Womhoops Guru

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

Thursday, 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

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