaiting a plane at O’Hare airport to return to Philadelphia.

Sunday’s Action

La Salle makes its second Big Five appearance after opening with a win against Penn when the Explorers host Villanova at Tom Gola Arena at 2 p.m. It’s the first City Series game of the season for the Wildcats.

No. 24 Delaware makes its Colonial Athletic Association debut on the conference’s December Sunday when William & Mary visits the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

The CAA preseason favorites, due to a scheduling quirk, will be a non-tournament back-to-back situation, hosting Ivy runnerup Yale on Monday night.

Drexel makes its CAA debut traveling to UNC Wilmington, which is in a rebuilding mode.

Rutgers is still off until going after the best start under C. Vivian Stringer when the 8-0 Scarlet Knights, ranked 11th, play at No. 9 Miami Monday night, although by then the Hurricanes’ ranking number could change with the release of the next AP women’s poll earlier in the day.

In non-local national games defending NCAA champion Texas A&M travels to No. 13 Purdue before the fourth-ranked Aggies visit No. 2 UConn Tuesday night in Hartford, Conn., as part of the Jimmy V games.

No. 3 Notre Dame visits Creighton, while No. 5 Stanford is at Fresno State.

No. 6 Maryland is at American U., and No. 7 Duke is hosting Pittsburgh.

No. 8 Tennessee will host No. 21 Texas, and No. 10 Louisville is at No. 12 Kentucky.

No. 15 Georgia is a Georgia Tech for a local nonconference Peach Tree State tilt, and No. 17 Ohio State is at No. 18 Oklahoma.

No. 20 Georgetown hosts Rider, No. 23 Wisconsin-Green Bay hosts Northern Iowa, and No. 25 Vanderbilt hosts High Point.

-- Mel


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