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 24, 2012

Guru's USBWA Talk: Strong Field Continues In Weekly Candidate List

By Mel Greenberg

Here are some of the performances in the week ending Sunday that produced conference player of the week honorees, which in turn makes them eligible for the new United states Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) women's national player of the week award.

The winner, baring complications of technology, will be announced Tuesday afternoon.

In the Southeastern Conference Sarah Watkins of Arkansas was chosen for her performances in a rare win by the Razorbacks over Vanderbilt in which she tied a school record with six blocked shots and she also helped in a win over

Performances in Monday;s big win by No. 2 Notre Dame over Tennessee won't get into the process until next week but at the moment the Irish's Deveraux Peters took the Big East prize for averaging 19.5 points in wins over Pittsburgh and Villanova to stay unbeaten in conference play.

In a key conference game in the Atlantic Coast Duke's Chelsea Gray had 17 points and dealt 11 assists in Duke's win over Maryland and with her performance over Georgia Tech finished with a 16.5 scoring average in the two games and a 7.5 assists average to earn the ACC citation.

Teri Oliver helped Southern Illinois break a 24-game losing streak in the Missouri Valley Conference with a win over Missouri State as she averaged 25.5 points and 5.0 rebounds.

Chantell Alford of Boston University is the reigning America East player of the year and at the moment helped keep the Terriers in first place with an 11.7 average with 5.5 rebounds in three wins including a comeback win over arch-rival Hartford.

The new career leader in three-point connections in the Atlantic Ten is St. Bonaventure's Jessica Jenkins with 293. including six against Charlotte last Saturday night in North Carolina while she finishe dwith 23 points. She also had 18 against Richmond to send the Bonnies into sole possession of first place as the only team in the A-10 that still has a perfect record.

George Mason's Taleia Moton averaged 28.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in wins over William & Mary and VCU to earn the weekly award of the Colonial Athletic Association.

It's two weeks in a row that Stanford's Chiney Oguwmike has taken Pac-12 honors this time with a 17,.0 scoring average and 11.5 rebounds in the Cardinal's home sweep of Washington and Washington State. Her older sister Nnemkadi earlier this season captured the USBWA prize.

Aarynb Ellenberg of Oklahoma starred with a 24.5 scoring average to go with 4.5 rebounds and 5.5 steals in Sooners wins over Kansas State and Texas to bring home the honor from the panel that deliberates the Big 12 award.

Hawaii's Kamillah Jackson had a 16.0 average and 13.0 rebounds to be given the Western Athletic Conference player of the week award for wins over Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State.

The Mountain West honoree is Kayla Woodward for a 25.5 scoring average, 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 steals with Wyoming.

Loyola of Maryland's Miriam McKenzie took home the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference player of the week award with averages of 20.5 points and 11.0 rebounds as the Greyhounds went 1-1.

And in the Southland Nicholls State's Sumar Leslie had a career-high 34 points in a win over Southeastern Louisiana. She leads the conference with a 20.8 scoring average.

That's just a sampling. When the Big Ten winner is known Tuesday morning that honoree will be tweeted here and then the USBWA winner will be tweeted when it is officially released. If you are not following the Guru the handle is @womhoopsguru.

On the local front, La Salle's Jada Payne took home the Atlantic 10 freshman of the week award while Temple's Shey Peddy earned another Big 5 women's player of the week award.

Philadelphia University's Christine Wooding captured player of the week honors in the Division II Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference while University of Science's freshman Brianne Traub picked up another rookie of the week award from the CACC.

In other news, the Guru doesn't have the link at the moment but if you google around or get on twitter on Delaware's Elena Delle Donne's twitter you will be led to a YouTube flash dance mob video in which the entire family performs.

Perhaps whatever WNBA team Delle Donne ultimately lands on, the entire group can be hired in the manner of the New York Liberty's Timeless Torches to perform during timeouts and thus Elena can have the whole brood around in the summer for home games whatever part of the country she is at.

Will this be like 1997 for Tennessee. The Vols got knocked around that season with 10 losses, though most were competitive, and still claimed the first of what became a three-peat of NCAA titles. So far the Lady Vols have suffered an upset at unranked Virginia to go with losses to Kentucky, Stanford, Baylor and, now, Notre Dame.

There is a lot of season left so don't count Tennessee totally out for now. At this time in 1997 no one thought a championship would be attained, either.

That's it for now. The Guru will be at Rutgers for the DePaul game Tuesday night but will be tracking Temple at Xavier and Cincinnati at Villanova on the local front as well as other national games of note.

And the Guru closes on this note. However badly things went down at the end of the life of Penn State legendary football coach Joe Paterno, no one championed the cause of women's sports more than Paterno back when he was athletic director several decades ago.

When the Lady Lions were in the Atlantic 10 and the Guru made trips to Happy Valley because of the Rutgers-Temple-St. Joseph's games, there was seldom a time that Paterno was not at a home game as well as attending the many postgame receptions of the booster club afterwards.

-- Mel

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