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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Guru's Philly Summer League Report: Three St. Joseph's Stars Keep Hunter Green Perfect

By Mel Greenberg

HATBORO, Pa. -- A trio of Saint Joseph's stars -- two veterans and a rookie -- helped Hunter Green (4-0) stay unbeaten with defending champion Lime Green (4-0) and Black (4-0) while a future Delaware star had the season's top individual performance, which occurred in a loss, to highlight Thursday night's action in the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women's Basketball Summer League at Kelly Bolish Gymnasium, home of the AAU Renegades in Lower Bucks County.

Hawks junior Erin Shields had the league's third best individual effort on the season with 25 points while incoming freshman Ciara Andrews scored 21 points and senior Shelby Smith scored 11 to enable Hunter Green win its fourth straight, edging Cardinal Red 76-72 in the closest game of the night.

Deja Foster, a 2011 graduate of Georgia Tech, scored 19 points, Kent State 2007 graduate Lakia Stewart scored 13, and Lafayette sophomore Emily Homan had 13 points for Cardinal Red (2-2) which dropped into a four-way tie for fourth place, two games behind the tri-leaders.

Meanwhile Taylor Bryant, who will be joining Blue Hens all-American senior sensation Elena Delle Donne, the nation's leading scorer, as a freshman at nationally-ranked Delaware this fall, torched the nets for 29 points but Columbia Blue (1-3) fell to Lime Green 74-62 in what had been a closely fought game through the first half.

Alex Wheatley, another collegiate newcomer, who will be joining three-time defending Ivy League champion Princeton, scored 11 points for Columbia Blue while Division II Bloomsburg senior Danielle Derr scored 10 points.

Recently graduated Saint Joseeph's star Katie Kuester, who had produced the previous league-best 26-point effort Tuesday night, led Lime Green again, this time with 19 points while 2010 St. Bonaventure graduate Dana Mitchell scored scored 15 points and Lafayette senior Alicia Manning scored scored 14 points.

Unbeaten Black, likewise to Lime Green, was contested through halftime by Kelly Green (1-3), which is composed primarily of Division II University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) players, before pulling away to a 60-44 victory as Villanova sophomore Emily Leer scored 16 points, incoming Lehigh freshman Kerry Kinek scored 11, and Jasmine Elum, a recent Bethune Cookman graduate, and Kutztown senior Ashley Wood each scored eight points.

Brianne Taub, targeted for 2017 graduation because of USP's academic-work program, scored 14 points, while Natalie Stella of the Devils class of 2018 scored 12 points for Kelly Green.

Except for the notations associated with USP and the reference to school alums, all class designations in the coverage of the league in this post refer to the players' class statuses this fall when they return to school.

"Forget what the final score says, all these players compete hard -- which we like to see," said Black coach Keith Wood, whose daughter Ashley is on the squad.

Villanova senior Rachel Roberts recently was able to catch up with Black, playing her second game of the season.

"She's still a little out of shape, but it won't take long for her to get in the flow," Wood said of one of the Wildcats' stars of last season in the winter.

Under NCAA summer league sanctioning rules, non-Division I schools can play as entire units. Besides USP, three other area Division II schools that stay together in the 12-team league that features three doubleheaders or six games on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. are Holy Family, competing as Royal Blue, Philadelphia University, competing as Orange, and West Chester, competing as Vegas Gold (1-3), which got its first win Thursday night, a 69-53 triumph over Orange (1-3).

Golden Rams sophomore Kendall Benovy scored 14 points for Vegas Gold while West Chester senior Megan Kerrigan scored 10 points.

Taylor Peltzer and Rams freshman Mary Newell each scored 10 points for Orange.

Peltzer, whose father Lou starred at Saint Joseph's in the early 1970s, and Kristen Blye will serve as senior co-captains this winter.

USP, Holy Family, and Philadelphia University belong to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) while West Chester competes in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division.

Admission to the games are free and there is a snack bar offering such items at a reasonable price as hamburgers, hot dogs, water ice, sodas and juices.

The gym is located at the end of Turnpike Drive off Davisville Road in the Willow Grow Industrial Commons section of the business park, which runs alongside the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The site is not far from the intersection of Davisville and Byberry Roads to the north and is also near the Route 611 exit of the turnpike to the West if you are googling on the internet.

If one wants to save some footsteps and parking is taken near the door, there is usually plenty of room around the back and at least one, if not both, of the rear doors are open for the doubleheaders.

As always, thanks to longtime commissioner David Kessler for providing timely results, especially on nights the Guru is elsewhere at a WNBA game, so the Guru can then use his old Inquirer rewrite skills to provide these reports on the league.

The commish can be emailed at deucebk@comcast.net.

And if you are not doing so already, by following the Guru's twitter handle @womhoopsguru, you can get the first alerts when a post covering the league is up and running here as well as if there is a delay, as well as news in both the collegiate and professional worlds.

Meanwhile, in the other two games of the night, Purple (2-2) evened its record and relegated Gold (0-4) as the only winless team with an 82-47 victory, while Royal Blue (2-2) also even its record with a 52-29 win over Ash Gray (2-2), holding Holy Family's opponent to the lowest scoring total of the season in league play.

Trish Watson, a junior at Penn State Abington, which is not far from the summer league's site, had 20 points for Purple, while Lehigh junior Marissa Repasch scored 18 points and Division III Haverford senior Calla Miller scored 15 points.

Gold's Alexandra Yatzi, a Lehigh junior, scored 18 points while Scranton freshman Nicole Alicea had 17 points.

Holy Family senior Ana Cruz had 13 points for Royal Blue, while junior Mary Ellen McCollum scored nine points.

Cruz was playing her first game since undergoing tonsil and adenoid surgery.

The Royal Blue 52 points became the new lowest total for a winning team, eclipsing the previous low of an Orange 52-46 win over Royal Blue, ironically, on June 21.

Ironically, again, this time out of the same Thursday night game, the 29 points by Ash Gray in the loss to Royal Blue was a new season low for a losing team, eclipsing the 65-32 loss suffered by Gold to Royal Blue on Tuesday night, June 26.

Lindsay Alexander, a Chestnut Hill senior, had six points for Ash Gray, Christine Verrell, a sophomore at Dowling College, scored five, as did Chestnut Hill sophomore Lila Jones, her senior classmate Da'Kiya Johnson, and Delaware Valley College sophomore Brenna Coll.

Johnson is a transfer from Santa Monica College, the only updated change from the roster postings as part of the Guru's season introductory blog posted earlier this month prior to the start of play.

Looking Ahead

The league will break for the July 4th holiday, keeping next Tuesday night dark. However, to ensure the regular season concludes at the end of next month heading into the playoffs, the schedule will resume next Thursday, July 5.

In the 7 p.m. contests, Vegas Gold (1-3) will meet Ash Gray (2-2) on Court 1; Purple (2-2) will meet Columbia Blue (1-3) on Court 2; and Kelly Green (1-3) will meet Gold (0-4).

In the 8:15 p.m. games, Black (4-0) will meet Royal Blue (2-2) on Court 1; Orange (1-3) will meet Cardinal Red (2-2) on Court 2; and Lime Green (4-0) will meet Hunter Green (4-0) in a battle between two of the three unbeatens on Court 3.


Lime Green 4-0 1.000 --- 309 219
Black 4-0 1.000 --- 265 183
Hunter Grn 4-0 1.000 --- 300 269
Cardinal Red 2-2 .500 2.0 291 256
Royal Blue 2-2 .500 2.0 200 187
Purple 2-2 .500 2.0 232 238
Ash Gray 2-2 .500 2.0 209 210
Vegas Gold 1-3 .250 3.0 242 302
Orange 1-3 .250 3.0 216 240
Kelly Green 1-3 .250 3.0 241 252
Col. Blue 1-3 .250 3.0 241 262
Gold 0-4 .000 4.0 165 273

Top Individual Performers (20 or more pts)
(14 to date)

Thurs., June 28, Taylor Bryant, Columbia Blue, 29 pts., vs. Lime Green.
Tues., June 26, Katie Kuester, Lime Green, 26 pts., vs. Orange.
Thurs., June 28, Erin Shields, Hunter Green, 25 pts., vs. Cardinal Red.
Tues., June 19 Lakia Stewart, Card. Red, 23 pts. vs. Vegas Gold.
Tues., June 26, Marissa Repasch, Purple, 23 pts., vs. Kelly Green
Thurs., June 21, Noelle Alicea, Gold, 21 pts. vs. Columbia Blue.
Tues., June 26, Emily Leer, Black, 21 pts., vs. Vegas Gold.
Thur., June 28, Ciara Andrews, Hunter Green, 21 pts., vs. Cardinal Red.
Tues., June 19, Kendall Benovy, Vegas Gold, 20 pts., vs. Cardinal Red.
Tues., June 19, Jessica Sylvester, Kelly Green, 20 pts., vs. Hunter Green.
Thurs., June 21, Tiffany Johnson, Vegas Gold, 20 pts., vs. Hunter Green.
Tues., June 26, Alex Wheatley, Columbia Blue, 20 pts., vs. Hunter Green.
Tues., June 26, Ashley Morris, Cardinal Red, 20 pts., vs. Ash Gray.
Thurs., June 28, Trish Watson, Purple, 20 points, vs. Gold.

Results To Date

Tues., July 3
No Games Schedule

Thurs., June 28
Purple 82, Gold 47
Black 60, Kelly Green 44
Hunter Green 76, Cardinal Red 72
Lime Green 75, Columbia Blue 62
Royal Blue 52, Ash Gray 29
Vegas Gold 69, Orange 53

Tues., June 26
Hunter Green 74, Columbia Blue 63
Black 84, Vegas Gold 47
Cardinal Red 73, Ash Gray 47
Royal Blue 65, Gold 32
Lime Green 87, Orange 58
Kelly Green 85, Purple 59

Thurs., June 21
Ash Gray 64, Kelly Green 46
Lime Green 75, Cardinal Red 62
Black 55, Purple 33
Columbia Blue 57, Gold 47
Hunter Green 81, Vegas Gold 68
Orange 54, Royal Blue 46

Tues., June 19
Hunter Green 69, Kelly Green 66
Purple 58, Orange 51
Lime Green 72, Royal Blue 37
Cardinal Red 84, Vegas Gold 58
Black 66, Columbia Blue 59
Ash Gray 69, Gold 39

Highest winning total: Lime Green 87, Orange 58 -- 6/26
Lowest winning total: Royal Blue 52, Ash Gray 29 -- 6/28
Highest losing total: Hunter Green 81, Vegas Gold 68 -- 6/21
Lowest losing total: Royal Blue 52, Ash Gray 29 -- 6/28
Highest differential (37 pts.): Black 84, Vegas Gold 47 -- 6/26
Lowest differential (3 pts.): Hunter Green 69, Kelly Green 66 -- 6/26

Grid Against League
Lme Grn (4-0) vs. Royal Blu (W), Card. Red (W), Orange (W), Col Blue (W).
Black (4-0) vs. Colum Blue (W), Purple (W), Vegas Gold (W), Kelly Grn (W).
Hunt Grn (4-0) vs. Kelly Grn (W), Vegas Gld (W), Colum Bl. (W), C. Red (W).
Card Red (2-2) vs. Vegas Gld (W), Lime Grn (L), Ash Gry (W), Hunt Grn (L).
Royal Blue (2-2) vs. Lime Green (L), Orange (L), Gold (W), Ash Gray (W).
Purple (2-2) vs. Orange (W), Black (L), Kelly Green (L), Gold (W).
Ash Gray (2-2) vs. Gold (W), Kelly Green (W), Card Red (L), Royl Blue (L).
Vegas Gld (1-3) vs. Cardinal Red (L), Hunter Green (L), Black (L), Orng (W).
Orange (1-3) vs. Prple (L), Royal Blue (W), Lime Green (L), Vegas Gold (L).
Kelly Green (1-3) vs. Hunter Green (L), Ash Gray (L), Purple (W), Black (L).
Colmbia Blue (1-3) vs. Black (L), Gold (W), Hunter Green (L), Lime Grn (L).
Gold (0-4) vs. Ash Gray (L), Columbia Blue (L), Royal Blue (L), Purple (L).

Whole Units
Kelly Green -- University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Orange -- Philadelphia University
Royal Blue -- Holy Family
Vegas Gold -- West Chester

That's it.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guru's Philly Summer League Report: Katie Kuester's 26 Points Highlight Individual Scoring Attacks

By Mel Greenberg

In terms of drama, there was little suspense in Tuesday night's triple doubleheader action in the Philadelphia/Suburban Women's NCAA Summer Basketball League at Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades.

However, though all six games in the 12-game league during the third night of competition had decisive outcomes, there were a bunch of outstanding individual performances, particularly from players associated with Saint Joseph's, Villanova and Lehigh.

In fact five of the ten 20 points or more games from players to date were registered Tuesday.

The best came from a former league scoring champion.

Recent Saint Joseph's grad Katie Kuester, whose father John Kuester is an assistant with the NBA Los Angeles Lakers and was on the scene, turned in a league-high 26 points on the season as defending champion Lime Green rolled over Orange, 87-58, to become one of three teams still unbeaten at 3-0.

The Lime Green total is the highest score to date in the league.

Kuester will be a graduate assistant at Lehigh this winter and thus under NCAA current rules, won't be eligible to compete in the league next summer.

While recruiting advantage considerations are probably behind the legislation, nothing prevents collegiate coaches from competing in the WNBA.

Orange, incidentally, which fell to 1-2, is composed primarily of Division II Philadelphia University players.

"Despite the score, players on both of these teams really compete," said Lime Green coach Ted Hagedorn, whose daughter Elle is on the squad and will be a senior at Harvard.

All class designations in these posts refer to players' collegiate statuses this winter.

"I think Philly U. should be really good this season," Hagedorn added.

Meanwhile, Black and Hunter Green also remain unbeaten, while Royal Blue, composed primarily of Division II Holy Family players, and Kelly Green, primarily composed of Division II University of Sciences in Philadelphia (USP), picked up their first wins in three tries.

The two schools along with Philadelphia University compete in the winter in the Central Atlantic Collegate Conference (CACC) while Vegas Gold is composed primarily of Division II players from West Chester, which competes in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division.

Before reviewing the six games, there is one roster adjustment from the Guru's guide posted earlier this month. Ash Gray's Da'Kiya Johnson, who recently was married, is no longer at Santa Monica College out West and this winter will, as a transfer student-athlete, join Chestnut Hill, which also competes in the CACC.

Also, for those not yet following the Guru's twitter handle at @womhoopsguru in which he offers first alerts on new posts on league coverage and other WBB items in this blog, the Guru repeats the news that Penn volunter assistant Kelly Killion will begin Monday as the new second assistant at Sacred Heart in Connecticut.

She played for McLaughlin when he built Holy Family to a Division II powerhouse. The Guru also believes she might have played in the league.

"It's well deserved," he texted the Guru Tuesday night of Killion's hire. "She did an awesome job for us."

With all that said, let's go to scoreboard and review Tuesday's action game-by-game and thanks as always for the email from longtime commissioner David Kessler.

You can reach him at deucebk@comcast.net for more information on the league.

"The goal here is for everyone to have fun and hopefully pick up some things that will make everyone better when they return to their respective schools in the fall," Kessler said.

The gym is at the end of Turnpike Drive, alongside the Pennsylvania Turnpike, in the Willow Grove Industrial Commons section all the way at the end.

The approach is off Davisville Road near the intersection with Byberry Road and is also near the 611 exit of the Turnpike, if you are googling directions.

Admission is free, there was another sizeable crowd Tuesday, which also had former Central High Public League coach Frank Greco, who guided Cardinal Red's Ashley Morris, Lakia Stewart and Melissa Livingston.

There is also a concession stand with a multitude of items, including Italian water ice, for those hot nights, as it was last time out.

The Rundown

Speaking of hot, besides Kuester's performance with Lime Green, the defending champions also got 14 points from recent Villanova graduate Megan Pearson, 13 each from Lafayette senior Alicia Manning and Lehigh freshman Elizabeth Sharlow, while Dana Mitchell, a 2010 St. Bonaventure graduate, scored 12 points.

Kristen Blye, a Phila. U. senior, led Orange with 12 points, and sophomore Najah Jacobs scored eight points.

Hunter Green stayed unbeaten by turning aside Columbia Blue 74-63 with another pair of St. Joseph's stars as Hawks senior Shelby Smith scored 16 points and junior Erin Shields scored 14 points. Division III Swarthmore senior Madeline Ross scored 13 points.

Columbia Blue (1-2) was paced by a third-straight stellar game from Princeton freshman Alex Wheatley, who scored 20 points. Taylor Bryant, an incoming Delaware freshman, scored 17 points.

Black (3-0), the other unbeaten squad, benefitted from Villanova sophomore Emily Leer, who scored 21 points in an 84-57 win over Vegas Gold ( 0-3), one of two teams still looking for a victory.

Ironically, the other one besides the Vegas Gold group composed primarily of Division II West Chester is Gold (0-3), which fell to Royal Blue, 65-32.

Other big scorers for Black were Jasmine Elume, a recent grad of Bethune Cookman who scored 18 points, Alex Smith, a Holy Cross sophomore who scored 17, and Kutztown's Ashley Wood, a senior, who scored 14 points.

Golden Rams sophomore Kendall Benovy scored 11 points for Vegas Gold, while sophomore Stephanie Keyes scored nine points.

The 84 points from Black had been the previous high any team scored in the first two nights of activity.

Cardinal Red (2-1) bounced back from Thursday's loss to Lime Green by handing Ash Gray (2-1), the only other previous unbeaten team, a 73-47 defeat as Temple 2008 grad Ashley Morris scored 20 points and Lakia Stewart, a 2007 graduate of Kent State, scored 16 points.

Brenna Coll, a Delaware Valley College sophomore, scored 12 points for Ash Gray, while Lindsay Alexander, a Chestnut Hill senior, scored nine points.

In Royal Blue's 65-32 win over Gold, the first triumph of the season for the Division II Holy Family contingent, Tigers senior Erin Mann and freshman Erin Fenningham each scored 16 points, while junior Mary Ellen McCollum scored 14 points.

Gold's Michele McCaughren, a recent La Salle graduate, scored eight points and Lebanon Valley junior Gabrielle Vass scored six points, as did her college classmate Lauren Ruhl.

The game was the first of the season in which both sides were still looking to prevail.

In the other game on the schedule, Kelly Green (1-2), composed primarily of University of Sciences in Philadelphia players, got its first win and the second highest overall team total of the season, with an 85-59 win over Purple (1-2).

Brianne Taub, who will graduate 2017 from USP, because of the work-study program, scored 18 points for Kelly Green, as did Natalie Stella of the projected class of 2018. Kate Schmid, a Devils sophomore, scored 11 points.

Marissa Repasch, a Lehigh junior, got the highest total on a losing side this season, scoring 23 points for Purple, while Becky Guman, a Lehigh senior, scored 11 points.

Looking Ahead

On Thursday night play resumes with the following six games:

In the 7 p.m. games, this Thursday, Gold (0-3) will meet Purple (1-2) on Court 1, Hunter Green (3-0) will meet Cardinal Red (2-1) on Court 2, and Orange (1-2) will meet Vegas Gold (0-3) on Court 3.

The 8:15 p.m. games will feature Black (3-0) against Kelly Green (1-2) on Court 1, Lime Green (3-0) against Columbia Blue (1-2) on Court 2, and Ash Gray (1-2) against Royal Blue (1-2).

Based on the matchups, the three unbeaten teams could remain as such heading into the brief holiday break but Hunter Green will get a challenge from Cardinal Red.

Next week, games will not be held on Tuesday, July 3, in advance of the holiday but they will resume the day after on Thursday, July 5,

In the 7 p.m. games, Ash Gray will meet Vegas Gold on Court 1, Purple will meet Columbia Blue on Court 2, and Kelly Green will meet Gold on Court 3.

At 8:15, Black will meet Royal Blue on Court 1, Orange will meet Cardinal Red on Court 2, and Lime Green will meet Hunter Green on Court 3.


Lime Green 3-0 --- 234 157
Black 3-0 --- 205 139
Hunter Grn 3-0 --- 224 196
Cardinal Red 2-1 1.0 219 180
Ash Gray 2-1 1.0 180 158
Kelly Green 1-2 2.0 171 192
Purple 1-2 1.0 150 191
Orange 1-2 2.0 163 191
Royal Blue 1-2 2.0 148 158
Col. Blue 1-2 2.0 179 187
Vegas Gold 0-3 3.0 172 249
Gold 0-3 3.0 118 191

Top Individual Performers (20 or more pts)

Tues., June 26, Katie Kuester, Lime Green, 26 pts., vs. Orange.
Tues., June 19 Lakia Stewart, Card. Red, 23 pts. vs. Vegas Gold.
Tues., June 26, Marissa Repasch, Purple, 23 pts., vs. Kelly Green
Thurs., June 21, Noelle Alicea, Gold, 21 pts. vs. Columbia Blue.
Tues., June 26, Emily Leer, Black, 21 pts., vs. Vegas Gold.
Tues., June 19, Kendall Benovy, Vegas Gold, 20 pts., vs. Cardinal Red.
Tues., June 19, Jessica Sylvester, Kelly Green, 20 pts., vs. Hunter Green.
Thurs., June 21, Tiffany Johnson, Vegas Gold, 20 pts., vs. Hunter Green.
Tues., June 26, Alex Wheatley, Columbia Blue, 20 pts., vs. Hunter Green.
Tues., June 26, Ashley Morris, Cardinal Red, 20 pts., vs. Ash Gray.

Results To Date

Tues., June 26
Hunter Green 74, Columbia Blue 63
Black 84, Vegas Gold 47
Cardinal Red 73, Ash Gray 47
Royal Blue 65, Gold 32
Lime Green 87, Orange 58
Kelly Green 85, Purple 59

Thurs., June 21
Ash Gray 64, Kelly Green 46
Lime Green 75, Cardinal Red 62
Black 55, Purple 33
Columbia Blue 57, Gold 47
Hunter Green 81, Vegas Gold 68
Orange 54, Royal Blue 46

Tues., June 19
Hunter Green 69, Kelly Green 66
Purple 58, Orange 51
Lime Green 72, Royal Blue 37
Cardinal Red 84, Vegas Gold 58
Black 66, Columbia Blue 59
Ash Gray 69, Gold 39

Noteworthy Statistics

Highest winning total: Lime Green 87, Orange 58 -- 6/26
Lowest winning total: Orange 54, Royal Blue 46 -- 6/21
Highest losing total: Hunter Green 81, Vegas Gold 68 -- 6/21
Lowest losing total: Royal Blue 65, Gold 32 -- 6/19
Highest differential: Black 84, Vegas Gold 47 -- 6/26
Lowest differential: Hunter Green 69, Kelly Green 66 -- 6/26

Grid Against League
Lime Green (3-0) vs. Royal Blue (W), Cardinal Red (W), Orange (W).
Black (3-0) vs. Columbia Blue (W), Purple (W), Vegas Gold (W)
Hunter Green (3-0) vs. Kelly Green (W), Vegas Gold (W), Columbia Bl. (W).
Cardinal Red (2-1) vs. Vegas Gold (W), Lime Green (L), Ash Gray (W).
Ash Gray (2-1) vs. Gold (W), Kelly Green (W), Card Red (L)
Kelly Green (1-2) vs. Hunter Green (L), Ash Gray (L), Purple (W)
Purple (1-2) vs. Orange (W), Black (L), Kelly Green (L)
Orange (1-2) vs. Purple (L), Royal Blue (W), Lime Green (L)
Royal Blue (1-2) vs. Lime Green (L), Orange (L), Gold (W).
Columbia Blue (1-2) vs. Black (L), Gold (W), Hunter Green (L)
Vegas Gold (0-3) vs. Cardinal Red (L), Hunter Green (L), Black (L)
Gold (0-3) vs. Ash Gray (L), Columbia Blue (L), Royal Blue (L).

Whole Units
Kelly Green -- University of Sciences in Philadelphia
Orange -- Philadelphia University
Royal Blue -- Holy Family
Vegas Gold -- West Chester

That's it.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Guru's WNBA Report: Seattle Heads East Anything But Sleepless

(Guru's note: Since the Guru got a bigger reaction than anticipated, those looking for his Title IX impact on women's basketball retrospective written in the middle of the night for Sunday, can find it under this post.

If you got here via a melgreenberg.com link, click mel's blog on the left panel to get back to the full archive in blogspot. If the Guru skips town to go to Washington Tuesday night, there will still be a Philadelphia/Suburban Women's NCAA Summer League roundup by Wednesday morning off Tuesday's action, which the Guru will attend if he didn't head South.).

By Mel Greenberg

Two teams stabilized in an upward direction in the West while in the East the Atlanta Dream stopped the bleeding at the expense of the New York Liberty, which took an additional hit being overrun Thursday at the WNBA defending champion Minnesota Lynx.

The Seattle Storm, after a dreadful start, or delightful for those draft lottery fans in the Emerald City, mounted a four-game win streak highlighted by the home upset of Minnesota, halting the Lynx's WNBA-record 10-0 start.

That game technically was on the back end of the previous week.

Meanwhile, the San Antonio Silver Stars shook off a Friday loss to Seattle by getting their second straight win over the current Western runnerups Los Angeles Sparks in the standings, a win that has coach Dan Hughes' squad more on a playoff-bound tilt.

The Washington Mystics went 0-for-the-West in their three-game road trip, highlighted by a come-from-ahead loss to the Phoenix Mercury in a game between two teams that are more on course for the grand draft lottery sweepstakes.

The Chicago Sky played their first and only game since the foot injury to former Rutgers star Epiphanny Prince sidelined her until after the Olympics break but coach Pokey Chatman's group were underdogs either way at Minnesota, which made it two straight after the loss at Seattle.

This week will be more of a measuring stick for Chicago as to the state of things, which the Guru will address in his weekly conference-by-conference, team-by-team preview of the storylines between now and Sunday.

After that, just two more weeks and it will be time to rest for a month, except for those WNBA stars who will either be competing for the USA's gold medal asiprations or those of their respective countries foreign to American shores.


Connecticut Sun (9-3) -- By winning at home in the first of a two-game set against the Indiana Fever before being blasted two nights later by the same team in Indianapolis, coach Mike Thibault's bunch took care of the agenda on the week.

The Sun, who won't see the Fever again until the last week of the season, can do no worse than tie in the four-game series with the Indiana group who finished tied with Connecticut at the top of the East a year ago but got the overall No. 1 conference seed by winning the series with the Sun.

Only two games are on tap for Connecticut this week, a visit to Washington Friday and then a trip back home to the casino on Sunday for a visit from the Seattle Storm.

Technically, though a sweep is possible, the Washington visit is the more critical game because it is a chance to get close to locking up another season-series and add to the fat number of East wins Connecticut has already compiled.

The Sun, who have already gotten as rich as possible through previous drafts, have just one focus in their suitcase in shooting for the best in the East and then going on from there.

There will be two more games against Washington before the break after this week so getting the Mystics while they continue to struggle is a priority.

As for the Seattle visit, the Storm could arrive at Mohegan with a six-game streak and building momentum during this season's annual homecoming trip by former UConn star Sue Bird.

Connecticut is 0-2 against the top guns of the West in Minnesota and Los Angeles in competitive home losses to the Lynx and Sparks.

Considering that the next time the two meet in Seattle in the closing weeks of the season Australian superstar Lauren Jackson will have returned to the Storm from her Olympics hiatus and the race for No. 1 in the East could still be open, this is a worthwhile win that still has significant importance.

To sum it up, 2-0 and the Sun continue to shine, 1-1, depends on which way the 1-1 goes, and 0-2 gives Connecticut's Eastern challengers hope the Sun can be overcome.

Chicago Sky (7-3) -- The week is a tough one, especially without Prince. Had she been uninjured and on board, the Sky would have had one more weapon to make a concept of potentially going 3-0 realistic.

The Chicago menu calls for visits from Indiana, whom the Sky are 0-2 against, on Wednesday, a visit from the Phoenix Mercury on Friday and a visit from Atlanta on Sunday.

Though still loaded with talent, a 3-0 week for the Sky doesn't seem likely, but if it does happen Chatman will be in the hunt for WNBA coach of the year through the rest of the season.

Considering Chicago's battling with Indiana for Eastern positioning, a win over the Fever seems imperative to at least stop the Midwest neighbors from locking up a season series with the Sky.

The only help will be that Indiana will be coming in to the Allstate arena in the suburbs of the Windy City via the back-to-back route after visiting Atlanta on Tuesday.

Phoenix is attainable while Atlanta is a tossup. So in total, going 1-2 isn't terrible, 2-1 is a plus, and 0-3 is a danger signal for a team seeking its first playoffs in seven tries.

But New York, currently out of a playoff spot, trails Chicago by 4.5 games so it would take a balancing Sky-dive and Liberty torch to change both teams fortunes at the same time.

Indiana Fever (7-4) -- In two games with Connecticut, the Fever wanted a sweep but got enough leverage out of a split to stay in contention as defending Eastern regular-seas0n co-champions.

The back-to-back mentioned in the Chicago report is all that's on the Fever's slate so a sweep will be dandy, a split won't be terrible, but even if the week results at going 0-2, Indiana still has a four-game lead over New York in the hunt for one of the four playoff spots.

Atlanta Dream (5-7) -- Forcing New York to cough up the ball on Sunday, except when the Liberty weren't using the unforced variety of turnovers, got the Dream even on the season series with the Liberty at 2-2 and a little more distance for the fourth playoff spot.

It is not impossible for the two-time defending Eastern playoff champions to dream of a 3-0 week that includes Indiana's daytime visit to Georgia on Tuesday, a trip to Tulsa to meet the Shock on Friday and a visit to Chicago on Sunday.

All those games could go either way, Tulsa's 1-11 record notwithstanding.

But considering the stakes, 3-0 for the Dream would be spectacular and 2-1 holds serve. However, going 1-2 is not helpful, and 0-3 is worse besides giving New York , except for its fans cheering for the lottery, hope for a return to the playoffs.

New York Liberty (4-9) -- Just one game is on tap, a visit from Seattle on Saturday. Once again the Liberty, as has been the case in every game but the Washington visit, are the underdogs.

Considering the state of things, a win avoids a deepening hole from continuing for the moment, though a loss, as mentioned, could help ultimately help make the long-range future secure off the price of a painful present.

Washington Mystics (2-8) -- The good news is that despite everything going wrong, the Mystics are still just two games off a playoff spot, though if Atlanta has a big week, toss that item out the window.

But then, there does remain off a Washington team with the second worst record in the WNBA, that Mystics' fans vision of another Baylor star gracing the nation's capital, but this time in women's basketball, is still attainable.

It's another tough week for the Mystics with Seattle visiting Tuesday, Connecticut visiting Friday and Phoenix visiting Sunday.

Playoff-wise, the Mystics could use a 3-0 or 2-1 week, though the Connecticut visit is the only conference game. More than likely, it will be 1-2 or 0-3, giving rise to the prospects of a winter-summer, Griffin-Griner show, in which RGIII visits the WNBA Verizon Center while Brittney, winner of the Honda College Cup as the female athlete of the year, likewise becomes an NFL Redskins fan.

And if not Griner, then transportation officials along I-95 need to be establishing an HOV lane between Delaware and D.C. to allow Elena Delle Donne's family, friends, and fans, in general, a quicker trip between the lands of the Blue Hens and Mystics.


Minnesota Lynx (12-1) -- A mixed week with Phoenix visiting Wednesday and a trip to San Antonio on Sunday. A sweep keeps the domination going while a split won't be the worst thing, though apparently the host Silver Stars won't easily succumb to the Minneapolis powerhouse.

And if it's 0-2, well, it it's 0-2 the Guru will spend more time next week talking about this week in terms of the Lynx.

Los Angeles Sparks (10-4) -- Well, it will be interesting, maybe, or just a 2-0 attempt to keep pace with Minnesota or gain some ground on the Lynx.

There's a visit to Tulsa on Tuesday and then a trip to San Antonio on Thursday.

The host Shock did suffer a buzzer-beating loss against Los Angeles earlier this season so let's not entirely write Tulsa off.

But then comes a trip to San Antonio, where the Silver Stars have a two-game win streak against the Sparks, including Sunday's decisive win.

Going 1-1 is not likely to be anything worth celebrating, but the thought of 0-2 is unthinkable, isn't it? Maybe that's a question that will need revisiting late Tuesday night.

San Antonio Silver Stars (5-7) -- It's a big one with two challenges to avoid slipping back to the lottery hunt, though Texas fans wouldn't cry if their Baylor star becomes a resident in the Alamo City.

Los Angeles visits Thursday, looking for revenge, and there's a trip to Minnesota Sunday. In terms of the standings, 0-2 won't be outrageous, though on the other end 2-0 might have Hughes in the coach of the year hunt.

Actually, to kill time, perhaps we'll give out half-year awards during the Olympics to offer something besides ongoing wipeouts by the WNBA/USA All-Stars/UConn alumni club in London.

As to the other possible record for the week ahead for the Silver Stars, 1-1 holds serve nicely in the West.

Seattle Storm (5-7) -- The Storm are surging and now comes an Eastern road trip where Tuesday's visit to Washington, Saturday's visit to New York, and Sunday's visit to Connecticut makes a potential 3-0 attainable, though 2-1 with the one being a loss to the Sun still keeps things upbeat.

Anything less, however, and it might be time to go back to lottery speculation again.

Phoenix Mercury (3-8) -- Well, lottery fans in the desert could suffer some disappointment because it is possible that the Mercury could go 2-1 with the one being Wednesday when Phoenix visits Minnesota.

But in light of the Sky injuries, Phoenix has a chance in Chicago Friday and in an even-up lottery special again, the Mercury has a strong shot at topping Washington Sunday in the nation's capital.

This might be a good weekend for the Delle Donne family to window shop in Newark, N.J., on Saturday (where New York is playing here for two more seasons) and Washington on Sunday.

Tulsa Shock (1-11) -- On paper, it looks like an 0-2 week with Los Angeles visiting Tuesday and Atlanta on Friday. So anything more is a plus, though 2-0 would be stunning.

But if not, in terms of the lottery race for best chance at the ping pong balls for delivering the overall No. 1 pick, that two-game lead on Washington for overall worst record could grow.

And that's it for now. Depending on the Guru's morning, he may be in Washington for Tuesday night's tilt, but will make at least one visit there, anyway, on the weekend.

The pressure is off Tuesday for the Guru to motor down to D.C., considering the thought of not being able to dine with Jayda at Old Ebbitt's for postgame repast (and raw bar) is unbearable (wink).

-- Mel

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Guru Retrospective: Looking Back Over Four Decades Of Title IX Impact On Basketball

By Mel Greenberg

Far more insights have been opined throughout the weekend on the 40th anniversary of the landmark Title IX federal legislation that inherently gave women the right to compete in sports at publicly funded institutions when the bill became law in 1972.

But the Guru thought he should weigh in with something because of his having been around the growth of women's basketball along the way in the Title IX era.

It hasn't been all Title IX in terms of the women's growth, though the amendment to the 1972 Education Acts bill certainly was the primary major factor in propeling the growth of the sport.

Coming off his undegraduate years as a Big Five men's fan at Temple University here, not far from where the legendary Dawn Staley. now coach of South Carolina, spent her formative years, basketball had always been embraced by men and women and in terms of the women.

This area -- city and suburbs -- traditionally was a hotbed for the gender.

The high schools had stellar girls competition and of course out in the suburbs there was that small women's Catholic college Imaculata, which won the first three national championships under the former Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW).

Hall of Famer Cathy Rush was the coach.

Before that, Carol Eckman at then-named West Chester State College, the alma mater of one Geno Auriemma, in 1969 decided to run an invitational tournament consisting of just collegiate women's teams.

The Golden Rams won that first title -- on a day, incidentally, that the Temple men's team of which the Guru was the basketball manager was winning the then-fashionable NIT in New York City.

It worked so well, two more were held elsewhere and that led to the formation of the AIAW, where Immaculata beat West Chester.

Last fall a movie called the Mighty Macs, now in DVD, finally made it to theater screens where the story of the first championship, ironically in 1972 several months before Title IX became a reality, was well received.

In local AAU competition, Mike Flynn had already been in business several seasons running the powerful Blue Star program featuring his Philadelphia Belles that still exists.

A young coach at another suburban collegiate institution -- C. Vivian Stringer -- was developing a program at Cheyney, though with limited resources.

Meanwhile, though the Guru, following his move out of Temple and down the street to The Philadelphia Inquirer, which is in its final days on North Broad Street before moving elsewhere in Center City, still hung around the Owls' men's team and eventually began to cover some of their games.

But at the same time elsewhere near the Temple athletic department, which had fielded women's teams for several decades but not in a merged setup, powerful individuals in the physical education building such as Carole A. Oglesby, now at National College in La Jolla, Calif., were becoming a force behind the move to Title IX, th0ugh former Indiana Democractice U.S. Senator Birch Bayh was not necessarily focusing on sports, per se, when he sponsored the legislation.

Oglesby became one of the first AIAW presidents and a few years later another notable became involved at Temple -- Alpha Alexander who today is an administrator at Morristown East High, about an hour East of Knoxville in Tennessee.

These were some of the backdrop people and settings the Guru quickly came to know when in the fall of 1975 Jay Searcy arrived from the New York Times to become sports editor of The Inquirer.

Today he is actually retired down at Knoxville.

Searcy had written a Women In Sports weekly Sunday column at the Times and asked the Guru to pick up his work at The Inquirer, though the Guru at that time had other duties and was still years away from becoming a formal member of the writing staff.

Some of the Guru's early stories beginning after 1972 were already being written as a result of some of the effects of Title IX.

Hall of Famer Theresa Grentz, for example, the former star center of Immaculata coaching St. Joseph's, was hired away an hour to the North where Rutgers made her one of the first, if not very first, coaches who could hold the position and did not also have to teach physical education or some other courses.

Contrast that with Penn State, at that time, and this little tale the Guru has in his long history of experiences.

Pat Mesier, who was one of the Guru's first voting coaches, had been imploring the Guru to come up to Happy Valley for a big game with Immaculata because she sensed a victory against the national power.

She invited the Guru to stay over her house but on the morning of the game Mesier first had to teach a dance class, come home to feed her young toddler breakfast while going over the game plan.

But Penn State did pull an upset that day and joined the poll for the first time and became a mainstay most of the 36 seasons.

Today Mesier is a successful overall athletic director at the University of Hartford.

Two of her famous hires were former UConn star Jenn Rizzotti for basketball with the Hawks and, previously, as a UConn official in the athletic department, she helped bring Geno Auriemma on board.

Another school that made an early commitment to go big-time in all women's sports was Maryland. One of the Guru's first games covering Immaculata was highlighted, after another easy win, by Coach Rush taking aside the media on hand to let us know she had been invited by the Terrapins to interview for the coaching job.

But Rush decided the job deserved to go to Chris Weller, who had been the assistant to Dottie McKnight, another of the early pioneers, and went on to a distinguished career in 27 seasons.

A few years later, after Immaculata's title game run ended in 1977 with losses in the semifinals and consolation to LSU, which had an Australian player who became the mother of WNBA Seattle Storm star Lauren Jackson, and to Tennessee, Rush could sense the wave coming as large schools with athletic scholarships available would push others aside.

An early joke about the new opportunity used to be one of a father deploring his daughter to forget the piano and forget playing with dolls, get outside and pick up a basketball.

Obviously, the idea of free tuition had its appeal and women historically, unlike the men, have overwhelmingly stayed focused on academics while pursuing basketball competition.

One of the early things Searcy did to the Guru after arriving at The Inquirer, was harrange him for several months to begin a weekly women's poll, which eventually became the Associated Press women's rankings, then voted by coaches. Since 1994-95 a media panel has voted.

The Guru mentions this in terms of the poll because the rankings became a way to illustrate the impact Title IX's effect on the landscape.

For example, the very first poll had such schools near the top as Immaculata, Wayland Baptist, Delta State, Queens College, William Penn, Southern Connecticut and several others.

By the end of the first season of the poll (1976-77), more schools regularly associated with football such as the ones mentioned, along with North Carolina State, which made an early commitment, and Penn State, among others, began to be the ones with consistent rankings.

Another early project Searcy gave the Guru, who did not have a byline at the time, was to write a series on the coming of athletic scholarships for women.

Incidentally, the series ran with a big display in the Los Angeles Times while in the Guru's home paper -- well, that chapter will be left off here until the Guru gets around to writing his memoirs.

But, in the course of interviewing and researching the series, the Guru was told time and time again that while scholarships were one byproduct of Title IX, the real effect of the law will be seen down at the elementary and secondary school levels.

The reason is that young girls would now begin to get the benefits of better coaching, etc. Forecasters continuously predicted that the true oustanding female athletes of the future, for the most part, were a decade or two away.

Indeed, there became a trend where almost every season, even among the high profile teams, entering freshmen classes were consisting of more talent than the senior classes, who were departing.

And sure enough, though basketball had seen such great stars as Nancy Lieberman, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Theresa Grentz, Marianne Stanley, Carol Blazejowski, Lynette Woodard, and Cheryl Mller early on, it was the summer of 1996 that things blossomed when the Olympic Games in Atlanta marked the achievement of women who had been Title IX babies, so to speak.

That success fueled several pro leagues in women's soccer, which was short-lived, and two in basketball -- the American Basketball League, which lasted a month into its third season before going bankrupt, and the WNBA, which is still alive today.

Though the small salaries in the WNBA are often criticized when compared to the NBA and women's pay overseas in the winter, the financial figures are like millions compared to failed efforts at pro leagues in the 1980s.

But the Leibermans, Meyers-Drysdales, and Blazejowskis, who played then, including a future WNBA president named Donna (nee Giles) Orender, as well as some of the coaches then in charge, like one Doug Bruno, the longtime mentor at DePaul, it was more about the love of the game than the hardships of pay and arena settings.

Of course, media coverage grew until the economic climate in the newspaper industry began to cause a decline of print coverage, though the internet is a somewhat quality replacement for what had existed.

But back then, Title IX was part of a total women's movement and papers were anxious to draw female readers. Who knew more of them were interested in reading men's sports, which has been noted in several stories this past weekend.

Stil, the market following women's sports is now sizeable, especially considering role models exist for young girls to emulate and the role models are female instead of the Michael Jordans, Larry Birds and Magic Johnsons that they grew up wanting to be like.

The athletes out of Title IX helped Connecticut win its first NCAA women's basketball championship in 1995 and coming just before the Olympics of '96, the national media organizations, print and broadcast, out of New York jumped onto the story after the Huskies had upset Tennessee during the season to become No. 1 for the first time.

And another thing that helped, something the Guru would point out in the early years on the circuit, is that just as the old guard male administrators at universities were not happy with the coming of Title IX, individuals on the women's circuit were told of media coverage:

Be patient. Soon young editors will come on board and they will have daughters involved with collegiate athletics and when that happens, there will be a sea change.

The Guru had his own experience in a positive sense back in the day when Dawn Staley was making Virginia into a powerhouse.

The daughter of a very high ranking editor at the Guru's paper had become the athletic trainer of the Cavaliers' women's basketball team, as well as a close friend of Staley's. As a result, well, the Guru will save that ditty for the memoirs.

Just let's say suddenly more scores than local were on the results page and more trips to Charlottesville for big games became commonplace.

The NCAA's sponsorship of women's championships also became a product of Title IX.

Just as the discussion noted the change in attitudes at newspapers, as teams began to gain profiles, suddenly athletic directors who ignored women's competition as a necessary evil of Title IX began to transform almost into cheerleaders.

By the way, there's the famous story of then-Texas football coach Darrell Royal and several of his prominent colleagues testifying in congress that passage would be the ruination of their sport.

But after the dust settled and Jody Conradt had made the Longhorns into a national title contender, Royal on more than a few occasions showed up at team cookouts.

On the other hand, for all the controversy in the past year involving the late Joe Paterno at Penn State, the Guru can say he was a major supporter of women's athletics, especially when he ran the department as athletic director.

He and the Guru often crossed paths when the Lady Lions played in old Rec Hall and Paterno once impressed the Guru's friends at CoSIDA, the college sports PR directors, when he gave the Guru a shoutout during a speech he made to the group at one their annual conventions.

But back to the point, since the AIAW operated on limited resources, ADs began to get the idea that travel costs could be saved and perhaps athletes could be given more attention in the then mega machine the NCAA was in terms of promotion.

And so the push was made to the NCAA to adopt women's competition and governance and, though it was a battle with AIAW at the time, the legislation was passed at the annual convention in Miami in 1981.

The Guru, who covered the proceedings, lightheartedly noted how several opposing sides he knew would argue on the convention floor in the morning and afternoon sessions and then dance with each other when socializing in the city where the NCAA convention was held.

It's funny that Senator Bayh has said that when he introduced Title IX he was more concerned with academic equality then athletics.

That's like back in the neophyte post-typewriter days in the newspaper business -- yes some of us actually had our little Olivettis (like owning an iPod) back in the day to take to press row with reams of five-part carbon paper to use to report the story.

Anyhow, after some early incarnations of equipment we used, Radio Shack came along and introduced TR-80s, those little eight-line screens also lovingly referred to as Trash 80s.

The last piece of hardware before computers began to sprout, Radio Shack toted the marvels of these device in terms of such businesses as finance among others.

But as an applicati0n to help produce journalism in remote settings away from the newsroom, the TRS-80 wasn't even on anyone's radar at the giant electronics corporation.

Today, of course, there are smart phones, PCs and Mac Books, iPads, the internet, twitter, facebook, social media conversation in other forms.

In other words, technology has evolved just as women's athletics has evolved.

At her recent induction at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoville, Staley, who is now the coach of South Carolina after coaching Temple in her native city, had a discussion with the Guru about how technology and basketball has grown since her days as a Title IX baby at Dobbins Tech High in Philadelphia and playing basketball on the neighborhood blacktops at an early age.

"It's crazy how you chronicle how the game has evolved," Staley said. "When you talk about how much talent there is in the game today, you also have to talk about technology.

"Access to communicate. Access to seeing women's basketball on TV (and iPads, phones and computers). All those things have evolved," she added.

"I think we've evolved like technology. So it's a great thing that technology has evolved like us."

And by the time the next national Title IX birthday super-celebration occurs, either at year No. 45, or year No. 50, the capacity for growth will have been limitless.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 22, 2012

Guru's Philly Summer League Report: Black's Rally And Lime Green's Finish Keep Both Unbeaten

By Mel Greenberg

Defending champion Lime Green broke away from Cardinal Red down the stretch for a 75-62 victory while Black rallied from an early 14-2 deficit to beat Purple 55-33 as the two winners along with Ash Gray and Hunter Green Thursday night finished opening week unbeaten with 2-0 records in the Philadelphia/Suburban Women's Summer Basketball League at Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades.

Additionally, Columbia Blue and Orange, which is primarily Division II Philadelphia University, picked up their first wins to even their records at 1-1.

In Lime Green's triumph, Dana Mitchell, a 2010 graduate of St. Bonaventure, had 18 points, while recent Villanova graduate Megan Pearson scored 16 points and recent Saint Joseph's graduate Katie Kuester, who is in line to be a grad assistant at Lehigh this winter, scored 14 points.

Cardinal Red (1-1), involved in one of two games Thursday night in which each opponent had opening wins, got 17 points from Kent State 2007 graduate Lakia Stwart, while Temple 2008 graduate Ashley Morris scored 14 points.

Black (2-0) beat previous unbeaten Purple (1-1) as New Hampshire junior Bridgette McKnight scored 14 points and Holy Cross junior Alex Smith scored 10 points.

All collegiate class designations in the Guru's posts over the summer refer to players' designations when school resumes this winter.

Lehigh junior Marisa Repasch scored 18 points for Purple, while Kisha Thompson, a 1998 graduate of Philadelpia University, scored six points.

Ash Gray (2-0) stayed unbeaten with an easy 64-46 win over Kelly Green (0-2), which is composed primarily of Division II University of Sciences in Philadelphia (USP), as Lindsay Alexander, a Division II Chestnut Hill College senior, scored 17 points and Delaware Valley College sophomore Brenna Coll scored 11 points.

Kelly Green's Brianne Taub, targeted for graduation in 2017, scored 18 points, and Natalie Stella, listed as 2018 for graduation from the Devils of USP, scored five points.

Hunter Green dominated Vegas Gold (0-2), primarily Division II West Chester, 81-68, as Division III Swarthmore senior Madeline Ross scored 16 points, Ciara Andrews, an incoming Saint Joseph's freshman, scored 12 points, while Bryant senior Maureen Leahy and Messiah College senior Jordan Seiz each scored 11 points.

Two of the best individual performances of the night came from players whose teams were defeated. One was turned in by Golden Rams sophomore Tiffany Johnson of Vegas Gold, who scored 20 points. Her West Chester classmate Kendall Benovy scored 19 points and another sophomore, Stephanie Keyes, scored 15 points in the loss to Hunter Green.

Orange (1-1) got into winning column with a 54-46 triumph beating Royal Blue (0-2) composed primarily of Division II Holy Family players.

In the winter, Philadelphia University, Holy Family and USP all compete in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) while West Chester is in the Eastern part of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

Rams senior Kristen Blye led Orange with 12 points, while sophomore Najah Jacobs scored nine points.

Erin Mann, a Tigers senior, scored 18 points for Royal Blue, and incoming freshman Sarah Listenbee scored eight points.

In the other game of the night on the ongoing triple doubleheader, six-game card played by the 12 teams, Columbia Blue (1-1) left the week with a 57-47 win over Gold (0-2) as incoming Princeton freshman Alex Wheatley scored 18 points, following her 19 points in Tuesday's opening loss to Black.

Danielle Derr, a Bloomsburg senior, added 11 points to Columbia's total.

Gold got the night's overall top individual performance from Scranton senior Noelle Alicea, who poured down 21 points. Lebanon Valley junior Lauren Ruhl and her collegiate classmate Gabrielle Vass each scored nine points, while recent La Salle grad Michelle McCaughern scored eight points.

Looking Ahead

On Tuesday night play resumes at the site, which is part of the Willow Grove Industrial Commons complex located at the end of Turnpike Drive off Davisville Road.

The location is near the intersection of Byberry and Davisville Roads, if you're googling, as well as the Route 611 exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Admission is free -- there were about 100 or spectators, including family and friends -- and there is a concession stand.

The Gym is near the end of the complex and if parking seems filled you can go around the back and find spots, to save footsteps, and the entrances at the top of the wooden ramps will be open.

Longtime commissioner David Kessler usually provides a newsletter with updated information and you can find rosters on this site in the blog that previewed the season.

You can email the commssioner at deucedbk@comcast.net.

In the 7 p.m. games, this Tuesday, Columbia Blue (1-1) will meet Hunter Green (2-0) on Court 1, Black (2-0) will play Vegas Gold (0-2) on Court 2, and Ash Gray (2-0) will meet Cardinal Red (1-1) on Court 3.

The 8:15 p.m. games will feature Royal Blue (0-2) against Gold (0-2) on Court 1 leading to a season-first win for one of the teams, while Lime Green (2-0) meets Orange (1-1) on Court 2, and Purple (1-1) will meet Kelly Green (0-2) on Court 3.

On Thursday the opening 7 p.m. games match Gold against Purple on Court 1, Hunter Green against Cardinal Red on Court 2, and Vegas Gold against Orange on Court 3.

The 8:15 contests match Kelly Green against Black on Court 1, Lime Green against Columbia Blue on Court 2, and Ash Gray against Royal Blue on on Court 3.

Based on the matchups, all four current unbeaten teams could remain knotted by the end of next week with four-game win streaks.

Following next week, games will not be held on Tuesday, July 3, in advance of the holiday but they will resume the day after on Thursday, July 5,


Lime Green 2-0 --- 147 99
Ash Gray 2-0 --- 133 85
Black 2-0 --- 121 92
Hunter Grn 2-0 --- 150 134
Cardinal Red 1-1 1.0 146 133
Purple 1-1 1.0 91 106
Col. Blue 1-1 1.0 116 113
Orange 1-1 1.0 105 104
Kelly Green 0-2 2.0 112 133
Vegas Gold 0-2 2.0 126 165
Gold 0-2 2.0 86 126
Royal Blue 0-2 2.0 83 126

Top Individual Performers (20 or more pts)

Tues., June 19 Lakia Stewart, Card. Red, 23 pts. vs. Vegas Gold.
Thurs., June 21, Noelle Alicea, Gold, 21 pts. vs. Columbia Blue.
Tues., June 19, Kendall Benovy, Vegas Gold, 20 pts., vs. Cardinal Red.
Tues., June 19, Jessica Sylvester, Kelly Green, 20 pts., vs. Hunter Green.
Thurs., June 21, Tiffany Johnson, Vegas Gold, 20 pts., vs. Hunter Green.

Results To Date

Thurs., June 21
Ash Gray 64, Kelly Green 46
Lime Green 75, Cardinal Red 62
Black 55, Purple 33
Columbia Blue 57, Gold 47
Hunter Green 81, Vegas Gold 68
Orange 54, Royal Blue 46

Tues., June 19
Hunter Green 69, Kelly Green 66
Purple 58, Orange 51
Lime Green 72, Royal Blue 37
Cardinal Red 84, Vegas Gold 58
Black 66, Columbia Blue 59
Ash Gray 69, Gold 39

Grid Against League
Ash Gray (2-0) vs. Gold (W), Kelly Green (W).
Lime Green (2-0) vs. Royal Blue (W), Cardinal Red (W).
Black (2-0) vs. Columbia Blue (W), Purple (W).
Hunter Green (2-0) vs. Kelly Green (W), Vegas Gold (W).
Purple (1-1) vs. Orange (W), Black (L).
Cardinal Red (1-1) vs. Vegas Gold (W), Lime Green (L).
Columbia Blue (1-1) vs. Black (L), Gold (W).
Orange (1-1) vs. Purple (L), Royal Blue (W).
Kelly Green (0-2) vs. Hunter Green (L), Ash Gray (L).
Vegas Gold (0-2) vs. Cardinal Red (L), Hunter Green (L)
Gold (0-2) vs. Ash Gray (L), Columbia Blue (L).
Royal Blue (0-2) vs. Lime Green (L), Orange (L).

Whole Units
Kelly Green -- University of Sciences in Philadelphia
Orange -- Philadelphia University
Royal Blue -- Holy Family
Vegas Gold -- West Chester

That's it.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guru's WNBA Report: Washington Gains Fading To Phoenix In Tankers' Desert Battle

(Guru's Note: There is a collegiate post below this talking about how the cutback at the New Orleans Times-Picayune will deprive daily local print coverage for the first time at the site of the NCAA Women's Final Four. If you got here first at melgreenberg.com, click the mel's blog on the left panel to scroll to the full archive in blogspot.)

By Mel Greenberg

It was tankers aweigh in the Arizona desert Wednesday night as two teams more likely to land in the lucrative draft lottery, as of now, than in the postseason battled away down the stretch.

The Phoenix Mercury had everything going for its struggling squad to finish worse off than the Washington Mystics in the first of the annual two-game battle between Western and Eastern Conference opponents in what was a spararse two-game schedule on the nightly WNBA card.

Three of the four Mercury stars, who were off the boardand dressed in civilian clothes due to injuries, could be capable of making an expansion team into a title contender.

Australian Penny Taylor has been sidelined for the season with an ACL injury suffered in winter competition that is also keeping her out of the Olympics. Former UConn sensation Diana Taurasi has barely played because of a hip flixor.

Joining them on the bench for the tilt with Washington was All-Star and former Temple all-American Candice Dupree with a knee injury, similar to one suffered by Nakia Sanford that also had her out of action.

Piece of cake, you say, if you are a Mercury fan who has decided it is better to be bad and possibly land Baylor's Brittany Griner, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne or Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins when selection time comes around again in April?

Well, unfortunately, living in the West you have not come appreciate what is an art form when it comes to the Mystics.

Despite a blizzard of 21 points from Michelle Snow, the former Tennessee all-American center, and a nearly matching 20 from former Duke star Monique Currie, another inside presence, and a 74-69 lead with 2 minutes, 26 seconds remaining, Washington did what it has been doing best again this season -- the Mystics came from ahead to yield an 11-3 run by the Mercury the rest of the way, fueled by seven of rookie Samantha Prahalis' 15 points and Phoenix prevailed 80-77.

The result, though still way early in the season, bolted Washington to the second worst record in the WNBA at 2-7 as the Mystics dropped their second straight on the three-game road trip through the West with a stop at possibly revitalized Seattle left against the Storm on Sunday night.

The Mercury (3-7) moved into a tie with Seattle which, right-side up, has them locked in what would be the fourth and final playoff spot in the West, though as the Guru keeps noting, it's early, but why not start having fun for amusement now?.

And in the other Wednesday game front-runner or bottom-runner Tulsa, depending on one's view, having snapped an 0-9 start, beating Phoenix Sunday night, succumbed easily in Los Angeles 95-79 to the Sparks to fall to 1-10.

But having that kind of lottery advantage doesn't guarantee anything as the Shock learned last winter f0llowing a WNBA worst-ever 3-31 drubbing in 2011.

When the ping pong balls were finished doing their thing, it was Wednesday's night's Los Angeles opponent who won the grand prize and used the overall No. 1 choosing rights in April to choose Stanford star Nneka Ogwumike, who appears to be on course to become rookie of the year.

Tulsa had the last lottery and fourth overall pick, which was used to pick another Tennessee star center in Glory Johnson.

Prahalis, the Ohio State all-American who was the Mercury's first-round pick, is also having a fine debut in the WNBA, while of two first-round picks by Washington, former Notre Dame star Natalie Novosel has played sparingly and LSU's LaSondra Barrett was waived just before the season opener.

Phoenix, however, gets a chance to move in reverse flow in the Mercury's next outing when Los Angeles (9-3) visits Saturday night.

Incidentally, a healthy and thriving Candace Parker scored 33 points in the win over Tulsa.

Parker was picked No. 1 out of Tennessee in the 2008 draft when Los Angeles came out of nowhere backwards to edge the one-time forlorn Minnesota Lynx with the winning ping pong ball.

With Wednesday's outcome decided by three-points, it becomes another in a special series of narrow outcomes being monitored to see whenever the lottery percentages are determined which 0nes impacted the positioning for the best shot at the ping pong balls.

It was the Los Angeles buzzer-beater approaching the close of the season over Minnesota in 2010 that made the Sparks a playoff team while the Lynx, despite not having the highest percentage, hit the jackpot for the No. 1 pick and grabbed UConn sensation Maya Moore as one of the key ingredients that led to Minnesota's first WNBA title last season and the Lynx's early-season domination this time around.

But for the teams currently not so dominating, though some will back into the playoffs, here is another look at the lottery chase, though the Guru will say, for now, he is dropping the San Antonio Silver Stars from last Saturday's original list, at least until they go on enough of a slide to make them lottery contenders.

That could come this weekend when San Antonio visits Seattle Friday and Los Angeles on Sunday.

So here is an update from Saturday's post where the columns will list overall bad records in reverse order, won-loss records in games decided by six points or less, and then, taking up on the Minnesota 2010 experience, won-loss narrow overall losses against others in the lottery standings and then a breakdown of those outcomes against East and West opponents.

Remember, though three West teams are ahead of the New York Liberty and Atlanta Dream, one would have to eventually make the playoffs out there and would not be eligible in the lottery mix.

Looking ahead to the next several days, though the New York Liberty came out of last Friday's worst-ever thrashing, which was handed by the host and Eastern playoff front-running Connecticut Sun, and won at a depleted Atlanta squad, New York has an opportunity to revert to its struggles with a visit to Minnesota Thursday and then a hosting gig with Atlanta in Newark, N.J. on Sunday.

Of course, the problem with Atlanta is that without Angel McCoughtry in the lineup, the Dream are much different, especially added to the pre-Olympic absences of Erika de Souza and Iziane Marquez Castro.

In other key games in the lotto competition, Seattle, which after giving Minnesota its first loss is capable of moving in either direction, will be hosting San Antonio Friday before Washington's Sunday visit.

Phoenix, as mentioned, hosts Los Angeles Saturday, while Tulsa will host the Indiana Fever Saturday.

Lottery Chase

Team Overall W-L Narrow W-L Vs. All Vs. East Vs. West GB

1. Tulsa 1-10 0-3 0-2 0-1 0-1 ---
2. Wash. 2-7 2-3 1-2 0-1 1-1 2.0
2. Seattle 3-7 1-2 0-0 0-0 0-0 2.5
4. Phoenix 3-7 2-0 2-0 1-0 1-0 2.5
5. New York 4-7 2-1 2-0 2-0 0-0 3.0
6. Atlanta 4-7 1-3 1-1 0-1 1-0 3.0

Notes: Tulsa has a two-point loss to Phoenix, a narrow loss to Los Angeles and three-point loss at Wash.
Seattle has two narrow losses to Los Angeles and a narrow win over Minn.
Phoenix has narrow wins over Tulsa and Washington.
Washington held off Tulsa and Indiana and lost close to New York, Minnesota (on a Lindsay Whalen shot), and at Phoenix.
New York has a close loss to Connecticut and held off Washington and Atlanta in the Liberty's narrowly-decided games.
Atlanta lost close to New York, Chicago and Connecticut and edged San Antonio.

That's it for now.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Guru's Collegiate Report: Local Women's Final Four Coverage In New Orleans Heading For Reduction

(Guru's note: There is a WNBA post directly above this one.)

By Mel Greenberg

The Guru back in April noted the decline of daily print newspaper coverage at the Women's Final Four, where in good times several hundred publications consistently sent staffers without regard to whether one of the four participants had local ties to the newspaper or without regard to whether the site of the event was in geographical proximity to save travel costs.

In that discussion he noted that at Denver rock bottom was finally hit in that with the Washington Post not sending anyone -- columnists who still have carte blanche of sorts don't count -- for the first time, none of the print publications on the seating chart in the arena were independent of the locality.

In other words, papers who cover Connecticut, Stanford, Baylor and Notre Dame had staffers, as well as those publications in proximity to Denver, but that was it.

There were a handful of media folks who have attended regularly in the past, but the publications where they were once employed were absent in representation, including even using freelancers -- a situation that often means travel expenses aren't part of the salary.

Of course, the internet is beginning to make up for the absences of the old print crowd in terms of organizations who staff and, digitally speaking, coverage may have actually been on the upgrade.

The Guru revisits this topic to point out a first coming in April at the next Women's Final Four in New Orleans.

With the recently-reported reduction of the Crescent City's once-prestigious New Orleans Times-Picayune, which, by the way, was a paper that often sent correspondents, it will be the first time in the NCAA Women's Final Four's 32-year history that there won't be a local paper available every day in the hotel lobbies to read over morning coffee.

In the wake of layoffs and the move to digital, the managers of the Times-Picayune have declared that beginning in the fall, the paper will publish just three days a week -- Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Matching those publication dates to the way the Final Four evolves out of the Elite Eight and regional finals, which conclude with two Tuesday games, this means that Wednesday's editions in New Orleans will be able to set the four teams, but there will be no Thursday coverage, which comes a day after the telephonic press conferences with the coaches of the participating teams.

On Friday, a day when the arriving flow of out-of-towners, including fans of teams, arrive, there will be an edition, but there won't be any on Saturday.

The Sunday edition will be able to advance the nati0nal semifinals and local color off of Saturday's practices, press conferences, and various awards presentations.

But on Monday there won't be print coverage of the semifinals and on Tuesday there won't be any advance preview of the championship, though the Wednesday editi0ns, when everyone is heading out of town, will be able to be on the street with title game coverage.

Now of course, how the Nola.com mangement intends to provide reporting on the internet remains to be seen, as does the marketing of such, because today, most fans, as well as coaches attending the annual Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), are carrying iPads, smart phones, and laptops to keep up with the news in town as well as back home.

But how much time they spend reading the locally-produced coverage might pale considering the jobs the NCAA and its broadcast partner ESPN now do, as well as the budding ongoing daily internet sites that are doing a credible job filling the void covering women's basketball at the pro and collegiate level.

Right now, yes, it's a long way to New Orleans, with the WNBA and Olympics to dominate news until the colleges resume with practice in late fall.

But since the transition out of full scalle print coverage in New Orleans has been making major news in the industry, the Guru did want to note the situation.

But gone are the days, unless the New Orleans folks prove otherwise in their new configuration, when the paper in the host city would begin tracking the road to the Women's Final Four months in advance and employ an army of staffers to handle the event.

In somewhat related to this item, in the next day or so the Guru will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX with a post looking back personally at the federal law's relation to print coverage since the Guru can say that he couldn't have attempted to sustain his effort had not the legislation been passed.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guru's Philly Summer League Report: Pearson's Five Treys Pace Defending Champs

By Mel Greenberg

Defending champion Lime Green got off to a winning start Tuesday night with a lopsided 72-37 triumph over Royal Blue, which is composed mostly of Division II Holy Family players, as the 2012 competition got under way in the annual Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women's Summer Basketball League at Kelly Bolish Gymnasium, home of the AAU Renengades, in Haboro, Pa.

It's the third season at the site in Lower Bucks County after play had been conducted for a long time mostly at Northeast High in the city in previous seasons.

The night's top performer in the set of six games was 2007 Kent State graduate Lakia Stewart, who scored 23 points to lead Cardinal Red to an 84-58 win over Vegas Gold, which is composed of Division II West Chester players.

Under NCAA rules regarding summer play, Division II and Division III schools can play as entire units while Division I schools are limited to two players per team, except for the allowance of incoming freshmen who will be future teammates in the winter.

There were a few close scores such as Hunter Green edging Kelly Green 69-66. Kelly Green is composed primarily of Division II University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) players.

The Guru was not on the scene, but will be Thursday. He was attending a farewell party for sportswriter Don McKee held at the Guru's former place of employment Philadelphia Inquirer, which will be noving in the next few weeks from its longtime location at 400 N. Broad Street down to 801 Market Street, the site of the former Strawbridge Department Store near Independence Hall.

Here is the rundown of the opening activity, standings, and look ahead to the next several nights of competition.

Thanks, as always, for the summary, especially when the Guru is elsewhere, from longtime commissioner David Kessler, the legendary one-time batboy for the Major League Phillies in the National League back in the days of Connie Mack Stadium.

Questions about the league can be emailed to him at deucedbk@comcast.net.

In terms of spectators, the games are free and are located in the general area of the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Willow Grove exit off 611. The location is just south of the intersection of Davisville and Byberry Roads, for those of you who want to google directions. The Guru's preview blog elsewhere at this site has further directional details.

In Hunter Green's 69-66 win over Kelly Green, Eliza Polli, a Division III Swartmore senior, scored 11 points, while Saint Joseph's senior Shelby Smith scored 10, and Lindsey Kelly, an incoming freshman at Nazareth College, scored nine points.

Jessica Sylvester, who will graduate from the Devils in 2017, sscored 20 points, and her USP teammate, sophomore Carolyn Edwards, scored 11 points.

All collegiate class designations in the Guru's report are for the 2012-13 season, meaning freshmen are targeted for 2016 graduation. USP special academic/work programs are the reason for some 2017 designations.

In Purple's 58-51 win over Orange, which is composed of Division II Philadelphia University players, former Princeton star Addie Micir, a past Ivy player of the year with the three-time league champions, scored 11 points, while Lehigh junior Marissa Repasch scored nine points.

Orange's Kristen Blye, a Phila. U. senior, scored 10 points, Rams teammate Taylor Peltzer, a senior, scored seven, as did sophomore Najah Jacobs and sophomore Victoria Arnao.

Villanova's Megan Pearson, who just graduated from the Wildcats, hit five 3-pointers to account for her team-leading 15 points in Lime Green's win. Former St. Bonaventure star Dana Mitchell, a 2010 graduate, scored 14 points.

Erin Fenningham, a Holy Family senior, scored 10 points, and her Tigers incoming freshman teammate Sarah Listenbee scored seven for Royal Blue.

Backing up Lakia Stewart's big night for Cardinal Red, former Temple star Ashley Morris scored 16 points in the win over Vegas Gold.

Morris is a 2008 graduate of the Owls and former Central High star on a Public League champion.

West Chester's Kendall Benovy, a sophomore for the Rams, had one of the night's top overall performances with 20 points for Vegas Gold, while sophomore Tiffany Johnson and junior Paige Elliott each scored eight points.

In a close game in which Black edged Columbia Blue 66-59, Lehigh freshman Kerry Kinek scored 10 points for the winners, while New Hampshire sophomore Bridgette McKnight scored nine points, as did Kutztown senior Ashley Wood.

Incoming Princeton freshman Alex Wheatley scored 19 points for Columbia Blue and Gettysburg junior Alyssa Isler scored 10.

In the other opener, Ash Gray handled Gold 69-39 as Chestnut Hill sophomore Lila Jones scored 17 points, Delaware Valley College sophomore Grace Mirack scored 16 points, and Da'Kiya Johnson of Santa Monica College scored 14 points.

Lebanon Valley junior Lauren Ruhl scored 11 points for Gold while recently-graduated La Salle player Michele McCaughern scored seven points.

Looking Ahead

On Thursday night to complete opening week, the 7 p.m. games feature Royal Blue (0-1) against Orange (0-1) on Court 1, which is also a Holy Family-Phila. U. league rivalry in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) in the winter; Ash Gray (1-0) will meet Kelly Green (0-1) on Court 2, and Purple (1-0) will met Black (1-0) on Court 3.

The 8:15 p.m. games match Cardinal Red (1-0) against Lime Green (1-0) on Court 1, Hunter Green (1-0) against Vegas Gold (0-1) on Court 2, and Columbia Blue (0-1) against Gold (0-1) on Court 3.

Next week on Tuesday night (records will be inserted when schedule is repeated after Thursday's results), the 7 p.m. games have Columbia Blue against Hunter Green on Court 1, Black against Vegas Gold on Court 2, and Cardinal Red against Ash Gray on Court 3.

The 8:15 p.m. games feature Royal Bue against Gold on Court 1, Orange against Lime Green on Court 2, and Purple against Kelly on Court 3.

On Thursday, June 28, the 7 p.m. games features Gold against Purple on Court 1, Hunter Green against Cardinal Red on Court 2, and Vegas Gold against Orange on Court 3.

The 8:15 p.m. games match Kelly against Black on Court 1, Lime Green against Columbia Blue on Court 2, and Ash Gray against Royal Blue on Court 3.

Rosters for all teams are found elsewhere on the site as part of the Guru's preview blog posted this past weekend.

Standings (Thru Wed., June 20
Team, W-L, Pct., Pts For, Points Against
Cardinal Red 1-0, 1.000, 84-58
Lime Green 1-0, 1.000, 72-37
Ash Gray 1-0, 1.000, 69-39
Purple 1-0, 1.000, 58-51
Black 1-0, 1.000,66-59
Hunter Green 1-0, 1.000, 69-66
Kelly Green 0-1, .000, 66-69
Columbia Blue 0-1, .000, 59-66
Orange 0-1, .000, 51-58
Vegas Gold 0-1, .000, 58-84
Gold 0-1, .000, 39-69
Royal Blue 0-1, .000, 73-72

Tues., June 19 Results
Hunter Green 69, Kelly Green 66
Purple 58, Orange 51
Lime Green 72, Royal Blue 37
Cardinal Red 84, Vegas Gold 58
Black 66, Columbia Blue 59
Ash Gray 69, Gold 39

That's it.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 18, 2012

Guru's College Report: Updating Coaching Carousel Breakdown Changes All Ways

(Guru's note: Updated Saturday, July 7, to reflect the hires of Jim Davis at Tennessee Tech and Michael Brooks at Bradley.
Division I changes still 73, rookies up to 41, vacancies drop to two. Blog copied from original May 1 posting and moved up with update.
The Guru has deleted other information in the precede in this note to avoid crowding at the top of the blog. All the info is on the charts and story lead-in adjusted to the update.)

By Mel Greenberg
Continuing updating the carousel, Michael Brooks promoted from assistant at Bradley increasing rookies to 41 and Jim Davis, a former longtime Clemson coach who had been assistant at Young Harris College and previously after coming out of retirement an assistant with the WNBA Minnesota Lynx, hired at Tennessee Tech.
The last hire updated here was Sue Darling hired at Northen Arizona from assistant at Arizona and previous D-1 head coach at Air Force.
With two vacancies, barring surprises to come, to be filled at Mississippi Valley and NJIT still means 73 D-1 jobs changed hands since the end of the season.
There are now 41 rookie coaches, that could maximizes at 43, in Division I with the previous announced hires of Kevin Cook, promoted at Winthrop, Amy (Gusso) Williams at South Dakota and Tamika L. Louis at Delaware State.
Williams played at Nebraska. Cook, a longtime friend of the Guru, has been an assistant at the former four-time WNBA champion Houston Comets, an aide at Kansas and a head coach at Division III Gallaudet in Washington as part of his career before joining Winthrop, assisting new VCU coach Marlene Stollings last season.
Previously, the Wake Forest hire of Jen Hoover means all 13 BCS opening have been filled baring another opening.
Fred Applin from 1995-97 was head women's coach at Hampton, depriving him of rookie status, though he is more known for a longtime stint at Texas under Hall of Famer Jody Conradt and also on the staffs at Wake Forest and most recently East Carolina.
Likewise, Sandra Rushing, recently hired at Central Arkansas from Delta State has a previous history at D-1 UTEP.
VCU with its new coach Marlene Stollings is now as of July 1 officially moved to a new conference in 2012-13 in the Atlantic 10, which had announced hire of former longtime Old Dominion legendary coach Wendy Larry as associate commissioner over women's basketball.
Re-shuffling the Division I breakout from the WBCA and Guru compiliations, as of Saturday, July 7, here first are the rookie Division I coaches, who become eligible for the WBCA Maggie Dixon award. Most recent hires after original compilation are below after the alphabetical list gets out of synch.
1. Bowling Green -- Jennifer Roos -- promoted from associate head coach
2. Bucknell -- Aaron Roussell -- was DIII head coach at Chicago
3. College of Charleston -- Natasha Adair -- was on staff at Wake Forest
4. Drake -- Jennie Baranczyk -- was an assistant at Colorado
5. Eastern Michigan -- Tori Verdi -- was an assistant at Kansas, Nebraska, Columbia and on staff of WNBA Conn. Sun.
6. Georgia Southern -- Chris Vozab -- was an assistant at Dayton, also on staffs of Winthrop and Canisiius
7. Georgetown -- Keith Brown -- promoted from assistant.
8. George Washington -- Jonathan Tsipis -- was associate head coach at Notre Dame
9. Kennesaw State -- Nitra Perry -- was associate head coach at Toledo
10. Kent State -- Danielle O'Banion -- was associate head coach at Memphis
11. Mississippi State -- Vic Schaefer -- was associate head coach at Texas A&M
12. North Carolina Central -- Vanessa Taylor -- was head coach at Division II Johnson C. Smith
13. Northwestern State -- Brooke & Scott Stoehr -- Brooke was assistant at Texas Tech; Scott most recently H.S.
14. Oral Roberts -- Misti Cussen -- promoted from top assistant
15. St. Francis, Pa -- Joe Haigh -- promoted from top assistant
16. Siena -- Ali Jaques -- was associate head coach at Northwestern
17. St. John's -- Joe Tartamella -- was associate head coach
18. Troy -- Chanda Rigby -- was head coach at Pensacola State College -- under the NJCAA
19. Denver -- Kerry Cremeans -- was associate head coach at Auburn was also at Florida and Purdue
20. Hawaii -- Laura Beeman -- was an associate head coach at Southern Cal
21. Louisiana-Lafayette -- Gary Brodhead -- was associate head coach at McNeese State
22. UMKC -- Marsha Frese -- was associate head coach at Northern Illinois and served elsewhere. Md's B. Frese a sister
23. North Dakota -- Travis Brewster -- promoted from associate head coach
24. U. of Tennessee -- Holly Warlick -- promoted from associate head coach
25. Valparaiso -- Tracey Dorow -- was head coach at DII Ferris State
26. Wagner -- Lisa Cermignano -- was assistant at Illinois, was also at Vanderbilt and George Washington
27. Western Kentucky -- Michelle Clark-Heard -- was an assistant at Louisville
28. Western Michigan -- Shane Clipfell -- was associate head coach at Michigan State
29. Wisconsin-Milwaukee -- Kyle Rechliz -- was assistant head coach at Wisconsin.
30. UNC Wilmington -- Adell Harris -- was head coach at Division II Tusculum.
31. Florida Atlantic -- Kellie Lewis-Jay -- was an assistant at Nebraska.
32. North Carolina A&T -- Tarrell Robinson -- was associate head coach at VCU.
33. North Carolina Asheville -- Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick -- was assistant coach at Florida.
34. Lipscomb -- Greg Brown -- Was associate head coach at Central Florida.
35. High Point -- DeUnna Hendrix -- Promoted from assistant coach.
36. UC Irvine -- Doug Oliver -- Promoted from assistant coach.
37. Eastern Illinois -- Lee Buchanan -- Promoted from associate head coach.
38. Delaware State -- Tamika L. Louis -- Had been assistant coach at George Washington prior to change of head coach over the Colonials.
39. South Dakota -- Amy (Gusso) Williams -- Had been head coach of NAIA Rogers State.
40. Winthrop -- Kevin Cook -- Promoted from assistant.
41. Bradley -- Michael Brooks -- Promoted from assistant.
List could still grow depending on hires at remaining vacancies.
Boxscore on rookies -- 24 female 16 male; 1 married couple; 8 in-house promotions; 4 DII HC; 1 DIII HC; 1 NJCAA HC; 1 NAIA HC.
BCS Hires
1. Auburn -- Terri Williams-Flournoy -- was head coach at BCS Georgetown
2. Boston College -- Erik Johnson -- was head coach at MM Denver
3. Georgetown -- Keith Brown -- promoted from BCS staff.
4. Indiana -- Curt Miller -- was head coach at MM Bowling Green
5. Mississippi State -- Vic Schaefer -- was associate head coach at BCS Texas A&M
6. Providence -- Susan Robinson Fruchtl -- was head coach at MM St. Francis, Pa.
7. St. John's -- Joe Tartamella -- promoted from associate head coach at BCS St. John's
8. U of Illinois -- Matt Bollant -- was head coach at MM Wis.-Green Bay
9. U of Michigan -- Kim Barnes Arico -- was head coach at BCS St. John's
10. U of Mississippi -- Adrian Wiggins -- was head coach at MM Fresno State
11. U of Tennessee -- Holly Warlick -- promoted from associate head coach at BCS Tenn.
12. Texas -- Karen Aston -- was head coach at MM North Texas
13. Wake Forest -- Jen Hoover -- was head coach at MM High Point.
Boxscore -- 6 female, 7 males; 2 head coach bcs; 7 head coach MMs; 3 inhouse promos; 1 assoc hc bcs.
Other DI Hires
1. Ball State -- Brady Sallee -- Was head coach at MM Eastern Illinois.
2. Fresno State -- Raegan Pebley -- Was head coach at MM Utah State
3. Charleston Southern -- Fred Applin -- Was asst at MM East Carolina; Also on staffs at Wake, Texas; HC MM Hampton.
4. Grambling -- Patricia Bibbs -- Was head coach at MM North Carolina A&T
5. Loyola Marymount -- Charity Elliott -- Was at D-II San Diego but also coached at D-1 Portland State.
6. St. Louis -- Lisa Stone -- A past head coach at BCS Wisconsin
7. Tennessee State -- Larry Inman -- A past head coach at MM Middle Tennessee
8. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi -- Royce Chadwick -- Was recently long-term head coach at MM Marshall, and also was HC at Stephen F. Austin
9. Texas Southern -- Cynthia Cooper-Dyke -- Was head coach at MM UNC Wilmington
10. North Texas -- Mike Petersen -- Was head coach at BCS Wake Forest
11. Wis.-Green Bay -- Kenneth Borseth -- Was head coach at BCS Michigan; a past hc at MM Wis.-Green Bay
12. Utah State -- Jerry Finkbeiner -- Was head coach at MM Oral Roberts
13. Arkansas Pine Bluff -- Nate Kilbert -- Was head coach at MM Mississippi Valley State
14. Colorado State -- Ryun Williams -- Was head coach at MM South Dakota
15. Marshall -- Matt Daniel -- Was head coach at MM Central Arkansas
16. Central Arkansas -- Sandra Rushing -- Was head coach at D-II Delta State and had coached at D-I UTEP.
17. VCU -- Marlene Stollings -- Was head coach at MM Winthrop.
18. S. Illinois-Edwardsville -- Paula Buscher -- Was head coach at MM Bradley.
19. Buffalo -- Felisha Legette-Jack -- Had been head coach at BCS Indiana and previously MM Hofstra.
20. Northern Arizona -- Sue Darling -- Had been Arizona assistant and Air Force head coach.
21. Tennessee Tech -- Jim Davis -- Had been an assistant at Harris Young College and previously longtime head coach at D1 BCS Clemson.
Boxscore -- 10 female, 11 males; 4 BCS Head coach, 13 MM Head coach; 1 D-II Head coach, 3 Asst.
Vacancies (as of July 7, 2012)
1. Mississippi Valley State
2. New Jersey Institute Tech
Boxscore --2 MMs. 0 BCS
That's the updating for now.
-- Mel

Guru's WNBA Weekly Outlook: Connecticut Sun Becoming Wise Bankers In The East

By Mel Greenberg

After being 24 hours late with the weekly WNBA long-range musing seven days ago, why not make up for it by going a day early to get posted before the Washington Mystics (2-5) and host Los Angeles Sparks (7-3) tip off in an Eastern-Western cross-conference matchup Monday night in Southern California.

Well, for those who thought the Tulsa Shock might win a game but couldn't determine when and for those who thought the defending champion Minnesota Lynx might eventually lose a game but likewise couldn't name the time, then Sunday ended the speculation on the topic.

The Tulsa Shock snapped an 0-9 start by beating the struggling Phoenix Mercury (2-7) in a game that for now was more about long-range determination in terms of placing in the great draft lottery drawing after the season concludes.

The Shock, however, are still off the pace of last season's woeful 3-31 WNBA-record worst performance in getting the win in Game No. 10.

A year ago, Tulsa beat Washington in Game No. 6 before losing the next 20 and then going on a two-game win streak edging Los Angeles (to help send the Sparks to the lottery) on the road and beating the Connecticut Sun at home before dropping the final games on the schedule.

Meanwhile, Seattle (3-7) is threatening to leave the lottery chase and get more inside the rope leading to the Storm's normal place in the playoffs after ending Minnesota's run, though the Lynx nearly completed what would have been a successful rally to stay unbeaten.

It was the second straight win for Sue Bird and company after racking up their second straight win over Tulsa earlier on the weekend.

Had not these two events occurred, the Guru would be leading with his prime opening topic, but it must wait for another prime bit of news.

The Chicago Sky's best-ever opening run came to an end Saturday in a second loss to the Indiana Fever (5-3) in a game that former Rutgers star Epiphanny Prince, the WNBA's leading scorer, suffered a fracture in her right foot and will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks, according to her own report on her twitter account.

Fortunately for the Sky, the Olympic break, as well as some wide spacing in game dates prior to the hiatus, are enough to keep Chicago in playoff contention with a few potential wins possible before Prince returns.

The Sky's opening 7-2 burst may become a lifeline in the playoff hunt.

But the team that is really is bringing a whole new dimension to banking, WNBA style, is Connecticut (8-2), which trailed all the way Sunday before edging the host Atlanta Dream (4-6) in the final seconds on Tina Charles' two foul shots.

The win gave the Sun a half-game lead atop the Eastern Conference ahead of Chicago and two in front of Indiana, whom Connecticut will host Tuesday and then travel to on Thursday.

It is another big week for the Sun, who slaughtered the New York Liberty (3-7) Friday night to go 3-0 and take the season series.

Connecticut has made the most of a front-loaded home slate, having lost competitively just twice and both were to the Western Conference current 1-2 punch of Minnesota and Los Angeles.

How well have the Sun collected early chits, let's count the ways remembering they tied Indiana for first in the regular season in 2011 but fell to the No. 2 seed slot because the Fever grabbed the season series between the two and grabbed it early.

Connecticut is currently 7-0 in Eastern Conference competition, two up in the loss column on Chicago, three on Indiana, four on Washington, which by nature of games played and percentage is still last behind New York, which trails the Sun by six games in conference games, the same total as Atlanta.

The Sun already has a 3-0 series clincher with New York, with two left that will quickly be played home-and-home after the season resumes in mid-August.

Connecticut's win over Atlanta gives the Sun a 2-0 record and at worst they can only tie in the four-game set. Teams play five games against some conference foes and four each against the rest.

The Sun's final two games of the overall season will be home against Indiana and Atlanta and something could be riding on the outcome for someone in each contest.

Connecticut already has one win against Washington and will play the Mystics three of their remaining four games before the break with a chance to pocket another series.

A sweep of Indiana this week will clinch that series, though that is a tough order. Still, a split will be helpful because the Sun play only four games against the Fever this season.

Finally, Connecticut, which makes its Far West three-game cross-conference swing near the end of the season, won't see Chicago until right before the break.

While it's been noted the Sky should not plunge out of the playoff hunt because of Prince's injury, Chicago's situation by that time is for the moment an unknown.

Technically, while no one realized how much Prince's game was going to elevate, which is why the Sky got off to its best start, Chicago is still talented enough with its new additions to stay in the hunt, even if it drops off from conference title contention.

That all said, let's go to the team-by-team, conference-by-conference, look ahead at what's in store for each between now and the conclusion of Sunday's slate.

Eastern Conference

Connecticut Sun (8-2) -- Well, all the factors have been addressed in the opening write-o-logue talk. Of course, all the happy talk about the Sun precludes incidents and injuries causing absences such as the sprain that kept Angel McCoughtry sidelined against the Sun.

The only thing that would be a downer is getting swept by the Fever.

Chicago Sky (7-2) -- Well, the team gets most of the week off playing just one game. Unfortunately that is a Saturday trip to Minnesota, which will have already attempted to take its loss to Seattle out on New York on Thursday.

But if that didn't work, well this one was in the projected loss column anyway with Prince's presence accounting for keeping the point spread a little narrower.

Indiana Fever (5-3) -- Inherently, part of the discussion here has already taken place with the road-and-home Tuesday and Thursday tilts against Connecticut covering most of the week ahead.

The Fever finish up trying to sweep the two-game East-West matchup with Tulsa when they visit the Shock on Saturday in the second game of Tulsa's Gary Kloppenburg going against his former team where he had been an assistant to Lin Dunn.

Sudden thought: For all the talk about the Harvard graduate who made a splash with the NBA New York Knicks, how come no one ever beat the pundits to the punch over the last several decades ascribing the phrase Lin-Sanity to the popular Fever coach?

Atlanta Dream (4-6) -- Well, what an interesting time ahead this week for the Dream, still fuming, perhaps, internally about the call that sent Charles to the foul line Sunday.

Although some might take issue with the Guru's fun in also describing the lottery chase alongside the playoff chase, though no one has yet, all teams in the East are very much, standings-wise, capable of making the postseason right now in terms of games behind.

But it's the way things have gone for each team that has allowed separation between early cream and, well, ----.

And so despite the New York Liberty's thrashing by Connecticut on Friday, Atlanta catches them in the Dream's only two games of the week, hosting on Tuesday and visiting the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Sunday.

New York is just one game behind what is the fourth and final playoff spot, though the relevance of that will mean much more way later.

But with the series tied at 1-1 between the two, Atlanta can kick-start itself to a little distance from New York with a sweep and hold serve with a split. And if the Dream are swept, what a nightmare or as legendary broadcaster Dick Engberg might say: "Oh My!"

New York Liberty (3-7) -- Well, the Liberty plate is a bit tougher because not only must they deal with the visit-home, Tuesday and Sunday set with Atlanta, in between is a visit to Minnesota, Thursday, when the Lynx will have their first chance to take out their loss on their next opponent.

For those who have already given up their playoff hopes for the Liberty and are eagerly hoping New York can replicate its big-brother Knicks' success in the past when they won the first-ever NBA lottery and grabbed Georgetown sensation Patrick Ewing, this is a great week to go lottery bound with a feasible 0-3 performance.

Obviously, that's a run that would normally cause restlessness en masse if this was not the year that the top three lottery prizes in the four-team competition are Baylor's Brittney Griner, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, and Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins.

But the Guru must temper these comments for you Liberty lottery fans by pointing out that the team's concluding schedule will include a very level playing field in which New York will meet 7 of 9 teams that could be more out of the playoffs then in -- a very level playing field in which the Liberty could suddenly get hot and make some of you at that point unhappy.

That group includes Delaware fans hopeful their collegiate star lands in New York or Washington where they can easily travel to watch Delle Donne in the pros.

Barring improvements off Friday night's disaster, for the playoff-minded New York fans, 1-2 holds serve. Anything better, cheers to you and regrets to the others, for now.

Washington Mystics (2-5) -- In the past this is the swing where bad Eastern Conference teams go to die -- at Los Angeles (Mon.), at Phoenix (Wed.), at Seattle (Sun).

For Mystics fans who are like the New York lottery fans, it could be a big 0-3 week. However, the two stops after Monday night are on a level playing field, unless Seattle is really back in the swing of things, so Washington, off its gritty win Friday night against Indiana, could be capable of a 2-1 week.

Considering Los Angeles is coming into Monday night's game with an 0-2 losing streak, but one that has asterisks because of injuries and the Stanford graduation of overall No. 1 draft pick Nneka Ogwumike, the Sparks are a decided favorite in the Staples Center Monday night.

Perhaps Phoenix will be smarting over the loss to Tulsa when Washington visits Wednesday and perhaps not.

As for Sunday, Seattle will have had a relatively restful week dealing with just San Antonio Friday night, though the Silver Stars will not make life easy in their visit to the Northwest.


Minnesota Lynx (10-1) -- Well, unlike Baylor, UConn, Texas and Tennessee at the collegiate level in certain seasons, no one's perfect in the WNBA, though a few have come close and Lynx fans were beginning to dream the dream off the Minnesota WNBA-record 10-0 start.

So for the first time since the one-game loss in the playoffs to San Antonio, it's time to get back on the winning track. New York visits Thursday and Chicago, in its first game without Epiphanny Prince for a while, comes calling Saturday.

Just what the doctor might have ordered, had not the WNBA schedule wonk taken care of business ahead of time.

The Lynx in the first of two East-West games are going for a sweep of New York while Chicago will still be a challenge.

It's possible it might be a 1-1 week, more likely 2-0, but 0-2, hell hath no fury like coach Cheryl Reeve enduring a losing streak.

Los Angeles Sparks (7-3) -- Thanks to Seattle, the Sparks avoided falling further behind the defending champs in pursuit of the Western title.

But it is a busy week. Following Monday's visit from Washington. there's a visit from Tulsa, which may be feeling its oats, Wednesday; followed by a trip to Phoenix Saturday and then a quick return to host the San Antonio Silver Stars (4-4) Sunday.

Well, with Ogwumike back for Monday night's game, that may be enough to solve the Mystics, and the odds favor the Sparks, Wed and Thurs, while Sunday's game might be a tossup considering San Antonio won in overtime in Texas, Saturday.

But again, there were asterisks attached to L.A. last week. A 4-0 week is attainable, going 3-1 with the loss being to the Silver Stars acceptable, but a beginning cause for concern at 2-2 and more cause at either 1-3 or 0-4.

San Antonio Silver Stars (4-4) -- Well, it looks like coach Dan Hughes' group might have gotten upset with the Guru's Saturday blog setting up the lottery chase and including the Silver Stars.

But the Guru did say this team was on the fence and go in either direction.

There's two Western road stops this week at Seattle Friday and at Los Angeles on Sunday. A sweep and get out of the lotto hunt for now, more likely a split and things stay the same. But 0-2 and anything is still possible in either direction, though, as has been said of the West, two teams will haave to be in the playoffs, as in 2010, no matter how bad their records.

Actually, back then, three had to be.

Seattle Storm (3-7) -- Well, the win moved the Storm into playoff spot No. 4, again really moot at this point, just ahead of Phoenix.

Two home games are on the table to follow the upset of Minnesota. San Antonio visits Friday in a matchup that can be called a tossup to give the Silver Stars credit for their win, but maybe not.

The Washington visit Sunday in a cross-conference game that may eventually be one that will help determine the lottery order should both teams fall below the playoff line. Competitively, a big game for the visiting Mystics and, if the Storm have postseason aspirations, an opportunty to bank a win in the backpocket, especially off a win over San Antonio or, for that matter, a loss to the Silver Stars.

Phoenix Mercury (2-7) -- Well, if Brittany Griner eventually becomes a Taurasi teammate, one may look back at Sunday's loss to Tulsa as one that spurred the result.

So in that sense, another lottery game in an East-West matchup Wednesday when Washington visits, followed by a visit from Los Angeles on Saturday.

Looks like a 1-1 week at best, 2-0 would be shocking, while 0-2 brings smile to the lottery fans in the desert.

Tulsa Shock (1-9) -- The joy of the win Sunday may be short-lived, for now. There's a visit to Los Angeles on Wednesday and an East-West hosting job against Indiana Saturday.

It looks like an 0-2 week, anything above is a major achievement. But, to echo others watching the Shock in person, Tulsa does have more wins ahead. But for lottery fans in the Southwest in Oklahoma, hopefully just not enough to upset the draft cart.

However, remember, Liz Cambage comes back after the Olympics and there's that two-game set at the end of it all against New York.

That's all for now.

-- Mel

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