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.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Guru Musings: Baylor May Repeat But 2012-13 Will Be Much Different

By Mel Greenberg

While Baylor may successfully defend its recently acquired NCAA women's basketball crown in 2012-13, the Bears recapturing the championship may be one of the few things that would be the same as the season recently concluded.

The conference membership migration will continue and when the curtain rises again in October with the arrival of Midnight Madness, West Virginia and TCU will be competing in the Big 12, while Texas A&M and Missouri will be on board in the Southeastern Conference.

Temple will be on its farewell tour of the Atlantic 10 before moving to the Big East while Syracuse and Pittsburgh could be doing likewise in the Big East if allowed an early exit to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Other moves will be occurring elsewhere and continuing into 2013-14.

The biggest change will be on the sidelines where some longtime mentors will be gone while other coaches will be switching locations.

A heavy dose of musical chairs is underway but the top story that remains alive past the close of 2011-12 is the ongoing drama at Tennessee.
The past season was anything but business as usual for the Lady Vols since last August when legendary Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt told the public she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Azheimer type.

She continued to be the head coach but associate head coach Holly Warlick and the rest of the staff took on added responsibilities.

Now that assistant Mickie DeMoss has left to work for Linn Dun with the Indiana Fever in the WNBA, decisions need to be made on the future in light that the recruiting picture has become unfocused in terms of high school blue chip talent holding off from commitments until the situation for next season is resolved.

Decisions are expected soon.

Elsewhere Karen Aston, a former assistant, is now in charge back at Texas while Gail Goestenkors has left to refresh herself after her five-year stint with the Longhorns and previously longtime run at Duke.

Terri Williams-Flournoy has left Georgetown for Auburn, where Nell Fortner has also left coaching for the moment.

However, Charli Turner Thorne returns to Arizona State after a year's sabbatical.

Though Baylor will be the clear number one choice going in as the Bears were before, there will be significant challengers to Brittney Griner and company.

In what was considered a rebuilding year, Connecticut still got to the Womens Final Four and nearly made it to the title game.

When the Huskies return with all but Tiffany Hayes from the current roster, there will be the addition of highly prized freshmen expected to make an immediate impact.

Other teams getting the most buzz in projection speak in Denver during the finals were Maryland, Duke and Kentucky in terms of preseason top five.

Besides Griner, most of the top stars will be back with Skylar Diggins making a senior run at Notre Dame and Elena Delle Donne doing likewise at Delaware where she led the nation in scoring.

Next time around her Blue Hens will get underway as a nationally ranked team at the outset.

Maggie Lucas shouldbe a reason for Penn State to be in the preseason Top 10.

Though Nenka Ogumike graduates Stanford, her sister Chiney returns with the Cardinal.

Elizabeth Williams, the national freshman of the year is back at Duke while runnerup Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis returns to UConn.

The face of 2012-13 will continue to evolve prior to the next opening tap but when practice resumes two signficant events will have occurred.

At Connecticut it will be known if Huskies Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma successfully guided the U.S. women, including five of his former players, to another gold medal.

By then the teams in the next WNBA draft lottery will known so if not the order is declared until December, it will be known barring trades who are the leading contenders for the aforementioned Griner and other highly prized seniors.

Possibly Griner and Heisman winner Robert Griffin III could have a reunion in the nation's capital.

Griffin, the star Baylor quarterback who was in Denver, is expected to land with the NFL Washington Redskins.

If the WNBA Mystics fail to make the playoffs, a distinct possibility, then if the ping pong balls bounce the right way Griner will have one friend in town so she might want to scout the scene when Baylor makes its celebratory visit to the White House.

-- Mel

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