Womhoops Guru

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guru's WNBA Musings: Is Washington's Luck About To Change? -- Or Not.

By Mel Greenberg

For those of you who may have wondered why nothing new has appeared here for a few days, it's because, for those of you yet to be informed, coverage has been divided, ala all the big organizations, and the Guru's 10-team local collegiate focus (some of which are both) is now over at the new PhilahoopsW in the Guru's new affilation with the fine gentlemen running Philahoops.

The Guru's teams -- a little more than the Big 5 and Drexel men's focus -- include those teams plus Delaware, Princeton, Rutgers and Penn State because of the large interest in the Philadelphia area.

The link is http://philahoopsw.com. Some days the same story may appear both places to make sure no one is deprived.

You can look for a major announcement in the next few days as an enhancement of coverage at the site.

Now to move forward, as noted in the Wednesday preview over at the local site, the word is that Delaware senior sensation Elena Delle Donne is likely not to play again Wednesday night when St. Bonaventure comes visiting the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

The Guru will be on the scene -- it's the only game home while three others are on the road at far away places.

Delle Donne, who is battling recurring effects of the Lyme disease that caused her to miss 12 games her sophomore season, appeared last week for the first time this season and scored 22 points in a win over Providence at home.

She had missed the three previous games -- all in the WNIT -- and Delaware's visit from early last season into the AP Poll has since, for the moment, become history.

Blue Hens coach Tina Martin and Delle Donne after last week's game, prior to the break in action until Wednesday night, both cautioned that the disease is very unpredictable the way it is affecting her and it could be a roller coaster play-not-play season.

But all this is background to get to the next point, which is, How lucky can the WNBA team with the worst luck get? -- which is those forlorn Washington Mystics.

The last two seasons have been like a curse from the basketball gods for messing up a good thing when they let general manager Angela Taylor and coach Julie Plank go following the most successful season in franchise history and aggravating a loyal fan base big time.

There are whispers going around that the baseball Miami Marlins consulted the book of Mystics before the front office's recent decimation of the franchise dumping players for salary and insulting that fan base.

But to get back to the point -- so here were the Washington folks, coming from slightly behind to finish with the worst record in the league but brimming with supreme confidence that the ping pong balls would surely bounce their way with a prize of one of the top three picks -- Baylor's Brittney Griner, Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins, and Delle Donne.

But in a shock to the Mystics group predating by two months a similar surprise to the GOP losing a presidential election they clearly thought was in the bag, or at least said so, Washington landed outside the lottery loop with pick No.4.

This had a domino effect because a few days earlier, Washington had fired Trudi Lacey and the rest of the coaching staff, not necssarily unjustified, but also with the thought that landing one of the three prized numbers would have people all over America drooling and ringing the office phone off the hook with the desire to run the Mystics on the sidelines.

So how did that work out for them?

Meanwhile, it takes talent to put all the eggs in one basket and have them explode not once, but twice, in a three-week period.

While slowly coming back to consciousness -- they had to be in a daze when Sheila Johnson told Graham Hayes of ESPN.com that fateful night of the ping pongs that there was going to be transparency with the fans and Washington was going to let them in on the process moving forward.

What happened next?

Well, as they sat around thinking they could sign former Detroit Shock GM/coach bad boy Bill Laimber, as the Guru haa heard, the New York Liberty/MSG folks were already in an end game bringing him to the banks of New York or New Jersey.

The die was cast when Steve O'Neil, the MSG executive responsible for the ouster of long-time Liberty head Carol Blazejowski and the hire of John Whisenant as GM/coach, departed near the end of the summer in a tif with owner John Dolan.

At that point the Liberty babysitter from the Knicks et al became Laimbeer pal Allan Houston.

"Houston had Bill hired before they had John fired," said one league source recently. There was also some front office insider trading with an individual with past front office experience in Detroit in the glory days of Motown and we'll live it at that.

Meanwhile, move up the clock to current events in two places.

First, on the court. Depending on how the rest of the season goes at Delaware, Delle Donne's situation with the Lyme disease could quickly change the thinking among the WNBA frontrunners in the lottery.

For example, if you're Phoenix with the No. 1 pick and think Delle Donne is the better fit for your system, is it better to avoid a gamble and take the sure thing and expectation of Griner.

And then, if you're Chicago, maybe it's safer with the number two pick to take Diggins, who also has local value being in the backyard of South Bend, Ind.

And then, if you're Tulsa, maybe instead of risking taking Delle Donne you start to wheel and deal with the number three pick.

But if all this happens, hello Washington. What are you going to do? You have nothing to lose and it ends up working great for everyone because she is less than two hours from home and maybe the Mystics will return to having more fans in the Verizon Center than the summer tourists riding the Metro down below.

Incidentally in the middle of all this is the news reported in a Washington business magazine that Gregg Bibb, the number two under Johnson -- both are under Ted Leonsis in terms of the entire corporate entity -- is headed elsewhere to be part of a start-up operation.

Now there's event No. 2 which was the stunner that came out of the Connecticut Sun they were letting Mike Thibault and his staff go after leading the franchise to best of the East in the regular season but failing to put away Indiana, which went on to dethrone Minnesota's one-year reign and win the Fever's first WNBA title.

Mike DiMauro of the New London Day weighed in with a column that expressed the feelings of most of the media that has made either the long or short trek to Mohegan over the decade Thibault coached.

But here's what came up from many individuals around the league a little less than two weeks ago when the news came out of Uncasville: "If I was Washington, I'd be on the phone to Mike right now."

Time has moved on. Besides wondering to see what the Sun are going to do -- there are whispers they will be announcing something in mid-December (probably saves some payroll money that way per the way others have gone in the offseason) -- the other question is just what is Washington doing?

They promised transparency to the fans.

Here's how transparency works in major league baseball when teams are hiring managers.

Sometimes there are leaks to the media as to who is on the wish list. Sometimes they are actually up front with the same material. Applicants often will talk about how much they'd like to coach the team with the opening.

Two weeks since a coach suddenly dismissed from what is considered the gold standard, even if the icing has never been applied, and Washington hasn't picked up the phone?

Maybe they had and it can't work out. But it would be nice to know because Thibault could give the Mystics something they hadn't had since the Tyalor-Plank administration -- hope.

But whatever is going on, word will be sprouting soon. Next week the league winter meetings will be in Atlanta.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Rutgers Dines On Temple Ahead of Holiday

(Guru's note. You're invited to look at this story also appearing in http://philahoopsw.com and tour the new local site wihich is a work in progress. Happy Thanksgiving.)

By Mel Greenberg

To make a short story out of what was even a shorter meaningful competition in terms of determining a winner, Rutgers got ready for Thanksgiving and the traditional holiday turkey dinner by making mincemeat out of host Temple Wednesday night in the Owls' second home of McGonigle Hall with a 66-50 victory.

The newly-minted future representatives of the Big Ten followed up last season's 72-50 romp in Piscataway, N.J., by bolting from an early 5-2 deficit Temple mounted after Natasha Thames made one of two foul shot attempts.

Rutgers then applied Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer's pressure defense to launch a 25-2 run and allow many of the crowd of 1,175 to leave ahead of the final buzzer and return home to tending planning for getting together with family and friends.

The differential grew from the 31-14 advantage Rutgers (2-1) held at the half to as many as 24 over the Owls (3-2).

"That's not the press we generally work on but it was effective," Stringer said. "But it made a difference. You're seeing the beginnings ... we're nowhere near ready, but potentially this could be nice."

Statistically, Erica Wheeler was Rutgers' top scorer with 14 points and Betnijah Laney added 13 in what was a psuedo homecoming for the daughter of former University City star Yolanda Laney, who went on to play become an all-American for Stringer at Cheyney.

The elder Laney won several titles in McGonigle Hall in the late 1970s playing in the girls' division of the Sonny Hill League, whose noted founder was in the house.

It could have been worse except that Rutgers' Monique Oliver hurt her Achilles in practice and was held out, though a team statement said she was available if needed.

Tyonna Williams had a career high 15 points for Temple whiile Rateska Brown scored 12 points and Sally Kabengano grabbed 10 rebounds. However, Victoria Macauley, who had several double doubles this season, was held to six points and six rebounds,

Williams also committed seven of Temple's 24 turnovers as the Owls went on another misadventure that they couldn't reverse when playing the Scarlet Knights, who, like the home team, are part of the focus of schools under the new PhilahoopsW local internet site you are currently visiting to read this acount.

In a twist caused by major news Monday and Tuesday, Temple of the Atantic 10 billing the nonconference matchup as one between future Big East rivals has a shelf life of perhaps as tiny as one season after Rutgers announced it was following Maryland of the Atlantic Coast Conference into the Big Ten.

Back in the 1980s and into the early 1990s Rutgers was a rival of Temple in the Atlantic 10 andthe two schools since have continued the rivalry, though not every season.

"It's going to be a good thing," said Stringer, who built Iowa into a Big Ten and national power in the mid-1980s following her years at Cheyney and before returning East to revitalize Rutgers in the summer of 1995. "It's going to help us improve our facilities."

Improvement on the court for the young Temple team can't come soon enough for coach Tonya Cardoza, who spent many seasons on the dominating side of the scoreboard involving Connecticut romps over the Scarlet Knights when she was on the staff of Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma.

A 39-33 Temple rebounding advantage was washed away by the flood ofturnovers, compared to Rutgers' 12, that enabled the visitors to enjoy a 29-9 wipeout in scoring points off turnovers.

Cardoza's glance at that statistic prompted her into a monologue of stating what might have otherwise been.

"I thought this was definitely a game we could have won," Cardoza said. "...when you play basketball like that, it's almost impossible to win, especially against a team like Rutgers.

"... until we get better and value the basketball every single possession, this is going to continue to happen. We feel like if we took care of the basketball, we coild have won this game. I'm hoping it burns inside (her players) and they start valuing the basketball."

Temple will return in a week to travel to Bowling Green on Nov. 28 while Rutgers will host Davidson Sunday and then travel a short distantce to Princeton, the three-time defending Ivy champion, next Thursday.

Meanwhile, we'll return Friday morning to set up the weekend's action and update Williams' and Kabengano's numbers from this game into the running Baskets and Boards individual statistical achievement since both hit the minimal number for qualification on the list.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Guru Report: Delle Donne's Return Almost Like Old Times

By Mel Greenberg

Though Elena Delle Done returned to action for the first time this season, Delaware coach Tina Martin cautioned that the effects of Lyme Disease are ongoing and things can change in an instant.

The game story with Lehigh as well as a roundup of three other local games can be found at the Guru's http://www.philahoopsw.com new site.

Wednesday night's action will feature a Rutgers visit to Temple.

Stanley Heads To China

Former Washington Mystics assistant coach Marianne Stanley has headed over to coach in China following the dismissal of Trudi Lacey's staff.

Stanley, a former Immaculata star who is in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, has coached Old Dominion to three national titles among her collegiate jobs on the sidelines.

A source familiar with the move said Stanley will spend a month and if things go well she could land the Olympic job in the Orient and be paid well and retire comfortably in four years.

"It's a lot better than going through hell in the WNBA not knowing where you stand every year," the source said.

The Guru also hears owners will be in another cost reduction mood when league meetings get under way at the beginning of December in Atlanta.

Time to go now but the Guru will be back with commentary on conference shifts, the Thibault ouster and other matters.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 19, 2012

Guru's College Musings: Latest Conference Shifts Could Have Maryland's Frese and Rutgers' Stringer Back in Big Ten

(Guru's note: New content at the local site and ranking of the ten teams is now posted at http://www.philahoopsw.com First season rankings of the ten locals are part of the package.)

By Mel Greenberg

The Guru was having a nice do-not-too-much Friday when at mid-evening a reliable source sent a text saying: "Maryland to the Big Ten."

"Are you sure?" the Guru responded. "They just raised the ante to get out of the ACC."

"No problem. Big Ten network will be providing $26 million a year. Go work your magic."

At that hour the Guru really had nowhere to pursue and, besides, Mayland was going to be in town for the Saint Joseph's game the next day. What the Guru didn't know was whether he was in a minority of people handed knowledge of the move.

A little while later, however, the Guru's longtime friend and former Temple classmate Dick Weiss, nationally known in the men's basket world as "Dickie Hoops" of the New York Daily News tweeted, "Does this Maryland rumor have any legs?"

He didn't note what the rumor was but the Guru replied, "Heard it from my side of the fence."

Weiss didn't respond and the Guru stood down until after the ensuing sunrise.

Upon arriving on Hawk Hill, the Guru was greeted by Terrapins coach Brenda Frese's husband, Mark, and he began with the usual, "What's going on?"

"There's some report that you guys are headed for the Big Ten."

"Oh, they've been saying that for the last ten years," he responded, discounting the report.

Then a little while later Brenda emerged, gave a greeting and the Guru noted the rumor to her and she was also incredulous. And the brief conversation turned to other things.

The Guru found Frese's lack of knowledge interesting, comparing schools in these situations because he knows through a a solid source that Notre Dame Hall of Fame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw hd been aware for three weeks prior to the announcement that the Irish were going to be heading out of the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Yet someone else well acquainted with the Guru who has held prestigious positions in women's hoops had noted to him several days after the announcement on Notre Dame what a shock it was because the individual had been around Virginia (as in Cavaliers) people the previous weekend in Springfield, Mass., at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductions and no one had said a word.

Meanwhile, back on Hawk Hall, Saturday, shortly after the conversation with Frese, Rose DiPaula, the Terrapins women's media liason, had just arrived from a long drive from Norfolk, Va., where the past multi-national champion field hockey team had been bounced out of the NCAA semifinals by Princeton, which won the title Sunday.

The Guru mentioned something to her and she said, "I have no idea. I haven't been around school all week."

And so we all moved on to the game that became a national story when Saint Joseph's held off the No. 5 Terrapins 50-49 for a major upset, perhaps the greatest in the entire history of the program.

Yeah, the last top five team the Hawks beat was No. 3 Montclair State in 1977 in the first year of the Associated Press Poll, but Saint Joseph's had been in the Top 10 as opposed to being an unranked team that upset Maryland on Saturday.

As the game got under way, the Guru on press row mentioned something to media colleague Gene Wang of the Washington Post, the Maryland women's beat writer who also covers other events, figuring if smoke is rising in College Park, he would have heard about it.

Wang, who then had to rush off to Atlantic City afterwards to cover a fight, said it was news to him but he would fish around.

However, DiPaula said to the Guru soon afterwards that the report was lighting up every message board involving the university.

With the game concluded, the Guru had to rush off to Temple for the Owls' contest against Northeastern. However, during the second game in the men's part of the doubleheader at the Liacouras Center, when the Guru noted the report to a friend and colleague of the Guru from The Inquirer, he was well aware and for the first time the Guru heard that Rutgers was also strongly in the mix.

Meanwhile, the Guru later saw the reaction of two prominent Maryland grads and longtime Guru friends on facebook in former Baltimore Sun sportswriter Milton Kent, who was vehemently opposed, and Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist John Smallwood, who had a mixed reaction.

Later, another Maryland grad, Sam Angell, who is now the Drexel women's media laison, weighed into that conversation.

As for Rutgers, the Guru can only imagine coach C. Vivian Stringer's reaction because the Guru can bet the house that she might have been totally out of the loop on this one.

The Scarlet Knights will be in the house Wednesday night at McGonigle Hall when Temple hosts them in a nonconference game at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, after reading all the reports, on the women's side, here's the great irony that Frese, who became an instant high-profile candidate for the Maryland vacancy following making Minnesota a national force in one season, and Stringer, who brought Iowa to prominence, now find themselves most likely heading back to the Big Ten.

When Stringer was about to leave the Hawkeyes to return East, she had major concerns about whether the Big East could be as good as the Big Ten.

Now, at this hour, ever the fierce competitor, Stringer could be thinking in reverse about whether the Big Ten could measure up to the Big East considering the way the two conferences have altered in perception in recent seasons.

The weirdness of the geography is also this: In Maryland, Rutgers, and Penn State, you have three of the four top teams in the old AIAW Region 1B coalition after Immaculata had peaked as a power.

The fourth, by the way, was Cheyney, then coached by Stringer.

When the NCAA came along, the Guru remembers Hall of Fame former Maryland coach Chris Weller, who was Frese's predecessor prior to her retirement, talking about how she had two different groups of people she had to hang out with at the annual WBCA convention: Her old friends from IB and her new ones in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which was about to undertake women's competition.

The move, which forces the revival of competition among Penn State and Rutgers reunites two former powers of the early era of the Atlantic 10, then the equivalent of today's Big East.

Incidentally, some people with Maryland connections are concerned how this might impact recruiting on Frese's program, but first things first in terms of what might take place.

Also, if Maryland is gone, another reason the ACC might reach out quickly to pluck Connecticut from the Big East is the men's ACC coaches have had a negative impediment removed.

Past rumors when Connecticut wasn't gobbled in the previous shifts suggested the ACC men's basketball coaches were reluctant to have Jim Calhoun become part of the Tobacco Road brotherhood. But that is now history with his retirement and the ascent of the likeable Kevin Ollie.

For women's basketball fans in general now further up the Mid-Atantic corridor, if all this comes about, one will be able to travel shorter distances to see the best of the ACC, Big East, and Big Ten, with probably seeing a lot of SEC playing those schools in nonconference competition.

And since the Guru must always keep track of the numbers, if everything were signed, sealed, and delivered at this moment and happened right now, which obviously it can't, but for illustration's sake, here's how the numbers work in the AP Poll history charts through last week's poll.

Connecticut is sixth in total appearances with 388, Maryland is eighth at 361, and Rutgers is 10th at 348. Penn State, incidentally, is seventh at 367.

All three of the schools potentially involved in the shifts also have a slew of Top 10 and Top Five rankings, while UConn has a dominating total of No. 1 rankings.

So, the Big Ten would pick up 709 rankings, the ACC on a net change would gain through UConn a plus 27, though much more when Notre Dame makes its move, and the Big East would lose 388 and much more through Notre Dame's 237.

That's it for now. More to come in both the Guru national channel here and the brand new local channel mentioned in the Guru note at the top.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Guru's College Musings: Would A Red-Shirt Fit Delle Donne Better Than A Uniform?

By Mel Greenberg

And so here we are with what was supposed to be the sequel to Delaware's landmark season of 2011-12 -- a fond farewell tour of senior sensation Elena Delle Donne, attack some NCAA scoring records, and then off to the WNBA and whomever gets in position to make a pick that will see her help the cause in either Phoenix, Chicago, or Tulsa.

Of course, maybe the forlorn Washington Mystics get the last laugh with the other three becoming a bit uneasy and suddenly the nation's capital has the young and super talented woman who is practically a neighbor.

Several weeks ago, Delle Donne revealed to ESPN.com's Graham Hayes that the problems caused by Lyme's Disease that forced her to miss 12 games of her sophomore season had returned and that she would be day-to-day but was determined to fight the malady as hard as she could.

Considering the way she worked her way back from the first go-round to become the top player in a star-studded cast of top collegians who wore the USA uniforms to capture the gold medal at the World University Games in the summer of 2011, there was nothing alarming at the moment Delle Donne's situation hit the internet.

Several thousand have purchased season tickets and a near equal number ponied up in advance for the first-second round set of games at Delaware the Blue Hens won through a bid to host part of the NCAA tournament.

The Associated Press Poll voters and the USA Today coaches, for that matter, all gave the Blue Hens high marks picking up where they ascended as last season ran its course.

But then Friday came along for the season opener and Delle Donne did not play.

Well, fine. The opposition was Sam Houston State and if Delaware couldn't handle that game at home in the WNIT opener with four veteran starters, what could they handle?

But next was Georgetown, a team that had been ranked last season and still contained Sugar Rodgers, who had been an all-America candidate the last several competitions.

Again. No Delle Donne on Sunday afternoon. The Blue Hens were handled by the Hoyas and by Monday morning they were dropped by the AP from 11 to 17.

Kevin Tresolini, the Wilmington News Journal beat writer who was picked to join the AP media panel this season, tweeted that he had left Delaware off his ballot -- No Delle Donne, they're not a Top 25 team without her.

Well, it's early and plenty of time to right the course. But then came Wednesday night and the consolation round and a trip to Pitsburgh where Duquesne partied like it was 2010-11 -- forcing the Blue Hens into 21 turnovers.

Delaware fought back down the stretch and almost pulled it out but this is not the Duquense doormat of yesteryear since former Penn State star Suzie McConnell-Serio became head coach in her native city.

So now next up is a Tuesday visit from Providence, whose new coach is also a former Penn State star in Susan Robinson-Fruchtl.

There's time to rest some more and then get back in synch with the rest of the lineup.

But suppose things are really a bit more serious than anyone thought.

So, try this on for size, and the Guru has had no discussion or have any inside information as to the state of things on the campus in Newark.

If it is going to be another stop-start season like two years ago, maybe Delle Donne should consider red-shirting, get plenty of rest if the prospects of returning soon is unlikely.

Of course that would throw things in a tizzy where suddenly poor Tulsa holding the No. 3 pick would be no different than Washington at No. 4.

But in 2014, with Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins already in the WNBA, a healthy Delle Donne would become the clear No. 1 pick. Washington would probably not be much better next summer, especially consider their situation where the Mystics first got dissed by the ping-pong system and falling to No. 4 dispite havng the worst record and then getting blindsided by New York, who managed to pluck Bill Laimbeer back into active duty while the Mystics were mulling to go in that direction.

Again, maybe things will get better over the next several weeks and the NCAA committee will treat Delle Donne's absence the way injured players get evaluated in terms of seeds if they show a positive impact on their team when they return.

If all eyes were on Delaware last year watching Delle Donne almost singlehandedly raising the Blue Hens to a national profile, they are turning that way now with wonderment as to what will come next.

Mom Broadcasts Shot

For those of you who haven't been aware, the Guru has recently taken his local Philly area coverage to a new site -- working with the Philahoops.com men's coverage to launch http://philahoopsW.com.

So you would have to head over there to read about a tantalizing game in town Wednesday night when Saint Joseph's rallied and beat host Drexel in a local battle when junior Erin Shields nailed a trey with 0.1 seconds left on the clock.

But while these kind of heroics are not new in the City of Brotherly Love -- you do remember Duke beating Kentucky in the NCAA men's regional title game on a long-range missile? -- Shields' shot may have created a first in NCAA annals.

Shields mother, you see, is Renie Shields, a former Hawks star and Big Five Hall of Famer who became the senior women's administrator last year at Saint Joseph's after Ellen Ryan retired.

By the way sister Kerri is a senior at Boston College.

But what Renie has also done and has continued to do after her promotion is do the color commentating on Saint Joseph's radio broadcasts of the women's games.

So there she was on press row Wednesday night in the atmospheric Daskalakis Athletic Centerat at the mike when Erin launched the game-winner.

"I didn't say anything," she said afterwards. "I just listened to him call it (play- by-play commentator Steve Wanczyk) and sat there and watched the shot drop."

Meanwhile, it's off to New York in a few hours to go to the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) where former Immaculata coach Cathy Rush will be one of four recipients of the Joe Lapchick Character Award.

Then it's back here to go to La Salle as the Explorers host Northeastern, which will then visit Temple on Saturday.

Tweeting, as always, will continue at @womhoopsguru.

-- Mel --

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Guru's College Report: Penn Almost Mightier Than Cavaliers of Virginia

(Guru's note: The Guru is putting the game story on the national circuit here for those who may not know about Guru Local, actually http://philahoopsw.com where it actually looks prettier with pictures. This blog also has some AP poll notes at the bottom.)

By Mel Greenberg

Yes Virginia. There is a Penn.

And on Monday the Quakers nearly pulled one of the all-time upsets in the history of the program as well as the Big Five women when coach Mike McLaughlin’s group took a commanding lead over the Cavaliers at The Palestra only to fall in the final minutes 68-65 in the second game of the season for both schools.

“It’s disappointing because it could have been a signature win for the program,” McLaughlin said afterwards. “They looked Virginia right in the eye, and I thought we were the better team tonight.”

Junior Alyssa Baron and sophomore Kara Bonenberger, who were successively Big Five rookies of the year the previous two seasons, were nearly the winning ticket in a game that still showed how far the Quakers have come since McLaughlin left Division II powerhouse Holy Family in Northeast Philadelphia in the spring of 2009 to attempt to bring the Quakers to a new era of success.

Baron finished with 21 points and nine rebounds while Bonenberger scored 14 points. Sophomore Kathleen Roche, who has moved into the starting lineup, scored 10 points and gives McLaughlin hope to be one of the answers in his search to supplement his Baron-Bonenberger duo with additional options to connect with the basket.

The Quakers suffered an unforeseen roster departure a week ago when sophomore Jackie Kates left the squad on good terms to pursue life opportunities.

Kates and Baron are slated to play for the United States Maccabiah team this summer at the games that serve as the Israeli olympics.

Despite the tough loss, there was the realization that much could still be achieved this season.

“We know we can compete with anyone on the road, and we’ll be tough to play against,” Baron said. “We were just talking in the locker room — if we can compete against ACC schools then what’s the difference between playing Big 5, Princeton, Harvard?”

Virginia’s salvation came from an unlikely source in junior Kelsey Wolfe, who scored 18 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to far surpass her previous career high of 12 points – one of only two previous times she scored in double figures.

“She absolutely carried us,” Virginia second-year coach Joanne Boyle said. “We didn’t come out and play our normal style. (Penn) got us out of our rhythm and made us change what we do.

“Typically, we don’t do that. We stay with what we do, defensively. We got kind of lackadaisical and give them a lot of credit, they didn’t back down at all.”

Telia McCall added 14 points to the Virginia total and Ataira Franklin scored 13.

As expected, the Cavaliers dominated the boards 40-28, but the Quakers capitalized in transition scoring 19-8 against them in points off turnovers. Virginia, however, powered 22-9 on second chance points.

This game was set up, returning a Quaker visit two seasons ago; to serve as a homecoming appearance for Lexie Gerson of Fort Washington but hip surgery in September sidelined her for the season.

Gerson was also named to the Maccabiah squad representing the United States.

Virginia (1-1) arrived here fresh off a 78-57 season and home opening win Friday night over Colonial Athletic Association power James Madison, while the Quakers (0-2) were not too far away from Charlottesville in suffering a disappointing 60-51 loss at Norfolk State.

But in the first half, Penn seemed like it belonged more in the Atlantic Coast Conference shooting 53.8 percent and bolting to a 15-point lead before finishing the half ahead 35-23.

And Virginia looked more like a Mid-Major than a member of the BCS crowd shooting 32.3 percent from the field.

Hard to believe the Cavaliers were once led by such notables as Dawn Staley, Monica Wright, and Tonya Cardoza.

Coincidentally, UVa athletic director Craig Littlepage is a former Penn Star.

Who would believe a week ago before the presidential election that the Penn women could score more points on Virginia than Obama.

McLaughlin, however, knew his team wasn’t going to stay that hot forever.

The Quakers cooled down the final 20 minutes and the Cavaliers kept chipping away until Wolfe, the unlikely heroine, produced a three-point play to give the visitors their first lead since the game-opening basket at 57-56 with 4 minutes, 19 seconds left in regulation.

Penn, however, refused to fold and sophomore Katy Allen’s shot gave the advantage back to the Quakers and they nursed it until Wolfe’s layup put it back in Virginia’s hands with 1:59 left.

Baron gave the home team its last hurrah at 65-64 with 1:41 left.

Then the tide turned the other way for good as Franklin hit a jumper to put Virginia up 66-65 with 1:31 left.

Baron missed a jumper but a Virginia turnover gave the ball right back to Penn only to be doomed when Baron then turned it over and McCall converted her steal for a 68-65 lead with 36 seconds left.

The Quakers’ Roche missed a shot blocked by McCall while Wolfe grabbed the rebound. But Allen had a steal with nine seconds left before Roche’s attempted trey to tie the game was off the mark as time expired.

Incidentally, one of the officials who worked the game was Desiree Peterkin, who once was the operations director on the staff of Cindy Griffin at Saint Joseph’s. She also served as a helper running statistics printouts to the media in the early days of the WNBA New York Liberty in Madison Square Garden.

Penn next heads to Army Sunday afternoon and returns to The Palestra Nov. 30 to host La Salle in the Quakers’ first Big Five contest of the season.

Delaware Bound For Duquesne

As predicted Sunday night, following Delaware's upset loss at home to Georgetown, which enabled the Hoyas to move back into the Associated Press women's poll for the first time this season at No. 25, as well as advance to the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament seminfinals against North Carolina, on Monday the WNIT announced the Blue Hens will travel to Duquesne Wednesday night in Pittsburgh for a consolation game.

It is not known if Delaware's super senior Elena Delle Donne will play after missing the first two games of the season. The nation's top scorer in 2012-13 is suffering a recurrence of the effects of Lyme Disease and is listed day-to-day.

Duquesne nearly upset North Carolina on the road in Chapel Hill Sunday night.

Former Penn State star Suzie McConnell-Serio, an Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA standout, coaches the Dukes of the Atlantic 10.

In the summer of 2011 McConnell-Serio coached Delle Donne as an assistant to Iowa State's Bill Fennelly on the gold medal winning USA squad at the World University Games.

Delaware's loss shot the Blue Hens down from 11th to 17th.

Tennessee At The Edge Of The AP Cliff

Though a win over Georgia Tech knocked the Yellowjackets out of the AP Poll, Tennessee's loss at unranked Chattanooga Friday night to launch the Holly Warlick era on the sidelines dropped the Lady Vols from 20th to 24th.

That is the first time Tennessee has dropped below the 20th ranked threshhold since the poll expanded to 25 slots for the 1989-90.

The Lady Vols have been ranked a record 493 times dating to Feb., 1985 after being unranked 10 straight weeks. Tennessee has missed just 14 polls, the first-ever poll and a three-week spurt several seasons before the 1984-85 drought.

In that time on the current streak, the No. 19 Tennessee ranking the week before the final poll -- they finished 18th -- was the only time the Lady Vols had dipped below 15th.

Meanwhile, the shuffle this week that brought in Texas and Georgetown, though the two have been ranked before with Texas an elite performer, their arrival brings two brand new coaches to the poll and six overall in the first two weeks of the season.

Karen Aston took over at Texas and Keith Brown was promoted at Georgetown so he has been indirectly associated with a ranked team as has Aston from her time as both a Longhorns and Baylor assistant.

Last week Joe Tartamella arrived with St. John's, though he was an assistant with the Red Storm during their previous ranking; Lindsay Gottlieb with Cal, and likewise; Holly Warlick with Tennessee, obviously the same as the others, and Jim Littlel with Oklahoma State, who may not have been with the Cowgirls during their previous appearances.

Sent using gmail account
other main email at poll@att.net
twitter account -- http://twitter.com/womhoopsguru
blog account http://melgreenberg.com
blog account http://womhoops.blogspot.com
Cell phone 215-815-5943
home address:
6613 Akron St.
Philadelphia, Pa. 19149

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guru's National College Report: Tennessee Retains Top Active AP Poll Streak

(Guru's note: Comprehensive coverage of Sunday's area action is now posted on the Guru local new site PhilahoopsW at the url http://philahoopsw.com. The Guru handled Princeton's opening win at Saint Joseph's, then leads all other games with Penn State topping the roundup, and then the something extra And-One feature.)

By Mel Greenberg

So Tennessee turned things around real quick Sunday afternoon imitating Sherman's march through Atlanta by handling No. 22 Georgia Tech to most likely avoid extinction from the rankings for now for the first time since the middle of the 1984-85 season.

But had it happened, questions about the streak would have cropped up quickly.

Therefore, as a Guru public service and the guess that the teams with the best streaks will still be ranked, here are the leading streaks currently alive in the AP Poll, which will include Monday's release, though it may not be out there yet, depending when you are reading this.

As mentioned in the precede, the Guru focused more on the local channel Sunday, but he'll be back with more substantial things Monday night following Virginia's visit here to Penn in The Palestra.

Best Current Streaks In The AP Women's Poll
Current Thru Poll of 12/11/12

1. Tennessee 493, Began Feb. 17, 1985, spanning 29 seasons
2. Connecticut 355, Began Preseason '93-94, spanning 20 seasons
3. Duke 225, Began week four of '99-00, spanning 14 seasons
4. Stanford 209, Began Preseason '01-02, spanning 12 seasons
5. Baylor 164, Began Jan. 5, 2004, spanning 10 seasons
6. Notre Dame 97, Began Preseason '07-08, spanning 6 seasons.

The Guru will be back.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Guru's National College Musings: Does Upset Have Tennessee Heading For Poll Extinction?

(Guru's note: Comprehensive coverage of Friday night's area action is now posted on the Guru Local new site PhilahoopsW at the url http://philahoopsw.com. The Guru handled Temple's opening win over Montana while Drexel and Delaware's wins and Penn's loss is also spoken to).

By Mel Greenberg

The departure of legendary Hall of Fame Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt last April to coach emeritus status as part of her way to deal with her ongoing battle against early onset dementia, Alzheimer type, meant her longtime run at the top of the active list of coaches with teams in the Associated Press women's poll had ended.

Summitt still stays at the top of the companion career chart and it is doubtful that anyone will be able to catch her.

But just as Summitt's place on the active chart is no more, the next domino might be ready to fall when the AP media panel goes to the voting both Sunday night.

What had been unthinkable for a long, long time, occurred Friday night when Holly Warlick, Summitt's former star player and eternal associate head coach, made her official debut with the title Summitt once held and got quite the rookie hazing when UT-Chattanooga upset the Lady Vols 80-71 in the season opener for both teams.

The home team had not beaten its esteemed neighbor to the north since 1973, about the same year that Immaculata had just tucked away its second national tournament title in the fledgling AIAW.

Furthermore the Lady Vols had not dropped a season opener since 1999 when an eventual national runnerup Purdue squad, ranked fifth in the preseason poll, grabbed the win over the top-ranked Tennessee group and leapfrogged to the Boilermakers' first-ever No. 1 ranking.

But that wasn't so terrible since both teams lived in the high-rent district of the weekly rankings.

But on the heels of the 2009 first-round exit of the NCAA tournament when Ball State did the unthinkable, now Tennessee, with a virtual worst-ever preseason spot at No. 20 and a loss to a team that got barely a sniff by the rankings folks, could find itself on the outside looking in if No. 22 Georgia Tech, which is hosting the Lady Vols Sunday, also delivers a roundhouse.

A win by the Yellowjackets would propel MaChelle Joseph's group ahead of Tennessee. Then it is doubtful whether the others in the danger zone will suffer any setbacks -- No. 21 Purdue, No. 23 Oklahoma State, No. 24 Miami, or No. 25 DePaul.

So as they say among the battleground teams in that section of the poll: Do the math.

Any of the also-rans in the preseason vote who didn't miss by much, could be in position to squeeze past Tennessee and if that occurs, the Lady Vols, who graduated all five starters from last year's NCAA Sweet 16 squad, could be unranked in the AP vote for the first time since miday through the 1984-85 season -- a period of 27 plus years.

Warlick is one of 43 coaches eligible for the Maggie Dixon Award from the WBCA. In her postgame press conference Friday night, she said that if the team learns from its performance, it will be OK.

Unfortunately, though, with poll extinction possible unless the team turns around quickly in Sunday's visit to Atlanta, things will get worse before the point of OK is reached.

And if the plunge happens, say hello to the newest team with the active longest poll streak -- that would be UConn!

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, November 09, 2012

Debbie Black: "Never Missed A Game Or Practice In My 30 Years"

(Guru's note: This is the biography of the former Saint Joseph's star the Guru wrote for the written program involving the current Ohio State's assistant coach's induction Thursday night into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. The same bio is also at the Guru's new http://philahoopsw.com site with some photos.)

By Mel Greenberg

Ohio State Women's Basketball Coach Jim Foster remembers the first time he ever saw Debbie Black on a basketball court back in the early 1980s when he was at the front of his career on the sidelines guiding Saint Joseph's University.

"Pink ribbons. Blonde ponytail. Just a bundle of energy. And she was 14 years old," Foster recently recalled of his future Hawks star who first made her mark at Archbishop Wood in the Catholic League.

"And her energy was such she could overcome those (opponents) who had superior skill," Foster continued about Black, who is one of the tonight's Class of 2012 inductees into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.

"Back then there were no limits on how much time you could spend recruiting and I saw a bunch of Debbie's games, in part to see if there were any significant others," Foster referred to additional potential prospects.

"And with her, it was always `will' over those who had natural gifts and I used to think, `What am I seeing that others are not. This is going to be easier than I thought.'"

Black, who is now one of Foster's assistants with the Buckeyes, arrived on Hawk Hill in the autumn of 1984 and quickly made an impact at Saint Joseph's.

A month into her freshman season the Hawks were in La Salle's holiday tournament where they upset nationally-ranked Western Kentucky and Iowa, which was then in its first year under former Cheyney great C. Vivian Stringer, who is now at Rutgers.

The Western Kentucky game became memorable in local women's hoops.

Black, playing like a pesky gnat on defense, so frustrated Hilltoppers star Clementte Haskins, the daughter of men's collegiate coach Clem Haskins, that after the contest went into overtime, Haskins had had enough and launched a roundhouse at Black that got Haskins tossed.

The Hawks went on to capture the the event, as mentioned, and the following week Saint Joseph's had its first national ranking under Foster in the Associated Press women's poll.

In fact, Black so made Foster's career, which has included a stop at Vanderbilt and an assistant on the 1992 U.S. Women's Olympic Team, that he himself is headed for induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., next June.

The Hawks played Western Kentucky several more times during Black's career and eventually Hilltoppers coach Paul Sanderford conceded, "I used to think all she does is foul and the officials don't call it. But after seeing her enough, I've decided she really is a great player and it just looks like she's fouling, when she's not."

Black is considered Saint Joseph's all-time all-around athlete after also starring in field hockey and softball and winning 12 letters.

Statistically, Black's basketball marks with the Hawks have continued to hold up several decades after she had moved on to the next phase of her career.

The fiery point guard, whose older sister Barbara played two seasons with her, averaged 7.4 points per game, 5.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.7 steals.

She led the squad through her senior season (1987-88) three times in assists and all four times in steals. Her records for steals in a game (12) season (153), and career (572) still top the charts of the Hawks women. Black dealt 718 assists,which held No. 1 for a decade until Angela Zampella surpassed her.

The numbers, of course, turned into accolades with Black making the Big Five Hall of Fame as well as both the Saint Joseph's women's basketball and athletics halls of fame before tonight's honor. She was Big Five player of the year as a senior.

Black, who helped lead the Hawks to four straight NCAA tournaments during her entire career, was a multi-named honoree in the Atlantic 10 to various squads and her battles on the court with the legendary Suzie McConnell-Serio were worth the price of admission when Penn State was a member of the conference.

"She was a tough defender, in college and the WNBA" says McConnell-Serio, who now coaches Duquesne in the conference. "Just a bundle of energy. And she was a great point guard, also. Just fantastic on both defense and offense."

Black says growing up she modeled her style in terms of determination after Phillies baseball great Pete Rose.

"I liked the way he played, you know, Charlie Hustle and all that," Black said.

She also is a member of the Bucks County chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

"One thing I take pride in is the fact I never missed a game or a practice in 30 years,Black says.

"Kids today want time off if they break a fingernail."

Following her collegiate career, Black went off to Australia for eight years playing with the Tasmanian Islanders and twice led them to national titles.

That may be the name of the team, but when she became a pro in the United States, many nicknamed her "The Tasmanian Devil" because of her tenacity on defense.

In the spring of 1996 when the American Basketball League was forming, she flew back to Atlanta to the combine that would determine 100 or so candidates for the draft.

Yours truly remembers arriving on the scene later in the week and being told by a sportswriter from the Los Angeles Times, "I've been here the entire time and there's this kid from Australia and she's sensational."

"What's her name?"

"Debbie Black."

While she was Down Under, the women's game here are was developing in popularity and Black took a modest approach at the combine.

"I think I could contribute a little something off the bench, help the team a little, " Black said at the time.

She easily made the draft list, was chosen by the Colorado Xplosion and after a few games coming in off the bench, Black was made a starter and achieved all-star status the two years the ABL existed. She led the league in career steals with 330 and and was second in all-time assists with 608.

Black accomplished this going against some of the former collegiate greats such as Hall of Famers Dawn Staley, who was inducted into the Philly Hall here last November, and Jen Rizzotti, the former University of Connecticut star.

Though only 5 foot, 2.5 inches, a half-inch less in height than Muggsy Boles, the shortest player in NBA history, Black never let her size get in the way of performance.

In her first ABL season, one night while playing through an injury, Black posted a quadruple double (10 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists, 10 steals).

She continued her notoriety for six seasons in the WNBA.

Black, who played on three WNBA teams, including the former Utah Starzz and Miami Sol, retired as one of the more popular players on the Connecticut Sun after the 2004 season. She was named the league's defensive player of the year in 2001 at the age of 35.

Her court duels with the New York Liberty's Teresa Weatherspoon, the former Louisiana Tech star, were such that the Madison Square Garden crowd would emphatically boo the mention of Black's name when the opposition starting lineup would be announced.

Having played for coaches who had been NBA assistants such as Ron Rothstein when Black was with Miami and Mike Thibault, who coaches Connecticut, she has taken her skills to the sidelines where she has helped Foster keep the Buckeyes in the national rankings.

"Debbie Black is my favorite," praised WNBA rookie guard Samantha Prahalis, who was a first round pick of the Phoenix Mercury after being an All-American as a Buckeye taught under the former Hawks star.

"She is going to have a great career in the WNBA, especially with talent surrounding her in Phoenix and they're getting the No. 1 draft pick," Black said of her former basketball student.

Black also played in the then-named Philadelphia Dept. of Recreation NCAA Women's Basketball Summer League.

"I hear it is all indoors now," said Black of Warminister, near where the two-nights-a-week Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women's Basketball Summer League competes in Hatboro in lower Bucks County, Pa.

"It's so different now. When I played, it was all outdoors. Great atmosphere. Who cared how hot it was. Just suck it up, grab your bottles off water and play," Black laughed.

The effervescent Black was also an intern with the 76ers. That was lots of fun. One time I walked around all day in green as Gumby with Allen Iverson."

She says after this season she will look for her own college program to coach if a desirable opening occurs.

A team of full of Debbie Black clones? Now there's a scary thought. But one that would be quite entertaining, nonetheless.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Guru Unites With Philahoops to Create PhilahoopsW -- A New Internet Home For Local Division I Women's Basketball

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA -- The Guru brand, on the eve of another college basketball season, is pleased to present a re-organization and exciting new initiative as he joins forces locally with Philahoops to become a companion PhilahoopsW, emphasizing internet coverage of area Division I women's basketball.

The gateway to the front door of the site is http://philahoopsw.com.

There will be the same alternating terminology in terms of schools that the guys on the other side of the operation focus -- the Philly Six, which means Drexel and the Big Five, with of course Big Five notations when needed out of the local rivalries.

But the Guru's reach will also include the two powerful state university women's programs that have always had a large following here in Rutgers up in central New Jersey and Penn State.

Finally, the mix also includes Delaware just to the south where the Blue Hens have become a nationally-ranked program headlined by senior Elena Delle Donne, likely to become one of the top three picks in next April's WNBA draft.

Before continuing, you should know that those of you come here to the blog from across the country to also look at the Guru's national and WNBA coverage, for now you can keep coming back to this site.

That also goes for enhanced coverage of women's events and awards under the umbrella of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).

But from time to time some of the Guru's national coverage will slide to PhilahoopsW when there is a reason, locally, to do so. There will always be a mention in this blog when that happens.

The Guru first met Aaron Bracy back in 1997 when he was a student at Saint Joseph's University working on the school paper in sports among his other activities..

He went on to write for papers up in Trenton and also work for the Associated Press, which has sent him to cover women's games here when either local teams became nationally ranked in the AP poll or played opponents who came to town with national rankings.

He even did a little ABL coverage during the Rage's brief existence.
In recent years he has gone into teaching.

But Aaron has had that same passion for local hoops as had the Guru dating to his days as the men's basketball manager for the Temple team that went on to win the NIT. That was when the tournament in Madison Square Garden was virtually a big a deal as the NCAA tournament, which then only consisted of 16 teams.

In recent seasons as Aaron channeled his passion into developing Philahoops, and he and the Guru would cross paths, and he would say "we should think about joining forces."

The Guru kept the offer in his back pocket, knowing we would continue to see each other because of both of us freelance hoops coverage for the Guru's work alma mater The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Meanwhile, by last season, Philahoops got to be a pretty robust site offering quite an extension of coverage to the local papers, which have lost significant staff in downsizing because of the economy.

Besides game coverage, there's photos, columns, video, chats, a vast social media approach through twitter and facebook.

Heck, Aaron even managed to lure longtime local AP writer and Big Five Hall of Famer Jackie Scheuer to become a columnist drawing on his involvement in decades of local men's reporting.

Aaron also found a computer wonk in La Salle grad Joe Fedorowicz to bring his vision on the men's side to life on the internet.

And so it was that several weeks ago, the Guru, in thinking of how to do likewise in bringing more to the local women's games, sent Aaron a note, basically saying, "OK, ready to give it a shot."

Both Aaron and Joe wasted little time in moving forward and over the last several weeks the Guru offered his national and local friends, writing colleagues, coaches, and sports information directors a peek at the work in progress and responses were overwhelming with excitment.

Joe, incidentally, is a former track star and his sister Allie, who starred at Cornell and St. Basil in the Philadelphia suburbs, is the basketball operations director for the Delaware women. They are the nephew and niece of Boston U. coach Kelly Greenberg, the former La Salle star and Penn coach.

So while over the years the Guru has said he is not related to Kelly, he can now add, but he is doing plenty of relating to Joe and Allie these days.

Meanwhile, looking at some early plans, Hall of Famer Theresa Grentz, the former Immaculata great who has coached Saint Joseph's, Rutgers and Illinois, and is now in the area running her own company, accepted an invite to do columns from time to time.

Likewise, former Saint Joseph's star Debbie Black, now an assistant to her former coach Jim Foster at Ohio State and who was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night.

Leigh Torbin, a former Sports Information director at UConn who now lives in Florida, offered to help from afar and there are special tricks he can do with stats. Mike Siroky, the orginal beat writer for the Tennessee women who has been living near Notre Dame says he can add features from afar.

Air Bluestein, who does Drexel women's games on the radio, will be Dragons specific as one of a staff the Guru hopes to recruit to stay on top of each team while the Guru makes his national/local rounds.

Each team gets its own page and it is a compliment to Joe and Aaron they had no problem in creating a product on the women's side that include three more teams than the main attractions at Philahoops.

A young lady, Maya Goldberg-Safir, a senior at Middlebury College in Vermont who is from Oakland, Calif., had previously sent the Guru a note wanting to get involved in USBWA women's activities, saying she regained her passion for the women's game after watching the Olympics over the summer.

The wonders of technology will also allow her to get involved locally from afar.
The original blogerettes are all doing well and kudos to Jonathan who just rolled out a whole new Philly.com look for the site that finally makes it seem up to the task of the other good sites by newspapers elsewhere around the country.

PhilahoopsW will be basically a work in progress this season -- the Guru has to learn yet another platform as he takes on the role of senior editor/writer - women overseeing the women's coverage.

So those of you who have interest, feel freel to contact the Guru and he'll see what's possible because the more help that comes aboards the quicker we'll be able to enhance coverage with photos, videos, chats, etc.

Also, feel free to offer ideas or suggestions, the Guru is always open.

That said, it's time to get back to work and get ready for the season ahead but here is a copy of the release from Aaron's side of the operation. Apologies that on the text-only editor the Guru is using on his iPad, he couldn't copy the actualy philahoops letterhead.

-- Mel

Philahoops Release Announcing PhilahoopsW and the Guru's Involvement

November 8, 2012
Contact: Aaron Bracy

Philahoops is expanding its coverage to include local women’s basketball with today’s launch of PhilahoopsW.com, Philahoops editor Aaron Bracy announced.
PhilahoopsW.com will mirror Philahoops.com, which covers Philadelphia’s six Division I men’s basketball teams, and also will include area women’s powers Delaware, Rutgers and Penn State.

Legendary women’s basketball writer and Hall of Famer Mel Greenberg will oversee the new enterprise as senior editor of PhilahoopsW. Greenberg still will provide commentary and national coverage at his Women's Hoops Guru blog, womhoops.blogspot.com.

“It is very exciting to include Philadelphia women’s basketball in Philahoops’ scope, and there is no better person to lead the coverage than Mel,” Bracy said. “Mel is an authority on women’s hoops and there is no journalist who has contributed more to the women’s game than Mel. The fact that the annual media award for excellence in women’s basketball coverage is named for Mel says it all. I have known Mel for many years and it truly is an honor to join forces with him. His presence brings instant credibility to PhilahoopsW.”

Greenberg, who brings 37 years of local and national years of experience covering women's basketball, spent more than 40 years at The Inquirer prior to his retirement in 2010.

"I didn't retire to mow lawns," jests Greenberg. "If there can be an ESPNW, why not PhilahoopsW considering the birth of the modern women's game has its roots back here dating to Immaculata and West Chester."

Greenberg, who spearheads women's activities for the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), founded what became the Associated Press weekly women's basketball poll, which was launched in The Inquirer in November 1976.
Online: Philahoops.com On Twitter: @Philahoops Facebook: Facebook.com/Philahoops

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Guru's College Special: How A Previous NHL Lockout Enhanced WBB To UConn's Benefit

(Guru's note: Congratulations to Bob Heller, assistant athletic director of athletic communication at University of the Sciences right her in Philadelphia who became the Guru's 2,000th follower on tweeter Monday night when the Guru was in College Park Maryland taking in an exhibition game between the Terrapins and Goldey-Beacom, which actually competes in the same Central Athletic Collegiate Conference (CACC) as USP.

Heller is also the men's and women's cross country coach and is a 1986 graduate of Villanova, where he once did servitude for veteran women's basketball coach Harry Perretta of the Wildcats.

Irony No. 1 is that Villanova assistant Heather Vulin just missed getting the Guru the milestone.

Irony No. 2 is that Sports Information Director legend Larry Dougherty of Temple gave the Guru his 1,000th follower a year ago. The Guru has been longtime friends with both.

By the way, the announcement the Guru promised in Monday's post is temporarily suspended to finish some housekeeping details before the presentation. And now on with the report.)

By Mel Greenberg

As the lockout in the National Hockey League has contined into November, the Guru recalls how a work stoppage under similar circumstances back in the fall of 1994 actually helped women's basketball and in particularly the University of Connecticut.

About the time the NHL owners' action began on Oct. 1 that year, a switch was being made in women's basketball polling history.

The Associated Press began doing the compiliation in-house, as opposed to the Guru handling things by remote, and a switch was made to use writers and broadcasters on the women's panel instead of coaches. the same system the wire service has used on all its other sports polls.

As an addition to the weekly vote, all-America teams determined by the media panel were to be added to the AP package along with national player and coach of the year awards, which are given at the NCAA Women's Final Four.

But more important, the AP was ready to step up ongoing coverage of the season from opening tip in November until a champion was determined the following March or April, depending how the calendar fell.

Thus a commitment was made to also send short stories across the wire nightly with a roundup also provided of any women's game involving a team in the Top 25.

In several situations, where a bureau chief wasn't overwhelmed by the mixture of sports and news on the daily plate, stories on even non-Top 25 teams would find their way into the digest.

This was back in what can be called the Camelot era of newspapers when space was plentiful, expense accounts for travel were more liberal, etc., etc.

Meanwhile, heading into that 1994-95 season, ESPN was seeking a rematch of the Elite Eight game of the previous spring when North Carolina had beaten UConn to move on to the Final Four and eventually win the NCAA title on Charlotte Smith's famous three-point shot at the end of regulation against Louisiana Tech.

But Tar Heels coach Sylvia Hatchell did not find it tasty to go to the frozen north in the middle of winter and so refused.

Some at the time thought the future Women's Basketball Hall of Famer got confused and when ESPN talked about going to UConn, Hatchell thought the network officials meant Yukon, the territory in Alaska.

Still, the sports network wanted an afternoon attraction on Martin Luther King Day and at that time found a willing participant in Tennessee legendary coach Pat Summitt to go play against the up-and-coming Geno Auriemma-coached Huskies.

So the season got under way: Tennessee was No. 1 in the opening vote and Connecticut was No. 4 with No. 2 Purdue and No. 3 Louisiana Tech sandwiched between the two programs from the North and South.

But a curious thing also began to happen in sports sections.

As your Guru told you earlier, it was the hey day of newspapers with lots of space in the sports section.

But there was a problem. No NHL owner/labor peace meant no hockey games and with no games, sports editors had to scramble to fill the space that was occupied that time of year by the boys on ice.

And suddenly, there came an easy solution -- use the AP women's roundup and its accounts to occupy the vacumn.

In some places where some of the more liberal editors who had daughters in athletics existed, they enhanced the report by also running the local roundup with the national report.

And so everything moved forward.

Purdue took a tumble at the outset, so Stanford, which had been sixth, leapfrogged over Connecticut to No. 2, but the Huskies moved up to third ahead of Louisiana Tech.

No movement occured at the top at week three, but in week four Stanford lost and suddenly Connecticut was at an all-time rankings high in second when the week four rankings were released.

And then for the next five weeks the Lady Vols and Huskies marched lock step 1-2 and unbeaten. With pictures from games along the way and fancy displays on the sports pages, people began to notice.

And what they also noticed is that the scheduled Martin Luther King date was on the horizon and 1 vs. 2 was on a collision course ready to impact in tiny Storrs, the campus community of the Huskies buried a few miles away from the nearby civilization that was Hartford.

OK, make the locale of civilization Vernon where the fabulous NY deli Reins is located.

Meanwhile, peace was finding a path into the NHL fray and on Jan. 11 the war was over, just five days before the Tennessee-UConn showdown.

Nut reporters all over the mid-Atlantic seaboard had already suddenly found themselves assigned to head to Gampel Pavilion that frosty afternoon.

Added to excitment came yet another wrinkle from AP.

The way the weekly process works in terms of the poll, games through Sunday night are the cutoff point, the panel votes and then communicates their ballots to AP in New York by Monday afternoon.

Then the poll is released early Monday night and appears in newspapers the following morning.

But the powers that be, including Chuck Schoffner, who was Doug Feinberg's predecessor as the national in-house women's basketball journalist at AP, decided it might look strange in the wake of the Tennessee-UConn outcome if the team that won might not be the team No. 1 the following morning, especially if that team happened to be the underdog Huskies.

Furthermore, no one had games scheduled because of the holiday, a reason ESPN foresaw to showcase the game prior to knowing it might become a 1-2 matchup.

Thus, a decision was made to have the AP voters not cast ballots until the outcome at the top was determined.

The rest is history.

Connecticut won and immediately became media darlings, especially with the major national publication headquarters a few hours away easily accessible to jump on the bandwagon.

And it didn't hurt to have a new face in the mix in UConn's Auriemma, who became Mr. Entertainment and an unstoppable quote machine to the delight of those on the beat.

Meanwhile, Hockey was back, but so what?

This story was too good to let go and of course the epologue was provided several months later when unbeaten Connecticut and Tennessee met in the title game in Minneapolis with the Huskies rallying in the closing minutes to finish with an unbeaten record.

With all this fuss over UConn being visible to the folks at the NBA, who were looking for a way to provide a better feeder system towards the Olympics, the fuse was lit that exploded into the WNBA in the summer of 1997 while the American Basketball League had a short-lived two seasons life.

One of the ABL teams was the New England Blizzard, which gave the UConn crowd a pro team of their own. When the league went bankrupt, the populace continued to lobby the WNBA to break the mold of requiring an NBA big brother for each squad.

In 2003, the league finally gave in, allowing the failing Orlando Miracle to be bought by the Mohegan Tribe and moved to the Mohegan Sun near New London where it has become one of the more successful franchises, though a WNBA crown has remained out of reach.

And all this because of the scorched earth conflict in the NHL in which No Ice meant No Dice, except that suddenly there was a rattle and women's basketball had rolled snake eyes.

What happens off the current NHL dispute? Probably nothing in terms of benefits this time around. Newspapers are suffering economically but the internet and other technological enhancements provide alternatives to see the action and get results.

And there's more TV than ever.

But if the NHL continus to be idle, then what?

The answer is Baylor vs. UConn in Hartford -- much bigger than Storrs.

It'll be 1 vs 2. and ice or no ice that game will be one hot ticket.

--- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 05, 2012

Guru's College Report: New George Washington Coach Jonathan Tsipis Set To Wake Colonials' Echoes

(Guru's note. A post under this one brings the carousel tracker forward to list all the coaching chances from last season as part of his 2012-13 preview package.)

By Mel Greenberg

It'll be a combination of one more day followed by perhaps one long night before it is known via result of Tuesday's presidential election whether or not the White House near here will be changing occupants when the next inauguration in front of the United States Capitol comes along on Jan. 20.

But here in the Charles E. Smith Center of George Washington University, the new women's basketball adminstration under rookie head coach Jonathan Tsipis offered a public preview early Sunday night in the form of an exhibition game in which the Colonials defeated Wingate 69-39.

Located outside across 22nd St. in a brownstone building, the GWU women's basketball office was one of a record 74 across the nation that changed occupants at Division I universities after 2011-12

A few months later a plus one with an asterisk was added to that total at Mississippi when Adrian Wiggins, hired from Fresno State, departed in the wake of disclosures of NCAA recruiting violations and Brett Frank, an assistant whom Wiggins brought with him from out west, was made acting head coach of the Rebels through 2012-13.

Tsipis, who had been on Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw's staff for nine seasons at Notre Dame, including associate head coach and recruiting coordinator the previous four, is also one of a record 43 rookies who are eligible for the WBCA's Maggie Dixon Award presented to an oustanding newbie at the NCAA Women's Final Four.

After Tispis' long stint at Notre Dame which saw the nationally prominent Irish finish national runnersup the last two seasons in the NCAA, he looking at things from two different viewpoints.

The first is on game nights the action in front of him will no longer be obstructed by a pair of ruby red shoes worn by McGraw as she stalks the sidelines directing perennial all-Americans such as current senior Skylar Diggins.

The second is that rather than working to maintain a long tradition of excellence at Notre Dame, Tsipis was hired by GWU athletic director Patrick Nero to restore the luster of the Colonial women that had fallen on hard times the last four seasons partly caused by a rash of injuries.

That last fact is a key reason for the number of players on the squad who are playing as graduate students following their true senior designations.

Last season, for example, George Washington tied for 10th in an Atlantic 10 conference the Colonials used to rule, going 11-18 overall and 4-10 in league play. Indeed, until the last two weeks prior to the league pairings, they were in danger of being one of the two teams who are omitted once the final standings are determined.

Locally here, besides being overshadowed by the resurgence of Maryland in the middle of the last decade, GWU has found itself eclipsed by a Georgetown program that began appearing in the Associated Press rankings which used to be a home to the Colonials.

Tsipis addressed a few of the aforementioned facts following Sunday's game in which graduate student Tara Booker scored 12 points, graduate student Brooke Wilson had had 10 points and 10 rebounds while senior Danni Jackson scored 10 points and senior reserve Shi-Heria Shipp scored 10 points each.

Freshman Anjaleace White, who had been a Gatorade player of the year in Delaware out of Sanford and lives near the University of Delaware campus in Newark, scored eight points off the bench.

If the pro game was being discussed here, one might surmise that White could be the player to be named later in the deal several years ago that saw Kayla Miller depart the Colonials for the Blue Hens the same time former coach Joe McKeown left for Northwestern.

"I was really pleased," Tsipis said afterwards in the postgame press conference of the Colonials' performance. "I think the goal for tonight was to see that the progression we had in practice through a closed scrimmage -- that we keep trying to stay true to our motto: Are we getting better every single day?

"I've asked a lot of our players to try to change their mindsets and doing things they haven't had to do their whole college career and I don't feel that at any point they have strayed from that.

The big thing is through 1-13 (the entire roster) we had great effort. We worked hard to be able to do the things we are able to control every single game -- and that's to be able to dictate the tempo offensively, defensively be active and try to get some turnovers that we would be able to turn into easy baskets, and then just the toughness factor.

"I like that idea that we are going to be able to be a physical team. We're going to be able to rebound. We are able to get to the free throw line, we were able to do that a little bit more in the second half," Tispis said.

GWU opens at home Friday night to begin the season by hosting Texas Arlington before wading deeper into a nonconference slate that has a visit to Big East power Rutgers Nov. 14, hosting Georgetown Dec. 1, hosting on Dec. 12 an Auburn squad that is now run by former Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, and a visit to California in late December.

When the conference season begins, in terms of the three Philadelphia rivals, the Colonials will host Saint Joseph's on January 17, visit La Salle on Feb. 3, but will not see Temple because the expansion of the Atlantic 10 forced officials to omit several intra-league rivals from each team's schedule.

Thus, unless the Owls and GWU meet in the A-10 tournament, the long-running series is ended barring future arrangements to meet because Temple is headed to the Big East Conference next summer.

Meanwhile, Booker and Jackson, who were the postgame players sent to the media room, spoke of life under their new coach.

"It feels amazing," Booker said. "Everyone is like freshmen again with the new coaching staff, new plays and everything. It's just a whole new mood. A whole new vibe. A whole new energy and atmosphere that the team is producing new."

Added Jackson, "We feel rejuvenated. I think we're excited to play for Coach Tsipis, knowing where he has been -- he's trying to instill in us, we're taking it in and we appreciate him. We're having fun playing again."

As for Tsipis, to get back to one of the early observations, what's it like to have an unobstructive view on the court?

"The first thing I realize is I have a much better view of the court now," Tispis said with a big grin. "Because I can stand up and go wherever I want. I don't have to dodge and fake around somebody squatting in front of me.

"In a lot of ways it's a dream come true. In a lot of ways I've got a team right now -- and Tara alluded to it -- that in some ways I've got 13 freshmen," Tispis noted.

"And I'm trying to fuse my beliefs, my philosophy, my culture and kind of my emotion. And anybody who knows me, and I've said this from Day One, I'm not going to just sit on the bench.

"And when those six seniors have bought in -- it's easy then for the freshmen to understand this is the way we do things every single day. When our kids some days are a little bit sore -- and my goal is to make practice harder than any game they're going to play -- and for them to be able to do it, and challenge themselves and play in different groups, that's been a lot of fun.

"They just didn't bought in when we started practice. They bought in on April 6 when I sat in a room with them and talked to them -- and, yes, we're going to build this, but we're going to do it the right way.

"This isn't a process where I'm not going to start talking about year three till we get to year three, and that's been a lot of fun," he continued.

"I'm sure I'm going to keep learning as we go along the way. Believe me, the South Bend (Ind.) area code between texting and calls has been burned up as I've approached a lot of things.

"(McGraw) is a hall of fame coach for a lot more than just her x's and o's -- the kind of person she is and she's been great as has anybody I've had a chance to learn under has been under the whole time."

Besides the change from maintaing a program in the Top 10 to joining one needing major reconstruction, there's the cultural adjustment in leaving the Midwest for a major metropolitan area on the East Coast and one in which baseball and football and the other pro sports as well as the collegiate men dominate the local sports scene.

And Tsipis also has found that where a car was mandatory in his last job, one can get around more efficiently at times here on the city's underground Metro that extends like spokes on a wheel to the nearby suburbs.

He has also brought a large dash of Irish DNA to Foggy Bottom, making 2006 ND grad Megan Duffy associate head coach from her previous position on the staff of Kim Barnes Arico at St. John's prior to Barnes Arico's move to Michigan -- one of 13 changes that occurred at BCS schools.

Erica Williamson, director of basketball operations, and her assistant Tom Bacsik, are both 2010 Notre Dame graduates.

"The same mindset I've tried to have in the recruiting here is the same mindset I've tried to have at Notre Dame in that we were trying to keep the best players in the Midwest home," Tsipis explained.

"Obviously, when you have players like Skylar, who's still there, and Deveraux Peters, even Natalie Novosel, a lot of local Indiana kids -- what we've had, we talked about the same things here.

"One of the things that helps us here is having somebody like a Danni Jackson and Brooke Wilson who did stay home and have them finish up their careers and then be able to say, `Here's my past when I recruited at Notre Dame and here's the class we have coming in," Tsipis said.

"Looking at all the AAU and high school coaches here, I think you would see, the way I've tried to put my staff together, knowing I'm not originally from DC or the East Coast, is to make sure I have that tie-in to assistants who can kind of walk me through the D.C. area.

"And that's a big thing. We've opened every single practice, every workout, every game to the local coaches and then I've tried to be on the campaign trail as much as possible -- whether that's grabbing an appetizer, a lunch, stopping by open gym, just getting out to make sure GW is visible in the area."

Tispis' staff also includes Shay Hayes and Diane Richardson as assistants.

He has one person in the area who has familiarity to his coaching in Novosel, a past ND star who last April was a first-round pick of the WNBA Washington Mystics, though she is now overseas until next spring.

"It helped with her playing -- being tangible to our team right now," Tispis said. "Our team went over (the Verizon Center is nearby) to watch games. It helped in a little ways in that she had an up and down season.

"It wasn't just going to watch seeing someone at another level. She had a chance to meet our players on different occasions. If we can get Skype up and working, I know we can talk to her in Romania. But when she comes back in the spring then we'll have her over here," he said.

"That's something we'll try to do until I have past players here at GW -- that's what I have -- those Notre Dame players. On a day to day to basis, Megan Duffy, who played for me, and Erica Williamson, our kids can go and say, 'Hey, is this really what coach wants? Is this what he's talking about. Is this what it's like all the time?'

"And they can say, `Yeah. This is who he is. His family's going to be there. He really is going to follow it. And when he's off the court, he wants the best thing for you.' And as much as I can say it, to have them say it and having lived through it is even more important."

One thing Tsipis wants is to look ahead and not keep hearing questions about the past. Everything gets a clean slate.

"I wasn't here. I'm only interested in moving forward."

Some rookie coaches are taking over at programs that were successful and some moved up where they have been for years.

But if Tsipis can make the Colonials return to at least respectability playing .500 or better his first time around, then by the time March rolls around and it is time to give awards, it would not be surprised to see a checkmark next to his name adjoined by one word "Elected!"

More From The Carousel

In terms of the rookie-eligibles, 25 of the 43 were assistants or associate head coaches at D-I schools, including 15 such as Tsipis at BCS schools.

Three were three Division II head coaches, one came from Division III, while one came from a junior college top position and another was at a NAIA program.

Considering the lack of expectations of Tennessee, which is starting at an all-tme low at No. 20, not counting the first-ever 1976 ranking in which the Lady Vols were omitted, anything approaching contention in the Southeastern Conference or move toward the Top 10 is likely to make Holly Warlick a frontrunner, though she has spent years as the right arm of coach emiritus Pat Summitt.

One can see sentiment build on the committee. Otherwise, the path will be open to people such as Tsipis if they succeed. Some will probably be written off because they are taking over programs with much in place and in the case of 12 in-house promotions such as Joe Tartamella at St. John's, he would practically have to either lead the Red Storm in the Final Four in New Orleans or advance to the Elite Eight considering the job last season by Barnes Arico that included an upset of Big East rival Connecticut at UConn to end a long run of homecourt dominance by the Huskies.

That feat probably did as much as anything to catch the attention from Michigan, which had been unable to steal Coquese Washington from Penn State.

Washington, a former star for the Irish, held the associate position prior to Tsipis at her alma mater.

Rookie Kevin Cook, who moved up at Winthrop after Marlene Stollings moved to Virginia Commonweath, has a background at the sides of former Kansas coach Marian Washington, a Hall of Famer, and in the WNBA with Van Chancellor, when the former Houston Comets won the first four league titles (1997-2000).

When the Guru recently noticed Cook's "green button," showing active status at 5 a.m. on Facebook, the Guru flashed a message to see if Cook was actually on line.

"Nervous," Cook responded, despite his years of experience. "Getting near my first game."

The Guru wished him well and then jokingly reminded Cook, "Don't forget to bring a bunch of hard candy to toss to the crowd," a pre-game ritual that was practiced by Chancellor.

"Great idea," Cook responded. "I forgot about that."

Mystics Still Mysterious

The WNBA's Washington Mystics, who had the worst overall record in the league last season, but became the odd team out in terms of the lucractive top three picks available to the four lottery teams, may have set a record for twice dropping all their eggs in a basket in a small amout of time only to see them get scrambled.

After the season ended and anticipating a perceived great chance to add either Baylor's Brittney Griner, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, or Notre Dame's Diggins to the squad next season and reverse direction, Washington dismissed coach Trudi Lacey and her staff two days before the lottery.

It looked like a humane move because it would have been unfair for Lacey to learn the Mystics had landed a big fish and then kicked off the pilot house two days later.

But of course, the Mystics executives also were counting on having one of the three collegiate superstars become a magnet for persons who might want either the separate or combined general manager-coaching positions.

The Washington folks were so sure they were about to hit paydirt they hauled most of the notables of their in-house arena crew, video cameras and all, up to Bristol, Conn., and the ESPN studios where the lottery results were broadcast live.

Then the ping pong balls went south on the Mystics, causing such shock as written by ESPN.com's Graham Hayes, that it seemed necessary to build high walls alongthe Patomac River down here to discourage the wrong way to create staff changes.

Now, speaking of shocks, the Guru hears that Washington was coming to the realization that big bad Bill Laimbeer, the scourge of opponents while being the best designer in Motown not working in the auto industry but capable of making the former Detroit Shock roar and rumble, seemed to be a no-brainer to come to DC and revive the Mystics' fortunes.

Well, it is not known if the talks ever got under way, but somewhere in the process Washington slept here once too often because the New York Liberty came along and grabbed the former NBA Detroit Pistons' terror -- how many ND graduates can the Guru have in one post? -- and now the Mystics are back to square one with no one in place to begin scouting candidates for the No. 4 pick as the collegiate season gets under way.

To be continued.

Meanwhile, the Guru is sequestered down here to stop by Maryland's exhibition opener Monday night. The original opener was set for last Wednesday but got cancelled in the wake of recovery from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Special Alert: Look for a major Guru joint announcement Tuesday at 4 p.m. His twitter handle @womhoopsguru will flash when the post is live.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Guru's College Report: The Division I Coaching Change Roll Call As 2012-13 Set To Launch

(Guru's note: This is the companion chart to go with the post above -- a feature on new George Washington coach Jonathan Tspis off Sunday's exhibition win over Wingate.)

(Updated Nov. 4, to catch up on housekeeping reflecting Brett Frank's hire as acting head coach at Mississippi, replacing Adrian Wiggins, who had been hired from Fresno State and then let go in the wake of probable NCAA violations. Unless rules have changed Frank is not eligible for rookie award from WBCA unless he has the formal head coach title.

The previous update reflected having missed late June hire at Jackson State of Surina R. Dixon from high school, but a previous head coach at Md.-Eastern Shore. Previous closeout and update on July 9 reflected the hire of Massachusetts associate head coach Steve Lanpher at NJIT and June 18 hire of Jackson State assistant Elvis Robinson at Mississippi Valley State.

Previously reflected the hires of Jim Davis at Tennessee Tech and Michael Brooks at Bradley.

Division I changes stop at 74, rookies up to 43, and all vacancies are now filled.

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, Massachusetts associate head coach Steve Lanpher hired at NJIT and on June 18 Jackson State assistant Elvis Robinson was hired at Mississippi Valley State.

The previous update had Michael Brooks promoted from assistant at Bradley increasing all rookies to 43 as of this post. Also, 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 update before that reflected the hire of Sue Darling hired at Northen Arizona from assistant at Arizona and previous D-1 head coach at Air Force.

All vacancies since season ended are now filled barring anything to come moving forward and the total stops with 74 D-1 jobs changing hands.

The Wake Forest hire of Jen Hoover completed all 13 BCS openings.

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 per not being a rookie is through the final update here mentioning the hire of Surina R. Dixon at Jackson State from high school but a past head coach at Md.-Eastern Shore.

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 Monday, July 9, 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 Canisius.
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 -- Promoted from 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.
42. Mississippi Valley State -- Elvis Robinson -- Was assistant at Jackson State.
43. NJIT -- Steve Lanpher -- Had been associate head coach at Massachusetts.

Boxscore on rookies -- 24 female 18 male; 1 married couple; 12 in-house promotions; 3 DII HC; 1 DIII HC; 1 NJCAA HC; 1 NAIA HC, 25 were assistants or associate head coaches at D 1 schools, including 15 BCS schools.

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 assoc. 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.

He was subsequently replaced several months later by assistant Brett Frank as acting head coach following disclosure of NCAA rules violations.
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.
22. Jackson State -- Surina R. Dixon -- Fromhigh school but a past coach at D-I Md.-Eastern Shore.

Boxscore -- 11 female, 11 males; 4 BCS Head coach, 13 MM Head coach, 1 D-II Head coach, 3 Asst., 1 high school.

Vacancies (as of November 4, 2012)
All filled.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad