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, February 21, 2012

Guru's College Report: Mighty Macs movie DVD Hits Stores

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA – Ok, because the Guru has a long day ahead he’s taking some shortcuts and departing from normal reportorial language.

First, apparently Tuesday, as in today, is the official release of the DVD of the movie The Mighty, Macs which was in theaters last fall and chronicles the run to the first women’s national collegiate title by Immaculata (1972), which is located in the Western suburbs.

The Guru will be attending a special party on the waterfront in center city Tuesday night thrown by one of the school’s marketing liasons, he believes that’s who they are based on their appearance at the red carpet rollout preview of the movie last October.

Google the name of the movie to get details though it looks like amazon.com has some information.

Earlier in the day – like late morning – the Guru will be at The Palestra on the campus of the Penn in West Philadelphia for the annual inducation ceremonies welcoming the newest members of the Big Five Hall of Fame.

Yes, the Guru is in a dual media/past inductee role.

His weekly notebook for the printed Inquirer sports section is already over at philly.com discussing the inductees on the women’s side.

He will tweet and later have more off the event in the blog or several blogs for the next sunrise.

The inductees are former La Salle star Kelly Greenberg – no relation other than WBB – who also coached Penn to two Ivy titles and currently has Boston University in first place in the America East.

Villanova’s Jenn Beisel and St. Joseph’s Melissa Coursey will also be inducted as will from the men’s side former Temple star Marc Jackson and former Penn star Matt Maloney.

Greenberg was a teammate at La Salle of Cheryl Reeve, currently coach of the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx and also for two years at Archbishop Wood in the suburbs a teammate of Debbie Black, the former WNBA All-Star who is currently an assistant coach at Ohio State, who is probably not feeling well at the moment given the whipping Penn State delivered to the visiting Buckeyes Monday night to earn a share of the Big Ten title and No. 1 seed in next week’s tournament in Indianapolis.

AP Poll Trivia

And with the Guru having done his Monday night update of the AP Poll historical database, here are some notes off the new numbers.

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer has tied former Texas coach Jody Conradt for third for most rankings at the same school at 396. The leaders in front are Tennessee’s Pat Summitt with 615 – she’s only missed 14 weeks in the poll’s entire history – and Georgia’s Andy Landers at 476.

Miami, jumping to sixth place in this week’s poll, reached an all-time high in the history of the program. The Hurricanes become the 58th team to be ranked in the Top 5 out of 150 who have made the list in the 36-year history of the poll.

The Big East continues to be the dominant conference in terms of the poll – St. John’s return gives the conference seven teams – the others being Notre Dame (3), Connecticut (4), Georgetown (15), Louisville (16), DePaul (21), and Rutgers (24).

An eighth member, West Virginia, is knocking on the door and hosts St. John’s Tuesday night.

By comparison the Big Ten and Atlantic Coast have four teams each, the Southeastern Conference three, the Big 12 just two, and one each from the PAC-12, Atlantic 10, West Coast, Horizon, and the CAA.

Speaking of the CAA, Delaware’s move to ninth is the conference’s highest ranking by a member since Old Dominion was fifth in the final poll of the 1998-1999 season.

James Madison is the only other CAA team to earn a ranking.

Mississippi State’s Sharon Fanning-Otis, who Monday announced her retirement, effective the end of the season, is one of eight coaches to have led three different teams to an AP ranking.

She also guided Tennessee-Chattanooga, her alma mater, and Kentucky to the national limelight.

A ninth, current WNBA Washington Mystics aide Marianne Stanley, is on the list technically for handling Stanford the year that Stanford’s Tara Van Derveer was on sabbatical to coach the 1996 Olympic squad. Stanley had coached at Old Dominion and Southern Cal in terms of getting teams into the poll. She also spent a brief stint coaching Penn near Stanley’s hometown in the Philadelphia suburbs.

USBWA Candidates For National Player of the Week

OK, shortcut time here. You can visit each conference website for further details but out of the conference players of the week – the first step in the process – here are the names of some individuals under consideration for the last in a series of national women’s player of the week honors given by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).

The next several weeks will be given to readying the process for the annual postseason awards and those of you who will be in Denver for the Women’s Final Four and have interest in attending the awards breakfast on the Tuesday morning of the championship, send the Guru a note and he’ll see if it’s possible to sustain you depending on the numbers.

The event is open to all credentialed media members for the Women’s Final Four.

As for the roll call of some of the names on the table:

Atlantic Coast Conference: Maryland’s Tiana Hawkins, who was last week’s USBWA winner and repeated conference honors.

Ivy League: Harvard’s Christine Clark.

Colonial Athletic Association: Northeastern’s Deanna Kerkhof.

Big 12: Baylor’s Brittney Griner, who won USBWA honors earlier this season and is a leading candidate for national player of the year along with several others who also won USBWA pow awards.

America East: Hartford’s Ruthanne Doherty.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference: Marist College’s Kelsey Beynnon.

Atlantic 10: Temple’s Shey Peddy, a previous conference honoree several times this season who also repeated as this week’s Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Week.

Missouri Valley: Missouri State’s Casey Garrison.

PAC-12: California’s Layshia Clarendon.

Conference-USA: UTEP’s Gloria Brown.

Western Athletic: Fresno State’s Ki-Ki Moore.

Southland: Lamar’s Kalis Loyd.

Southeastern Conference: Tennessee’s Shekinna Stricklen.

Big East: St. John’s Nadirah McKenith.

Mountain West: UNLV’s Lenita Sanford.

Beyond those candidates, the next is the Guru’s salute to some locals of which he has been made aware.

DePaul freshman Brittany Hyrnko of Philadelphia’s Engineering and Science is the Big East rookie of the week.

Division II Philadelphia University star Christine Wooding earned her sixth daily star of the report that comes East Regional Hoops.

Division II University of Sciences’ Brianne Traub has earned yet another rookie of the week honor from the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.

By the way, the CACC recently hired former UConn women’s basketball SID Randy Press, who previously worked at Penn State, to head up the conference’s PR operation among other duties, if the Guru read the announcement right in terms of duties.

Looking Ahead

If not for other commitments the Guru would have been around to go to the Big East war between the New Jersey schools when Seton Hall and coach Anne Donovan visit No. 24 Rutgers Tuesday night.

Donovan and Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer were assistants together on Van Chancellor’s staff for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

La Salle is at George Washington also on Tuesday night.

Wednesday night St. Joseph’s visits Temple at McGonigle Hall in a key Atlantic 10 game for both schools. Meanwhile, two-time defending champion Xavier visits Dayton, which is in third place.

Should Xavier lose and Massachusetts win its game against Rhode Island when the two play Sunday it could be for who goes to the Atlantic Ten tournament at St. Joseph’s and who stays home since the A-10 does not include its 13th and 14th place team in the field.

Fordham and St. Louis could also be in this equation as could George Washington. More to be said at the next sunrise.

And that’s it for the moment.

-- Mel

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