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.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Guru's College Roundup: Staley's Gamecocks On A Roll

(Guru’s note – Due to length and special subject matter, the delle donne school record post is above this one.)

By Mel Greenberg

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley won’t get too upset just yet if her Gamecocks don’t land in the AP poll after next Sunday’s vote from a nationwide media panel.

The poll is released late Monday mornings or early afternoon each week.

South Carolina pulled a major upset Thursday night, beating No. 24Vanderbilt 65-55 at home in Columbia to improve to 13-2 overall and 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference.

The Commodores dropped to 12-2 in playing their conference opener.

Staley’s team has now won seven straight, the longest streak since the 2005-06 season.

Several weeks ago South Carolina easily handled nationally-ranked North Carolina but got little support in the poll after the win.

Prior to the Vanderbilt win Staley in an interview with the Associated Press noted she didn’t mind flying under the radar for now.

She said as much to the Guru in a quick phone call made to her late Thursday night.

“We have a tough stretch of games we’re in,” Staley said. “At the end of it, we’ll know where we are and if we deserve the ranking.”

South Carolina’s Aleighsa Welch had a career-high 19 points off the bench for South Carolina. If the Gamecocks get ranked Staley will be part of a special group of coaches to have two different teams in the poll.

She guided Temple to its first AP appearance when WNBA great Candice Dupree starred for the Owls in the middle of the last decade.

An even more exclusive group headed by Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer and also including Ohio State’s Jim Foster and Texas A&M’s Gary Blair has had three different teams earn rankings.

Stringer also guided Iowa and Cheyney (now Division II), Foster had Vanderbilt and St. Joseph’s, and Blair had Arkansas and Stephen F. Austin.

Hofstra Downs Drexel

There were two other CAA games that could be considered early conference showdowns besides Delaware’s game against Towson.

Junior All-American Shante Evans recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead four Pride players in double-figures as host Hofstra defeated the Drexel Dragons, 76-65, in Hempstead, N.Y., to improve to 10-3 and 2-0 in the conference.

Evans is from Henderson High in suburban Philadelphia. The Pride joins Delaware in contention for NCAA at-large bids if a CAA title is not won.

Drexel has now lost four straight and is 1-1 in the CAA.

The Dragons got 21 points from junior guard Hollie Mershon, 18 points from preseason All-CAA selection, senior Kamile Nacickaite and 14 points from junior forward Taylor Wooton.

Drexel next hosts Towson Sunday.

Defending CAA champion James Madison (10-3, 1-1) defeated VCU 64-43 at home in Harrisonburg, Va., as Jasmine Gill scored 15 points.

The Rams (8-5, 1-1) got 11 points from Aprill McRae and 15 rebounds from Courtney Hurt.

Elsewhere:

Former Xavier coach Kevin McGuff got his first home win in the expanded and rebranded Pac-12 as Washington topped newcomer Colorado 75-67 to knock the Buffaloes (12-1, 1-1 Pac-12) from the unbeaten column.

Jazmine Davis had a career-high 27 point for the Huskies (9-4, 1-2) in Seattle while Chucky Jefferey scored 20 for Colorado.

-- Mel

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