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, January 11, 2012

Guru's College Report: Dayton's First Road Win Becomes St. Joe's First Home Loss

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA – If Dayton is the opponent and you have found ways to reduce contributions from Flyers senior Justine Raterman you might feel good about your chances to step away with the victory.

Well, in an arena with a lively Tuesday lunchtime crowd of 2,451 predominantly school age youngsters for the annual Fieldtrip to the Fieldhouse promotion by St. Joseph’s, that was about the only positive that the Hawks could take away from what actually became a field day for Dayton in the Flyers’ 65-51 triumph in the Atlantic 10 contest.

Raterman, considered the top player on the Atlantic 10 co-favorite picked with Temple by the conference coaches, played only 11 minutes in the first half and was held scoreless missing a three-pointer in her only field goal attempt before being pulled back by Dayton coach Jim Jabir.

She saw slightly more action the rest of the way and finished with nine points shooting 3-for-9 from the field.

“She wasn’t getting her shot and we had others who were getting the job done and I thought we did a terrific job defensively,” veteran Dayton coach Jim Jabir said without intending any malice toward his all-American candidate.

Indeed, if the Hawks (10-5, 1-1 Atlantic 10) accomplished their primary goal, that was the only thing they were able to do while being handcuffed offensively by the Flyers (10-4, 2-0) who won their first road game of the year while the Hawks suffered their first lost, which will also be the site of the Atlantic 10 tournament in March.

Andrea Hoover was the only Dayton player in double figures, scoring 18 points, but center had a game-high 10 rebounds as the Flyers dominated the boards 44-34.

Ashley Prim scored 12 for the Hawks, who were handled inside 36-22, outscored in transition 19-4, and also losing out badly on second chance points 13-4.

Being hounded into 27 turnovers, St. Joseph’s was also on the losing end of fast break points 14-6 and Dayton made it a statistical sweep with the Flyers bench winning out 25-16.

Dayton certainly looked like a team that could land in the NCAA tournament for a third straight season though the Flyers were nowhere to be found on ESPN women’s bracketologist Charlie Creme’s early prediction of the 64-team field and pairings with sites.

The only Atlantic 10 teams listed were St. Bonaventure, which will visit Temple at 7 p.m. Wednesday night, in the Liacouras Center, and St. Joseph’s.

And so, one thought about the way that projection could become pregame blackboard fodder for Jabir considering his team was ignored and the one his Flyers were about to face weren’t.

But strike that concept carrying pre-game motivation.

“What did he say?” Jabir responded when presented with the theory. “I hadn’t seen anything. I had no idea.”

Meanwhile St. Joseph’s coach Cindy Griffin is looking for ideas to make sure her squad can recover quickly when it briefly steps outside the conference schedule Saturday in Hagan Arena when an improved Penn team visits for a Big Five game that will be just the second City Series clash of the season for both teams.

Penn, first, will be trying to recover from a similar Ivy thrashing Saturday from Princeton when the Quakers host NJIT in The Palestra Wednesday night.

“I think Dayton was very well prepared,” Griffin said. “They took away a lot of our stuff today. We didn’t get anything in transition, we got no threes off (0-for-4), and I thought they did a nice job on our point guards – I thought our point guards were a little bit off today.

“There was no flow to what we were doing. I think Dayton had a lot to do with that. But turning the ball over 27 times is uncharacteristic for us and I think we had some lead up to that – mishandling balls and just not good enough care of the ball.”

Incidentally, though Dayton’s game was over hours before No. 3 Connecticut bounced back from the weekend loss at No. 2 Notre Dame – the ranking numbers were reversed at the time – to beat Providence 96-35 in Hartford, Jabir knew firsthand what was in store for the Friars.

“When I was coaching Providence, we weren’t very good – actually we were never any good – and I lost one of my top players to an injury the same day Tennessee beat Connecticut,” Jabir related.

“We had to play the Huskies next and we lost by 70 so I can only imagine what might happen this time.”

Wednesday’s other local D-1 game is a noon encounter when Fordham visits La Salle in the Tom Gola Arena.

Rutgers Rolls Past Pittsburgh

Considering the youthfulness of Pittsburgh’s roster – youngest in the nation – No. 8 Rutgers committed basketball child abuse Tuesday night beating the Panthers 63-39 on the road in the Petersen Events Center in a Big East game as the Scarlet Knights (14-2, 3-0 Big East) transformed from sweet love to tough love in hounding Pittsburgh into 21 turnovers.

Panthers associate head coach Patty Coyle was a Rutgers star in the early 1980s and women’s media liason Stacey Brann was Rutgers Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer’s media aide for nearly five seasons before heading to the Western Pennsylvania metropolis.

The senior duo of Khadijah Rushdan (14 points) and April Sykes (11 points) led the way while Monique Oliver, Briyona Canty and Betnijah Laney each scored 10 points.

Ashley Logan had 10 points for the Panthers (8-9, 0-4).

Rutgers, moving higher in the rankings – 10th to eighth this week – are rolling toward the end of the month when the schedule will offer either opportunity or dread – depending on perception.

That’s when the Scarlet Knights will host Notre Dame, which won at Georgetown, 80-60, Tuesday, and then head to Connecticut at the Gampel Pavillion arena campus in Storrs.

Stringer’s postgame comments reflected an eye to what’s ahead as opposed to what’s immediately behind considering nationally-ranked Georgetown, DePaul and Louisville are also on the slate between now and the end of the month.

“I probably wasn’t the happiest person with us,” Stringer said. “We measure all that by what we expect each day in practice and more often than not, it’s not what we’re competing against so much as we know we’re going to have to compete against.”

Villanova Clipped By Marquette At Buzzer

After spending the nonconference portion of the schedule exceeding expections, the Wildcats have now added an excruciating loss to go alongside the 48-47 setback at Monmouth last month outside the Big East.

If one more win was one less loss when Villanova won their first two conference games of the season, the equation shifts to one more loss in the Big East is one less win with a desire to navigate in the middle of the conference standings.

Katie Young, a sophomore at Marquette, ruined Villanova’s night in Milwaukee, hitting a 40-foot, three-point shot at the buzzer to give the Golden Eagles a 51-50 victory that dropped the Wildcats to 11-5 overall and 2-2 in the Big East.

The loss is extra tough because the next game is at home Saturday when UConn visits and the Wildcats will be a heavy underdog.

Rachel Roberts, who scored 17 points, had given Villanova a 50-48 lead with 1:15 left.

The Wildcats then stopped the Golden Eagles (11-6, 2-2) on the next possession, only to lose the ball on a turnover with 28 seconds left.

Marquette missed a shot and Roberts got the rebound and was fouled sending her to the line with 3.6 seconds left.

She missed the front end of a one-and-one as Young got possession and then hit the game-winner.

While Villanova had a season-high 15 steals, Marquette had a decided advantage on the line shooting a perfect 12-for-12 free throws while the Wildcats were 4-for-6. They were also outrebounded 36-23.

Delle Donne Nationally Honored

The United States Basketball Writers Association named Delaware junior Elena Delle Donne the national player of the week as she topped a strong field of contenders who also were in the pool by being named player of the week in their respective conferences.

Delle Donne averaged 38.5 points and 12.2 rebounds in wins over Towson and George Mason while she also became the all-time career scorer in the Blue Hens program. The Wilmington, Del., native now has over 1,700 points and leads the nation in scoring with a 30.3 average.

Hometown Honors WNBA’s Cheryl Reeve

Cheryl Reeve, the former La Salle star in the late 1980s who coached the Minnesota Lynx this past summer to their first WNBA title, who be honored Jan. 30 along with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and several others by the Philadelphia Sportswriters Association or special achievement at the annual awards banquet.

Reeve grew up in Washington Township across the Delaware River in South Jersey and was also named WNBA coach of the year for her efforts.

Looking Ahead

The Guru will remain on the Atlantic 10 circuit Wednesday tweeting from the La Salle-Fordham game here in town at noon and then from the Temple-St. Bonaventure game at night.

-- Mel

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