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, February 22, 2012

Guru's College Report: Temple-St. Joseph's Redux Highlight Atlantic Ten Slate

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA – The Atlantic 10 is heading for some potential gridlock in the standings. But since everyone plays Wednesday night it is best to wait for the results and then look ahead on the next post to the weekend’s grand finale.

As for the schedule ahead, here in the City of Sisterly Love in women’s hoops St. Joseph’s visits Temple at the Owls’ McGonigle Hall in a game that will also count in the Big Five involving a battle for second behind Villanova of the Big East, which clinched the title with a 4-0 sweep last month.

The host Owls need a win to extend their current streak to 12 games, stay solidly in the NCAA picture and clinch second in the conference as well as stay alive in the Big Five race for second.

Temple senior Shey Peddy, incidently, earned the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) national player of the week award on Tuesday and is also the conference and Big Five player of the week.

It is also senior night for the Owls.

For St. Joseph’s, which hosts the A-10 tournament next month at Hagan Arena, it remains personal besides the win-loss implications.

The Hawks after last month’s setback at home have now lost 12 straight dating to 2006 and 18 of 19 to the Owls.

A win furthermore gives them a shot to stay alive for a fourth-place conference finish and the final tournament bye depending on Richmond’s game with visiting Duquesne. A triumph would also wrap up second place at 3-1 in the Big Five.

La Salle, the other local in the conference, is at George Washington looking to better last season’s conference finish while the Colonials are trying to avoid in a potential quagmire at 13th which would involve tiebreakers to determine which team is sliced from going to the conference tournament.

Unlike many other conferences, not everyone goes to the A-10 postseason with the two teams determined to be 13th and 14th place outright or through tiebreakers to be eliminated.

A big game is Massachusetts hosting winless Rhode Island seeking to attempt to qualify for the tournament.

Xavier, the two-time defending conference champion, which has fallen on hard times, is tied for 10th and though the Musketeers are heaving underdogs to host Dayton Wednesday night, it seems likely they could win out on tiebreakers to avoid elimination unless it evolves that they and Massachsetts could tie after Sunday’s game between the two and then Xavier would lose out head-to-head if no one else is involved at the near bottom.

A Massachusetts loss to Rhode Island Wednesday night puts Xavier in the tourney even with a loss to Dayton, which will be looking to lock up a third seed and potentially finish second if Temple loses to St. Joseph’s and on Saturday at La Salle.

That scenario suddenly clouds the NCAA picture for Temple and gives Dayton a chance to make the field depending on the conference tournament.

Elsewhere in the A-10 Charlotte is at St. Louis looking for a long-shot chance to finish fourth while the host Billikens will be trying to avoid falling into the elimination situations.

Once these results are all official then it will be possible to know how much cleare or muddier things are going into Saturday-Sunday.

The Social Scene: Big 5 Hall of Fame & Mighty Macs DVD Party

As mentioned in the previous post the Guru spent Tuesday at the annual Big Five Hall of Fame induction luncheon at The Palestra on Penn’s campus in West Philadelphia and then later at night on the waterfront at a special party to roll out the DVD sales of the Mighty Macs movie about Immaculata’s first national title.

The film, which was in theaters in the fall, had a success, but short, run so those who were going to get to the movie but didn’t, the DVD is the only way to go.

Besides Amazon.com, director Tim Chambers said at the party that Walmart also made heavy purchases for sales.

Producer Vince Curran was at the event as were several former players, including Theresa Grentz, the retired St. Joseph’s-Rutgers-Illinois coach, who will be heading a clinic at the Atlantic 10 tournament the day of the championship game.

Check St. Joseph’s and the conference websites for further details.

The speeches at the Big Five event given by current Boston U. coach Kelly Greenberg (La Salle), former Villanova star Jenn Beisel, former St. Joseph’s star Melisa Coursey as well as former Temple star Marc Jackson and former Penn star Matt Maloney were each different and equally impressive.

Coverage is at Philly.com.

Fortner Retires

Auburn coach Nell Fortner, who also coached at Purdue, the 2000 Olympics, and the WNBA Indiana Fever, announced her departure from the Tigers after the season to pursue other opportunities.

Fortner, a former Texas star, is the second coach this week at a Southeastern Conference school to leave following the retirement announcement of Mississippi State’s Sharon Fanning-Otis.

Given her talent in the past doing the studio show at ESPN during women’s coverage, it would not be surprising to see her return to the network.

As for replacements, former Virginia coach Debbie Ryan and former Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry, who are currently without coaching jobs but might still have interest in returning to the sidelines, are names that could become involved as vacancies begin to occur.

Big East Finish

St. John’s win at West Virginia Tuesday night puts the Red Storm in a potential third place finish or even second in the Big East with final games to determine the top three seeds also involving frontrunner Notre Dame, Connecticut and UConn.

Rutgers beat Seton Hall Tuesday night as the Scarlet Knights made it two straight wins to right the ship after the recent five-game slide.

CACC Tourney Set

The regular season wrapped up in the Division II Central Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Conference (CACC) with local schools Holy Family beating Philadelphia University 78-49 at the Tigers’ Campus Center in Northeast Philadelphia while University of the Sciences beat Wilmington 59-35 at home in the Bobby Morgan Arena in Southwest Philadelphia.

In the Holy Family game. Erin Mann had 21 points for the Tigers (21-7, 17-2 CACC) while Ana Cruz scored 14 points and Kelly Brady had 12.

Stephanie Agger has 16 points for Philadelphia University (20-8, 14-5) while Christine Wooding had 13 points to move to 10th on the Rams’ career list with 1,292 points.

Holy Family, the South’s top seed, in the CACC quarterfinals Saturday will host North No. 4 Bloomfield while Philadelphia University, the third seed in the South, will travel Caldwell of the Northern Division second seed, where during the regular season the Rams rallied to beat the Cougars 83-80.

In USP’s win the Devils finished 17-10 overall and 13-6 in the CACC as Becca Ruggear scored 21 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked six shots against Wilmington (2-22, 1-18). Multiple CACC rookie of the week winner Brianne Traub had 12 points and seven rebounds while senior Sarah Hickman had 10 rebounds for the Devils.

USP, the fourth seed in the South, in the CACC quarterfinals, will travel to Felician College, the North’s top seed, Saturday in Rutherford, N.J.

All games are at 7 p.m.

In the other CACC quarterfinal game, North No. 3 Dominican will host South No. 2 Goldey Beacom.

NJAC Postseason Honors

In Divisison III, the New Jersey Athletic Conference announced postseason winners with William Paterson’s April Smith named player of the year and Pioneer teammate BriAnna Lucas named defensive player of the year.

Paterson’s Erin Monahan was named coach of the year and Montclair State’s Melissa Tobie was named rookie of the year.

The College of New Jersey’s Jessica Imhof was named to the first time.

Rowan’s Lauren Gregg was named to the second team as was Richard Stockton’s LaTonya Oliver and Rutgers-Camden’s Brittany Turner.

Rowan’s Alissa Lamey was named honorable mention as was the College of New Jersey’s Hannah Tait.

Gregg was a second team honoree last season while Oliver was a first-team honoree following two seasons of honorable mention citations.

Turner received honorable mention notification last season.

WNBA News

The Washington Mystics added another re-signed veteran with former Duke star Monique Currie, who missed almost all of last season with a knee injury prior to open day, returning to the fold.

Former Maryland star Crystal Langhorne of Willingboro, N.J., in suburban Philadelphia, previously re-signed with Washington.

OK, That’s the news.

The Guru will return at the next sunrise or earlier of the news warrants and will be tweeting from the Temple game at @womhoopsguru.

-- Mel

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