Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Debbie Black Becomes A Philadelphia Sports Hall Of Famer

Guru's Note -- This is the Saint Joseph's Release. The Guru will update with his interview later.

PHILADELPHIA - Former Saint Joseph's women's basketball standout Debbie Black has been named one of 16 inductees into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012, organization officials announced Thursday afternoon.

Arguably the top all-around female athlete in the history of Saint Joseph's University, Debbie Black helped to lead the Hawks to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in the 1980s. Black was enshrined in the Saint Joseph's Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994, the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Saint Joseph's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.

A scrappy fireplug on the hardwood, Black led the Hawks to the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1985, and the second round of the tournament in 1986, 1987 and 1988. SJU finished as runner-up at the Atlantic 10 Tournament in 1987 and 1988.

Highly decorated during her career, she was a member of the A-10 All-Rookie team as a freshman and made the All-District team in 1988. She was a three-time member of the A-10 All-Conference team, twice earning Second Team honors (1986-87) and garnering First Team accolades as a senior. Black was a member of the A-10 All-Tournament Team as both a junior and a senior. A three-time First Team All-Big 5 selection, she was named Big 5 MVP in 1988. The Hawks won three Big 5 crowns with her at the controls.

Known for her quick hands and deft passing skills, the former Hawk captain (1988) led the team in steals from 1985-88 and assists from 1986-88 and still holds the program record in both categories (718 assists, 572 steals). As a sophomore in 1985-86, Black topped the nation in steals (153), while also ranking eighth in the country in assists (231).

In addition to her accomplishments on Hawk Hill, Black competed for the East Squad at the 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival. She also played on the U.S. Select team that won the gold medal at the 1985 R. William Jones Cup. She went on to play professionally in Australia and also for the Colorado Xplosion of the American Basketball League.

She retired in 2004 from the Connecticut Sun after six seasons in the WNBA and is an assistant coach at Ohio State under former SJU head coach Jim Foster, who this week was announced as part of the 2013 inductee class to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame class in Knoxville, Tenn.

A multi-sport standout, in addition to starring on the women's basketball team at Saint Joseph's, she captained the Hawks' field hockey team and started at third base for the SJU softball team. A native of Warminster, Pa., Black was a standout at Archbishop Wood High School before coming to Hawk Hill.

Black will be inducted in to the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame alongside Horace Ashenfelter, Dan Baker, Maxie Baughn, Johnny Callison, Doug Collins, Gertrude Dunn, Harold Johnson, Wali Jones, Joe Klecko, Eric Lindros, Johnny McDermott, Mike Piazza, Eddie Plank, Tommy Thompson and Legacy Youth Tennis on November 8, 2012 at the Society Hill Sheraton.


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