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.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Guru's Local College Rdup: Temple and Penn State Reverse Direction

(Guru’s note: There’s a post below this discussing USBWA national player of the week candidates and one above with commentary on the WNBA trade that went down Monday and some implications in terms of a certain star player to the south of here across the state line.
Quotes in this post are from team and wire service sources.)

By Mel Greenberg

The shoe was on the other foot at both Temple and Penn State Monday, which was actually good thing for both teams, while La Salle now heads into the Atlantic 10 with a three-game win streak.

As for Temple, instead of falling into deep deficits behind a favored opponent and then rallying and falling short, the superior Owls were the ones with the big lead and then had to choke off Western Michigan’s comeback before beating the Broncos 64-52 on the road in Kalamazoo.

Kristen McCarthy and Shey Peddy each scored 19 points for Temple (6-7), which now opens at surprising Richmond Saturday in what will be an Atlantic 10 slate the rest of the way except for a Big Five home game later this month against an improved Penn squad.

Victoria Macaulay delivered a double double for the Owls with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Maria Iaquaniello led Western Michigan with 18 points and seven boards.

The Broncos also had 18 as the number they trailed Temple before rallying to within five points before the Owls sealed the game.

Coach Tonya Cardoza’s squad is a co-favorite with Dayton to win the Atlantic 10 according to the preseason poll by the conference coaches.

But since the tournament returns to St. Joseph’s campus for the first time in several months, don’t underestimate the Hawks.

In Monday’s win Temple’s defensive pressure did the job against the Broncos (3-10) of the Mid-American Conference with the Owls gaining a 32-13 domination in points off turnovers.

Penn State Badgers Wisconsin

Meanwhile, Penn State, which plunged from No. 16 to 22 in the first Associated Press women’s poll of the season, had success in their second Big 10 outing at a place that the Lady Lions have suffered hardship on the conference circuit.

Coach Coquese Washington’s squad blasted Wisconsin 82-49 in Madison as Maggie Lucas of Narberth in suburban Philadelphia and Germantown Academy scored 18 points.

Lucas also dealt a career-high seven assists after entering her sophomore season for Penn State (11-3, 1-1 Big Ten).
On Friday the Lady Lions were upset at home by then-No. 23 Nebraska, which is in its first season in the conference after moving from the Big 12.

In that one Penn State was held to seven points in about the final 13 minutes of the game.

“We're better off when we have more offensive balance, and today we did a good job of making the extra pass and finding the open person and taking good shots instead of mediocre shots," Washington said.

Mia Nickson helped the offense with 10 points and 14 rebounds against the Badgers (4-10, 0-2), whose first year coach Bobbie Kelsey is a former Stanford assistant.

Nikki Greene was also in double figures with 14 points and her two blocks made her the sixth person in the program’s history with 150 rejections.

Taylor Wurtz had 17 points for Wisconsin, which had trouble dealing with Penn State’s size advantage.

"When you have 6-5, 6-4 and 6-5 and 6-4, we don't have that kind of height," Kelsey said. "Eventually it's going to wear you down. It's like a boxing match. You just get hit, hit, hit."

Next up for Penn State is a conference visit Saturday from Michigan State.

Explorers Topple Northeastern

La Salle, which overcame 24 turnovers, got scoring from four players in double figures to rout Northeastern 75-60 in Boston and take a three-game win streak into Atlantic 10 Conference play Saturday when the Explorers (6-9) stay on the road and visit Saint Louis.

Brittany Wilson, who played at Northeastern before transferring to La Salle, scored 21 points, while Nadia Duncan scored 18, Jada Payne had 12, and Michea Bryant scored 11.

Additionally, Ruvanna Campbell grabbed 11 rebounds.

Christine Huber scored 13 for the Huskies (2-10o), who now head into CAA play.

Looking Ahead

Rutgers is back in the Top 10 of the AP Poll for the first time since the second week of the 2008-09 season when the Scarlet Knights were ranked third.

They host Syracuse in a 9 p.m. start Tuesday night while Pittsburgh visits Villanova at 7 p.m. – the Guru will be tweeting rom the Main Line – both games starting the resumption of Big East competition.

St. Joseph’s visits Quinnipiac in the final nonconference game for the Hawks before heading to the Atlantic 10 this weekend.

Poll Note

Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw, a Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer and graduate of St. Joseph’s, tied Theresa Grentz, the former Immaculata star and coach of McGraw with the Hawks, at 21st with 225 Irish appearances in the AP Poll.

Grentz also coached Rutgers and Illinois before retiring.

And The Winner Still Is

In Division I weekly awards, local winners are in the blog discussing USBWA candidates below this post.

But in the world of Division II University of Sciences Brianne Traub, a freshman, has won another Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference player of the week award after scoring 10 points in the Devils’ win over Millersville and 25 in a loss to West Chester.

Traub leads the CACC with a 19.0 scoring average.

-- Mel


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