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.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guru's College Report: Temple Downs Harvard Advancing To The WNIT's Sweet 16

(Guru Note: Over at fullcourt.com when it posts, the Guru has a roundup of the Kingston Regional with focus on the Bridgeport subregional, where Princeton fell just short of Kansas).

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA – There’s nothing like a few wins in the Women’s NIT to help erase the disappointment of being snubbed by the NCAA tournament committee.

Temple isn’t commenting as such but clearly the Owls have found motivation in downing Ivy runnerup Harvard 64-59 at home in McGonigle Hall Saturday night to advance to the Sweet 16 of the alternative tournament.

It’s the first time the Owls have made the WNIT Sweet 16 – Temple’s last appearance was a narrow loss to James Madison in the 2001 opener.

The Crimson (18-12), who ousted host Hofstra of the Colonial Athletic Association director for a first-ever WNIT win by an Ivy team in the previous round, broke from a tie late in the game to gain the narrow victory.

Princeton’s bid to join the 1998 Harvard team as the only Ivy wins in the NCAA, faded in the closing minutes as at-large invite Kansas State prevailed in the Bridgeport (Conn.) subregional earlier in the day.

Shey Peddy, the Atlantic 10 player of the year, powered Temple (23-9) over the Crimson (18-12) , who are in the WNIT Sweet 16 for the first time.

The Owls in the early 1980s placed fifth and seventh but the WNIT was far smaller back then the current Harbor Yards original name of the arena, which is also home to Fairfield in Connecticut.

Fields at the time of Temple’s previous placements are when field sizes were 12 teams or less.

In Saturday’s win Victoria Macauley scored 10 points and Brittany Lewis tied a recent career high with 13 rebounds.

Harvard’s Brogan Berry had 21 points.

Temple was said by the NCAA to be one of four teams to just making the at-large picks by the tournament committee.

Most of the ones they’ve selected in the final group have gone to quick flameouts such as Iowa State and Texas of the Big 12.

So far the four teams from Philadelphia in the field have yet to lose and Temple could face one of them in the Sweet 16.

On Monday night, Drexel of the Colonial Athletic Association, which won its first-ever postseason game, not counting conference tournaments, will host Syracuse at 7 p.m. at the Daskalaskis Athletic Center and the Owls will face the winner in the next round at a date and site to be determined among Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Two other Big Five teams have previously made the Sweet 16 of the WNIT with St. Joseph’s and Villanova having both achieved the feat.

On Sunday both the Hawks and Wildcats will be in action.

St. Joseph’s at 2 p.m. at its Hagan Arena will host Virginia Commonwealth of the CAA the third straight year the two have collided. Previously the Rams won the first round matchup in 2010 and the Hawks countered a year ago.

Illinois, which is on the Western side of the bracket, will visit Illinois State, coached by former North Carolina State assistant and interim coach Stephanie Glance.

On Saturday, the Wolfpack were upset by Appalachian State.

The winner of the St. Joseph’s-VCU game will meet the winner of Monday’s game between Cincinnati of the Big East and host Toledo of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

If Temple gets to the quarterfinals, the Owls could face St. Joseph’s, its Atlantic 10 partner for one more season, if the Hawks advance.

Temple is switching to the Big East after next season.

Another possibility in the quarterfinals would be a matchup with Cincinnati, which would put Temple coach Tonya Cardoza against her good friend Jamelle Elliott, who played for Connecticut and then served for a longtime at her alma mater with Cardoza as assistant coaches at UConn under Auriemma.

If Villanova wins Sunday, the Wildcats on the Western side of the Women’s NIT bracket, would face either Colorado or South Dakota.

That’s it for now.

The Guru will be tweeting from St. Joseph’s at @womhoopsguru and will have blog Sunday night.

Coverage will continue here for both the WNIT and NCAA as well as breaking news, especially with the ongoing coaching vacancies as they are occurring.

-- Mel

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