Womhoops Guru

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

Friday, June 28, 2013

Philly Summer League: First-Place Hunter Green Dodges Kelly Green's Upset Bid

By Mel Greenberg
Paced by first-place Hunter Green (4-0), which was involved in the closest game of Thursday night, beating Kelly Green 68--64, the top four teams all won in the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women's Basketball Summer League at Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades in the Willow Grove Industrial Commons complex.

White (3-0) remained a half-game behind as the other unbeaten team by beating Maroon 53-35.

Gold (3-1) and Sky Blue (3-1) stayed tied in third and one game back wtih Gold beating Heather Grey, 68-43, while Sky Blue, the predominate Division II West Chester team, beat Black, the predominate Division II Philadelphia University team 74-49.

In the Sky Blue win, Golden Rams sophomore Brittany Sicinski had the second best individual performance of the season with 26 points, one less than former Division III Swarthmore star Kathryn Stockbower had on opening night for Heather Grey.

Junior Jasmine Clark added 14 points for Sky Blue, while junior Tiffany Johnson had 11 points, and Taylor Bryant, who was a student last semester at Delaware, had nine points.

Black (1-3) got 14 points from junior Victoria Arnao and 13 points from sophomore Mary Newell.

In a game betwween two previously winless teams, Red (1-2), dominated by Division III Scranton players, topped Orange (0-4), dominated by Division II East Stroudsburg players, 66-33, while Royal Blue (1-2) also made it to the win column for the first time with a 63-55 upset of Navy Blue 63-55 in another highlight on Night No. 4 of competition.

Red was paced by Lafayette incoming senior Kelly Loughney's 15 points, while Scranton junior Stephanie Keyes had 14 points, and teammate Emily Holman, a Leopards junior, had 12 points.

East Stroudsburg junior Ryann Fiascki had eight points and recent Division II Bloomsburg grad Danielle Derr had six points.

Royal Blue got 19 points from Emory senior Gabi Whitmer, while Penn junior Kara Bonenberger had 16 points, and her sister Alyssa of Kutztown scored 10 points.

Kelsey Berger, a Saint Joseph's senior, got 16 points for Navy (2-2), while incoming Hawks freshman Geena Gomez scored 15,, and future college teammate Ciara Andrews, a sophomore, scored 10.

In the closest game of the night Kelly Green (2-2), dominated by Division II Holy Family, challenged Hunter Green all the way before the league leaders prevailed down the stretch.

Former Saint Joseph's star and also Hunter Green coach Katie Kuester had 14 points, while Dickinson 2010 grad Brooke Mulller had 13 points, and recent Boston College grad Kerri Shields scored 10 points.

Tigers senior Carolyne Heston had 18 points for Kelly Green, recent grad Erin Mann scored 11, Holy Family senior Maggie Serratelli scored 10, incoming freshman Yasmin Walker scored nine points and so did Division III Delaware Valley Junior Brittany Wood.

The other recaps are down below.

Looking Ahead

When first place Hunter Green (3-0) meets Gold (2-1) in the 8:15 p.m. contest Tuesday on Court 3, former Saint Joseh's star Katie Kuester, in her new dual summer role as also a coach will go against Gold's Ted Hagedorn who she played for on the previous two champions in 2012 and 2011.

There will be no games next Thursday because of the July 4th holiday but the following week games will also be played on Wednesday, July 10, to make up for the lost night.

Here is the entire slate with records for Tuesday's action but no eye to July 4, obviously because games are not scheduled.

Tuesday, July 2

7 p.m.Purple (2-1) vs. Navy (2-2), Court 1
Royal Blue (1-2) vs. Sky Blue (3-1), Court 2
Black (-3) vs. Heather Grey (1-3), Court 3

8:15 p.m. Red (1-2) vs. Maroon (1-3), Court 1
White (3-0) vs. Kelly Green (1-2), Court 2
Hunter Green (4-0) vs. Gold (3-1), Court 3
Bye: Orange

Thursday, July 4

No games due to Independence Day

Thursday Overall Recaps Not Mentioned

Gold 68, Heather Grey 43: Saint Joseph's junior Natasha Cloud kept Gold right behind the leaders with 15 points, a total matched by Bryant sophomore Maureen Leahy, while recent Swarthmore graduate Madeline Ross scored 11 points.

Kathryn Stockbower, the all-time Division II leader for career double doubles, had 16 points for Heather Grey (1-3), while Brianna Robbins, a Division III Haverford junior, and Shannon Smith, also a Fords junior, each scored nine points.

White 53, Maroon 35: The other unbeaten team stayed a half-game out of first as recent Kutztown grad Ashley Wood, the daughter of Team White coach Keith Wood, scored 15 points, and Villanova junior Emily Leer scored 12 points.

Maroon (1-3), dominated by Division II University of the Science of Philadelphia, got 11 points from the Devils' Jessica Sylvester, and six each from USP's Brianne Traub and Camille McPherson.

Purple had the nightly bye to stay idle while Orange gets
Tuesday's bye.

Quick Notes

It was an injury-free night again based on the lack of informaton of such from the commissioner baring someone waking up Friday morning in aches and pains.

This time around the standings are in their natural tiebreaking state. Gold is ahead of Kelly Green on a head-to-head win as is Kelly Green ahead of Navy Blue for similar reasons.

In the next two-way, Royal has a better win than Red since they haven't played head--to-head.

In the three-way Royal Blue goes on top because of a 1-0 in the group while Maroon is next with a better win, followed by Heather Grey.

The running grid is now in proper order to look at tiebreakers for seeding and making the eight-team field.

Also, special thanks to Tom Utescher for providing pictures that will enable this report to switch over to being housed in PhilahoopsW but not just yet.

The Guru will tweet @womhoopsguru when photos have gone in play.


Team, Won-Loss, Pct., GB, Pts., Opp. Points

1-Hunter Green, 4-0, 1.000, ---, 283, 245
2-White, 3-0, 1.000, 0.5, 171, 126
3-Gold, 3-1, .750, 1.0, 223, 192
3-Sky Blue, 3-1, .750, 1.0 , 251, 214
5-Purple, 2-1, .667, 1.5, 163, 154
6-Kelly Green, 2-2, .500, 2.0 , 259, 239
6-Navy Blue, 2-2, .500, 2.0, 210, 233
8-Royal Blue, 1-2, .333, 2.5, 138, 160
8-Red, 1-2, .333, 2.5, 181, 165
10-Maroon, 1-3, .250,, 3.0, 198, 231
10-Black, 1-3, .250, 3.0, 213, 228
10-Heather Grey, 1-3, .250, 3.0 , 209, 230
13-Orange, 0-4, .000, 4.0, 170, 232

Running Grid
This becomes the tracking tie-breaker and seeding guide in a few weeks for the eight-team playoffs, which will begin after the regular season ends July 30.

Hunt. G. vs. Red (W), vs. Orange (W), Maroon (W), vs.. Kelly G (W)
White vs. Red (W), vs. Orange (W), vs. Maroon (W)
Gold vs. Purple (W), vs. N.B. (L), vs. Sky B. (W), vs. Heath. Grey (W)
Sky B. vs. Maroon (W), vs. Kelly G (W), vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (W)
Purple vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (W, OT), vs. R.B (W)
Kelly G. vs. N.B. (W), vs. Sky B, (L), vs. Heath. Grey (W), vs. Hunt G. (L)
N.B. vs. Kelly G. (L), vs. Gold (W), vs. Black (W), vs. R.B. (L)
R.B. vs. Black (L), vs. Purple (L), vs. N.B. (W)
Red vs. Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L), vs. Orange (W)
Maroon vs. Sky B. (L), vs. Heath. Grey (W), vs. Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L)
Black vs. R.B. (W), vs. Purple (L, OT), vs. N.B. (L), vs. Sky B (L)
Heath. Grey vs. Orange (W), vs. Maroon (L), vs. Kelly G. (L), vs. Gold (L)
Orange vs. Heath. Grey (L), vs. Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L), vs. Red (L)

Top Individual Peformances (20 or points)

27 Pts.: Kathryn Stockbower, Heather Grey (W) vs. Orange, June 18
26 Pts.: Brittany Sicinski, Sky Blue (W) vs. Black, June 27
25 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Red, June 18
25 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Orange, June 20
23 Pts.: Katie Kuester, Hunter Green (W) vs. Red, June 18
22 Pts.: Alyssa Bonenberger, Royal, (L) vs. Purple, June 25
20 Pts.: Ciara Andrews, Navy Blue (W) vs. Black, June 25

Till next report

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Philly Summer League: Saint Joseph's Stars Lead Three Different Teams to Wins

By Mel Greenberg

Three Saint Joseph's players factored into being the high scorers for their respective teams in gaining half of the wins on the six-game card Tuesday night in the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women's Basketball League at Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades.

Incoming Hawk senior Erin Shields just missed hitting 20 points or more points for the third time in as many nights but her 19 points aided by 15 from sister Shannon, a sophomore at the University of San Diego, enabbled unbeaten Hunter Green (3-0) to take sole-possession of first place by a half-game over White (2-0) after beating Maroon 79-62.

Jessica Pongonis, an incoming Saint Joseph's freshman, added 1 points to the Hunter Green attack.

Maroon (1-2), dominated by Divisiion II University of the Sciences of Philadelphia players, got 15 points from Brianne Traub, 14 from Jessica Sylvester, and 12 from Isabelle Ross.

Natasha Cloud, a Saint Joseph's junior, scored 16 points to help Gold (2-1) move into a five-way tie for third with the narrowest win of the night -- a 54-53 triumph not knocked Sky Blue (2-1) from the unbeaten column.

Mackenzie Rule, another Saint Joseph's incoming freshman, added eight points while former La Salle Explorer Michelle McCaughren scored seven points.

Sky Blue, dominated by Division II West Chester players, got 13 points from Chikisha Steele-Hook, 11 from Delaware student Taylor Bryant, and 10 from Emily Torrance, a Golden Rams incoming freshman.

Ciara Andrrews, one of two players hitting the 20-point plus milestone Tuesday night, got exactly 20 to lead Navy Blue (2-1) to a 56-51 win over Black (1-2) while Amina Affini, a Lehigh sophomore, added 12 points.

Black, dominated by Division II Philadelphia University, got nine points from Bria Young, and eight each from Alexandra Heck, Jaclyn Panichi, and Monica Schacker.

White, which had an opening night bye last week and has played one less than most teams, kept pace a half-game behind Hunter Green with a 55-39 triumph over Orange (0-3), one of three winless teams heading into Thursday's Night No. 4 of competition.

Jasmine Elum, a 2012 Bethune-Cookman graduate, led the winners, scoring 17 points, while Kutztown recent grad Ashley Wood, the daughter of Team White coach Keith Wood, had eight points, as did Tyshay Britten, who plays in the winter for Manor.

Orange got 14 points from East Stroudsburg junior Ryann Fiascki and 12 from her junior school teammate Helena Gemmell.

The other two games are in the summary below.

Looking Ahead

On Thursday night, at least one of the three remaining winless teams will get to the victory column off the matchup bettween Red (0-2) and Orange (0-3) on Court 1 at 7 p.m.

When first place Hunter Green (3-0) meets Gold (2-1) in the 8:15 p.m. contest on Court 3, former Saint Joseh's star Katie Kuester, in her new dual summer role as also a coach will go against Gold's Ted Hagedorn who she played for on the previous two champions in 2012 and 2011.

There will be no games a week from Thursday because of the July 4th holiday but the following week games will also be played on Wednesday, July 10, to make up for the lost night.

Here is the entire slate with records for Thursday's action also with an eye also to next Tuesday night’s games.

Thursday, June 27

7 p.m. Red (0-2) vs. Orange (0-3), Court 1
White (2-0) vs. Maroon (1-2), Court 2
Hunter Green (3-0) vs. Kelly Green (2-1), Court 3

8:15 p.m.Royal Blue (0-2) vs. Navy Blue (2-1), Court 1
Black (1-2) vs. Sky Blue (2-1), Court 2
Gold (2-1) vs. Heather Grey (1-2), Court 3
Bye: Purple (1-1)

Tuesday, July 2

7 p.m.Purple vs. Navy, Court 1
Royal Blue vs. Sky Blue, Court 2
Black vs. Heather Grey, Court 3

8:15 p.m. Red vs. Maroon, Court 1
White vs. Kelly Green, Court 2
Hunter Green vs. Gold, Court 3
Bye: Orange

Thursday, July 4

No games due to Independence Day

Tuesday Overall Recaps Not Mentioned

Purple 55, Royal Blue 44: Megan Gallagher, a Division III senior at DeSales, goty 12 points to move Purple (2-1) into that five-way tie for third, while Jessica Porter, a Division III Gettysburg College sophomore, got 11 points, and Gettysburg senior Alyssa Isler scored 10 points.

The Bonenberger sisters from Northampton, Pa., did most of the damage for Royal Blue (0-2), still looking for a win, as Alyssa, a Kutztown juior, scored 22 - the first time this season a player had 20 or more points on the losing side -- while Kara, a junior at Penn, scored 13 points.

Kelly Green 64, Heather Grey 59: Carolyne Heston, one of a slew of roster players from Division II Holy Famly, had 11 points for Kelly Green (2-1), junior Mary Ellen McCollum scored 10, and recent Tigers grad Erin Mann scored nine as did Juniata incoming freshman Sarah Sherman.

Heather Grey, which fell to 1-2, got 16 points from Lehigh sophomore Kerry Kinek, one of the top newcomers to the Philly Summer League in 2012, and 10 from former Swarthmore star Kathryn Stockbower, who holds the Division III career record for double doubles.

Red, which is dominated by Division III Scranton players, had the nightly bye. Purple gets the night off Thursday, while Orange will be idle next Tuesday.

Quick Notes

It was an injury-free night based on the lack of informaton of such from the commissioner baring someone waking up Wednesday morning in aches and pains.

For now, the standings are listed by percentages and teams in the deadlock situation are not yet listed in what would be the seed order if the playoffs were approaching at the end of July.

The running grid also is just a list before it is put in proper order to look at tiebreakers for seeding and making the eight-team field.

Also, special thanks to Tom Utescher for providing pictures that will enable this report to switch over to being housed in PhilahoopsW but not just yet.

The Guru will tweet @womhoopsguru when photos have gone in play.


Team, Won-Loss, Pct., GB, Pts., Opp. Points

1-Hunter Green, 3-0, 1.000, ---, 215, 181
2-White, 2-0, 1.000, 0.5, 118, 90
3-Sky Blue, 2-1, .667, 1.0 , 177, 165
3-Navy Blue, 2-1, .667, 1.0, 158, 170
3-Gold, 2-1, .667, 1.0, 155, 152
3-Purple, 2-1, .667, 1.0, 163, 154
3-Kelly Green, 2-1, .667, 1.0 , 195, 171
8-Black, 1-2, .333, 2.0, 164, 154
8-Heather Grey, 1-2, .333, 2.0 , 166, 162
8-Maroon, 1-2, .333, 2.0, 163, 178
11-Royal Blue, 0-2, .000, 2.5, 75, 105
11-Red, 0-2, .000, 2.5, 115, 132
13-Orange, 0-3, .000, 3.0, 136, 186

Running Grid
This becomes the tracking tie-breaker and seeding guide in a few weeks for the eight-team playoffs, which will begin after the regular season ends July 30.

Hunt. G. vs. Red (W), vs. Orange (W), Maroon (W)
White vs. Red (W), vs. Orange (W)
Gold vs. Purple (W), vs. N.B. (L), vs. Sky B. (W)
Purple vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (W, OT), vs. R.B (W)
Sky B. vs. Maroon (W), vs. Kelly G (W), vs. Gold (L)
N.B. vs. Kelly G. (L), vs. Gold (W), vs. Black (W)
Kelly G. vs. N.B. (W), vs. Sky B, (L), vs. Heath. Grey (W)
Black vs. R.B. (W), vs. Purple (L, OT), vs. N.B. (L)
Heath. Grey vs. Orange (W), vs. Maroon (L), vs. Kelly G. (L)
Maroon vs. Sky B. (L), vs. Heath. Grey (W), vs. Hunt G. (L)
R.B. vs. Black (L), vs. Purple (L)
Red vs. Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L)
Orange vs. Heath. Grey (L), vs. Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L)

Top Individual Peformances (20 or points)

27 Pts.: Kathryn Stockbower, Heather Grey (W) vs. Orange, June 18
25 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Red, June 18
25 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Orange, June 20
23 Pts.: Katie Kuester, Hunter Green (W) vs. Red, June 18
22 Pts.: Alyssa Bonenberger, Royal, (L) vs. Purple, June 25
20 Pts.: Ciara Andrews, Navy Blue (W) vs. Black, June 25

Till next report

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Some Guru's Musings on Val Ackerman's NCAA White Paper

(Guru's note: Over in http:philahoopsw.com, the link to PhilahoopsW, staffer Ari Bluestein has a story on a couple of recruits coming aboard to Drexel, the reigning WNIT champions.

By Mel Greenberg

So finally having had a little time to start dipping into founding WNBA comissioner (and maybe future Big East commissioner) Val Ackerman's white paper for the NCAA on women's basketball, the Guru can begin with some reaction.

Since he hasn't gone through all of it yet, he will just use his musings column such as this one to make comments from time to time or sooner depending on how quickly recommendations are being implemented.

But some caveats: The Guru and Val go way back in time and she has always been one offering great support in his endeavors and the NCAA choice of her to do the research and findings is well deserved.

So consider all these things to come as just observations from the Guru's perspective and not meant to take issue with her comprehensive work.

It will be quite interesting this week to see what comes out of the NCAA women's basketball committee's meeting in Nashville considering it already had a full plate of issues caused by conference shifts, notably the Big East implosion, before Ackerman's report was released last week.

For example, did you know if the committee wanted to do so, it could slot the new-look Big East as one of the Mideast geographical conferences in terms of organizing tracking structure for the 2014 tournament.

The new Big East now has five Atlantic seaboard teams -- St. John's, Villanova, Georgetown, Providence and Seton Hall. And it has five Mideast members: DePaul, Marquette, Butler, Creighton, and Xavier.

On the other hand, though The American (aka American Athletic Conference) has just Temple, Connecticut and, for one year, Rutgers, as seaboard teams, it likely will be an Eastern-based conference.

Also, take note that work has to be done on the notorious principles and procedures though the committee may keep things in place and see how it all plays out on the first go-round.

But consider this -- the veteran new Big East teams making the tournament do not have to be kept apart from such AAC people as Connecticut, and, for one year, Rutgers and Louisville, in earlier rounds because they are no longer in the same group.

Likewise for either side in terms of Syracuse and Notre Dame, which are about to begin life in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Similar issues exist in Conference USA, the Sun Belt, Mountain West, and Western Athletic Conference, although the total number of teams from the group who make the field have been far less than the Easterners in recent years.

Now moving on to the one of the suggestions made by Ackerman that the schedule should be housed in one semester beginning in early December.

Coincidentally, this has beeen a Guru subtle thought for some time from the days he did the national schedule for the Associated Press -- not create the games but to list the calendar -- and saw certain nuances.

This is as much as problem as to the sport itself as it is getting buried at the outset by attention to college football, the baseball postseason, and the stretch drive toward the Super Bowl in the NFL.

Basically, in October, momentum begins to build at conference media days -- and Val didn't address this but given the scant national media survivors who can still get around it would be nice to avoid conflicts with major draws occuring the same day.

Then we go into the preseason outlooks and they almost have to begin earlier than in the past years because the front end of the schedule occurs earlier with the likes of the preseason WNIT and other events.

Last year the AP preseason women's poll had an October date attached for the first time instead of mid-November, which occurred until recent times.

Then heading through Thanksgiving we have the openers and excitment generated in the traditional hotbeds -- in the old days there were a zillion tournaments the first few weekends.

There are some glamour matchups generated by such events as the annual Jimmy V game propelled by ESPN.

So just when we have takent off and are airborne through all that -- BAM -- it all comes to a virtual dead stop as the schedule hits a lull anwhere from seven-12 plus days as players hit the books for finals.

Then a few smathering of games, much of little consequence but to stay loose, heading into another break where virtually everything shuts down from Christmas Eve through the next four days.

So, in essence it all starts over again from that point and then careens right into the start of conference play, the real nitty gritty time, as the New Year arrives.

Starting later and just keep going might create a bigger force all the way to whateverf Madness will be attached to in the future.

The Guru is not in favor of front-ending in the other direction and then using quiet February for the tournament.

What has been nice about quiet February is that is time to build to the storylines that will highlight March and the first few weeks of April.

Otherwise, you'd be coming out of a virtual cave if the tournament began in February because the general public would have no idea who these teams are and what they have been doing to pick up the pace.

So that's what the Guru says about that portion of the white paper.

Ackerman talked about attendance in the tournament in early rounds and the variances but in doing the whole look from the beginning of the NCAA womern in 1982 the tournament started in smaller size and through the years the early rounds had different structures.

ESPN Championship Ratings Decline

So it was interesting that there never was a release from the big sports network after the Women's Final Four like their usually is and the answer lies in a statistic on page 10 of the White Paper.

The Connecticut-Louisville matchup won by UConn had a 2.36, which was the lowest number since those one-time Big East rivals played in 2009 and drew a 2.09.

So maybe UConn's Geno Auriemma and Louisville's Jeff Walz might get better results if both worked in the kitchen of Geno's restaurants.

The list went back to 2004, the final of the three Diana Taurasi/UConn run of titles when the Huskies met Tennessee and drew the all-time high in the span at 4.28.

Tennessee-Stanford drew a 2.98 in 2008 so given that Tennessee-Rutgers drew a lowly 2.30, which, unfortunately for subsequent events included Don Imus as a brief watcher, last April's title game was the third lowest in the past decade's worth of years.

And that brings a question as to something the Guru thought might appear as a concept for discussion -- re--seeding the Final Four.

Numbers for the semifinals weren't available but if UConn and Notre Dame in reaching the Final Four in New Orleans in the wake of Louisville taking down Baylor had been re-seeded as is done in the NFL and hockey through their progressions, since many thought that was the "real" championship, might the number had been bigger?

Other things not brought up in the white paper but certainly have interest is how teams get picked for the tournament in the at-large group, considering the impact on current RPI determinants about to happen through the conference re-shuffle.

Championship Site and Growth and the White Paper

Ackerman says an experiment should occur in putting the men and women in the same city.

That was tried in proximity in 1989 when the Final Four was held in Tacoma held just down the road -- and a busy one at that when Boeing workshifts end -- from Seattle.

The women got buried in coverage and we said let's not do that again.

But the Guru has come around on that because the huge decline of papers that no longer send their reporters if a local team is not involved or the location is too expense to travel -- though expensive in some newspapers involve punching a train ticket or buying two tanks of gas.

People covering the men's tournament might to some degree cover some of the women's tournament but as Val says, let's try it and see what we get.

Also, Val lists different stages of growth but left out when the tournament jumped from 48 to 64 teams, which, at that point gave every conference an automatic qualifier and thus began to fuel some more grass roots interest since their conference championships now had some meaning for the postseason.

Quick Hits

Speaking of conference media days as mentioned far above, the Guru hears that now that The American has settled on the Mohegan Sun for its women's tournament, it may give the schools and media and early taste -- pun intended -- by holding its first media day at Mohegan in the fall.

Summer League night number three is Tuesday with coverage here by sunrise Wednesday. Only three teams out of the 13 are quickly the only ones left among the unbeaten but none will play each other at the Bolish Gym in Hatboro, Pa., near the Pennslvania Turnpike Route 611 Willow Grove exit.

OK, that's it till the next blog.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 24, 2013

WNBA Report: Loose Play Sends New York to Narrow Loss

By Mel Greenberg

The tightrope the New York Liberty had been walking in several home games here at The Prudential Center snapped the wrong way Sunday afternoon in overtime as second-year pro Shenise Johnson’s shot with 36.1 seconds remaining produced the decisive point in a 78-77 cross-divisional win by the San Antonio Silver Stars.

This is one of those games that will add to the list later in the season, perhaps for both teams, depending how they fare in their respective Eastern and Western Conference races.

New York (4-3) still had opportunities to pull out the win before launching a 10-day, four-game road trip but veteran Katie Smith missed a pair of threes.

For the crowd of 6,123 fans, many of whom also came to see all-time Liberty and Rutgers great Sue Wicks honored for her recent induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., this was definitely one that got away from New York.

There was another rough start with San Antonio (3-5) taking a 13-point lead in the first quarter and then there was once again the matter of turnovers with New York coughing up 23 miscues to 11 by the Silver Stars and the visitors capitalized with a 29-9 differential.

“We came out like we were going to win the basketball game just by showing up and it looked like it,” Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said. “That was unfortunate and it had nothing to do with the (nine-day) layoff. We just didn’t show in the first quarter.”

As for the sloppy ball handling, the veteran coach back in the league since leaving the three-time champion former Detroit Shock in 2009, observed,”I was telling the players that I take all responsibility because I have not been able to instill in them about taking care of the basketball.

“We just started throwing the ball all over the gym,” Laimbeer said. “You can hear it in the fans’ voice, some of the passes we were just fingering the ball to get rid of it. We were just batting the ball around the gym. It was painful to watch. We need more conditioning.”

Both squads are among the many in the league beset by injuries with New York recently losing former Rutgers all-American Essence Carson to a left knee injury while San Antonio was missing former Stanford star Jayne Appel to a concussion, Sophia Young, the former Baylor great lost for the year with a torn right ACL, and former New York star Becky Hammon still out until next month with an injuried right middle finger.

Former Oklahoma star Danielle Robinson had 18 points for the Texans, while Danielle Adams, the most outstanding player on the 2011 Texas A&M NCAA champions, had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

“We wanted to get Danielle (Adams) more shots so we’re happy with the 16 she had – that was about right,” Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said.

DeLisha Milton-Jones, who may be the longest-serving player in the league next season after Seattle’s Tina Thompson and New York’s Smith depart, had 15 points, while Jia Perkins scored 12.

Former Rutgers great Cappie Pondexter had her first double double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Liberty. Plenette Pierson had 18 points, and Leilani Mitchell had 11 points off the bench.

Recently-acquired Avery Warley had six points and six rebounds.

“I thought she did exactly what she was brought in to do, rebounds, play defense, work very hard, run the floor,” Laimbeer said. “I probably should have found more time for her in the second half but she is still learning our stuff.”

New York heads to Chicago for a Wednesday night matinee game and then makes its Western swing to Seattle, Phoenix and Los Angeles.

But unless the Connecticut Sun and defending champion Indiana Fever overcome their injuries and turn things around, New York may not lose ground if the Liberty get wiped out on the trip, though stealing a few wins could solidify their spots in the standings above the playoff cuts.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 21, 2013

Philly Summer League: Saint Joe's Shields Tallies 25 Again for Hunter Green

By Mel Greenberg

After gaining most improved honors last winter from both the Atlantic 10 Conference and Philadelphia Big 5, Saint Joseph's incoming senior Erin Shields, a graduate of Archbishop Carroll, is off to a roaring start this summer.

Shields, who is playing with sisters Kerri, a recent graduate of Boston College, and Shannon, a sophomore at the University of San Diego, again blasted the nets for 25 points to lead Hunter Green to a 67-56 win over Orange in the second night of action Thursday in the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women's Basketball Summer League at Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades in Willow Grove Business Park.

Brooke Muller, a 2010 graduate of Division III Dickinson College, added 14 points as the league quickly got down to just three unbeaten teams while three others have yet to win and the other seven in the 13-team competition are all even at 1-1.

Shields on Thursday was the only player to hit the breakout 20 or more points individual citations listed down below.

Ryann Fiascki, a junior at East Stroudsburg, scored 11 points for Orange (0-2), while Lauren Gold, a freshman at Shippensburg, scored nine.

White (1-0), which had the nightly bye in Tuesday's openers, got off to a winning start with a 63-52 win over Red (0-2) as Catherine Carr, a 2011 graduate of Division II power Holy Family, scored 17 points and Jasmine Elum, a 2012 grad of Bethune-Cookman, scored 12 for the squad coached by Keith Wood.

Junior Stephanie Keys, on the Red squad dominated by her Division III Scranton teammates, had 10 points, while Scranton sophomore Jaclyn Glantz scored eight points.

Sky Blue, dominated by Division II West Chester, won a narrrow 68-65 win over Kelly Green (1-1) to become the third unbeaten team, tying Hunter Green at 2-0, as Taylor Bryant, who was enrolled at Delaware last year but did not play with the Blue Hens, scored 17 points.

Brittany Sicinski, a sophomore for the Golden Rams, and Chikisha Steele-Hook, also a sophomore for WC, each scored 14 points, and Kendall Benovy, a Golden Rams junior, added 11 points.

Brittany Wood, a junior at Division III Delaware Vallley, had 16 points for Kelly Green, and Mary Ellen McCollum, a junior at Holy Family, had 11 points.

The most contested of several of the six games, saw Purple (1-1) break into the win column with a 67-63 win over Team Black (1-1) in overtime as Megan Gallagher, a senior at Division III DeSales, scored 13 points, while Division III Dowling junior Christine Verrelle scored 12, and Division III Gettysburg College sophomore Jessica Porter, scored 11.

Team Black, dominated by Division II Philadelphia University, got 14 points from Rams senior Samantha Morris, 11 from recent grad Megan Finn, and 10 from junior Bria Young.

The other two games are listed in the recaps down below.

Looking Ahead

On Tuesday night, the three unbeaten teams could keep their opening win streaks alive alive when Sky Blue (2-0) plays Gold (1-1) on Court 3 in the 7 p.m. game, while White (1-0) meets Orange on Court 1 and Hunter Green (2-0) meets Maroon (1-1) on Court 2 in the 8:15 p.m. games.

Here is the entire slate with records for Tuesday action also with an eye also to next Thursday night’s games.

Tuesday, June 25

7 p.m. Royal (0-1) vs. Purple (1-1), Court 1
Navy (1-1) vs. Black (1-1), Court 2
Gold (1-1) vs. Sky Blue, (2-0) Court 3

8:15 p.m. White (1-0) vs. Orange (0-2), Court 1
Hunter Green (2-0) vs. Maroon (1-1), Court 2
Heather Grey (1-1) vs. Kelly Green (1-1), Court 3
Bye: Team Red (0-2)

Thursday, June 27

7 p.m. Red vs. Orange, Court 1
White vs. Maroon, Court 2
Hunter Green vs. Kelly Green, Court 3

8:15 p.m.Royal Blue vs. Navy Blue, Court 1
Black vs. Sky Blue, Court 2
Gold vs. Heather Grey, Court 3
Bye: Purple (1-1)

Thursday Overall Recaps Not Mentioned

Navy Blue 58, Gold 54: Lindsay Hoskins, a Lehigh senior, got her squad into the winners column (1-1), with 16 points, while Daphne Ginn, a Stevens Tech freshman, used five 3-pointers to account for all 15 of her total, and Kelsey Berger, a Saint Joseph's senior, scored 13.

Maureen Leahy, a sophomore at Bryant, had 17 points as Gold fell to 1-1, while Mackenzie Rule, a Saint Joseph's freshman, and Eliza Polli, a recent graduate of Division III Swarthmore, each scored eight points.

Gold coach Ted Hagedorn had guided another squad he had last summer to an unbeaten title in the league and also was the championship coach in 2011.

Maroon 55, Heather Grey 43: The winners, dominated by Division II University of the Sciences of Philadelphia, quickly got to .500 while Heather Grey's first loss dropped them to a similar record.

Brianne Traub, who is on a five-year program targeting 2017 graduation for the Devils, scored 11 points for the winners, and Amber Reiley, a sophomore at USP, scored seven points.

Lehigh sophomore Kerry Kinek had 11 points for Heather Grey, while Division III Haverford junior Pallavi Juneja scored eight points, and Fords senior Hope Rainey scored seven points.

Injury Report

The season was only minutes old on Tuesday night when Lehigh junior Liz Sharlow of Team Purple took an elbow and went to for medical help to receive a few stitches in her lip.

According to the commissioner, David Kesssler, now in his 20th year at the summer helm, she is ok and will be back in action next week.

Philadelphia University sophomore Mary Newell of Team Black suffered a sprained left shoulder Tuesday but is also ok.


Team, Won-Loss, Pct., GB, Pts., Opp. Points

1-Hunter Green, 2-0, 1.000, ---, 136, 119
1-Sky Blue, 2-0, 1.000, --- , 124,111
3-White, 1-0, 1.000, 0.5, 63, 52
4-Black, 1-1, .500, 1.0, 113, 98
4-Kelly Green, 1-1, .500, 1.0 , 130, 112
4-Gold, 1-1, .500, 1.0, 101, 99
4-Heather Grey, 1-1, .500, 1.0 , 107, 97
4-Navy Blue, 1-1, .500, 1.0, 102, 119
4-Maroon, 1-1, ..500, 1.0, 101, 99
4-Purple, 1-1, .500, 1.0, 108, 110
11-Royal Blue, 0-1, .000, 1.5, 31, 50
11-Red, 0-2, .000, 2.0, 126, 121
13-Orange, 0-2, .000, 2.0, 98, 131

Running Grid
This becomes the tracking tie-breaker and seeding guide in a few weeks for the eight-team playoffs, which will begin after the regular season ends July 30.

Black vs. R.B. (W), vs. Purple (L, OT)
Hunt. G. vs. Red (W), vs. Orange (W)
Kelly G. vs. N.B. (W), vs. Sky B, (L)
Sky B. vs. Maroon (W), vs. Kelly G (W)
Gold vs. Purple (W), vs. N.B. (L)
Heath. Grey vs. Orange (W), vs. Maroon (L)
R.B. vs. Black (L)
Red vs. Hunt G. (L), vs. White (L)
N.B. vs. Kelly G. (L), vs. Gold (W)
Maroon vs. Sky B. (L), vs. Heath. Grey (W)
Purple vs. Gold (L), vs. Black (W, OT)
Orange vs. Heath. Grey (L), vs. Hunt G. (L)
White vs. Red (W)

Top Individual Peformances (20 or points)

27 Pts.: Kathryn Stockbower, Heather Grey (W) vs. Orange, June 18
25 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Red, June 18
25 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Orange, June 20
23 Pts.: Katie Kuester, Hunter Green (W) vs. Red, June 18

Till next report

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Philly Summer League: Erin Shields and Katie Kuester Power Hunter Green to Opening Win

By Mel Greenberg

HATBORO, Pa. – Players with present and past Saint Joseph’s affiliations got off to a powerful start in a competitive game Tuesday night as Hawks incoming senior Erin Shields and her former teammate Katie Kuester combined for 48 points to lead Hunter Green to a 69-63 win over Red in opening night action in the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women’s Summer Basketball League at Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades.

Kuester, a 2012 Saint Joe’s graduate who is also in a new role as coach of her summer squad, had 23 points, two less than Shields, with her scoring on the strength of seven three-pointers.

Hunter pulled away near the end over Red, which is made up primarily of Division III Scranton players, but was led by the Lafayette duo of Emily Homan, who scored 18 points, and Kelly Loughney, who scored 12.

Twelve of the 13 teams saw action with White receiving the first of the nightly byes through the summer action on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the regular season ending on July 30 before three rounds of playoffs will decide this 2013 champion. Eight squads make the playoffs.

Shields, one of three sisters who are graduates of Archbishop Carroll, is joined on Hunter Green by the other two – recent Boston College graduate Kerri and incoming University of San Diego sophomore Shannon.

As a note for coverage, which will be here when photos are not available and over at his PhilahoopsW local blog when they are, active players being referenced by class designation will be associated with their 2013-14 status when they return to campus in the fall.

The entire summer rosters and league schedule is over at Philahoopsw.com and just click on the headline for each since there are no photos supporting either file.

Your Guru will always tweet where summer league coverage is on a specific day after it is posted so you can follow his handle at @womhoopsguru to use the link.

The other big scoring explosion of Tuesday night was registered by former Swarthmore star Kathryn Stockbower, who had the overall high with 27 points in leading Heather Grey to a 64-42 win over Orange. Kerry Kinek, incoming sophomore for Lehigh, added 14 points.

Stockbower, who graduated the Garnet several seasons ago, holds the Division III record for career double doubles.

Orange, composed predominantly of players from Division II East Stroudsburg, got 10 points from incoming sophomore Melissa Poderis and nine from incoming junior Ryann Fiascki.

Players who arrived for the start of two months of competition seemed to be happy to be on the court again after a break from their winter action and also to be back in the league, which began competition in 1994.

Commissioner David Kessler, beginning his 20th season, was greeted by everyone as they came over to receive their jersey for the games.

The start of play had its usual kinks to work out – one team almost forfeited for lack of five players for the 7 p.m. start time but the fifth arrived within the 15-minute grace period.

None such compassion is given for the second games that start at 8:15 p.m. Each night of action features doubleheaders on each of three courts.

“You run into the usual situations the first week causing players to miss games – the graduating high school players who are celebrating their respective Senior Weeks, some are taking summer school classes, and some are traveling abroad,” Kessler said.

“Also, Lehigh’s junior Sarah Williams had to drop out of the competition because of recent knee surgery.”

Kessler, himself, is beginning his second decade suffering the effects of the ravages of time with a left hip problem.

He expressed cautious optimism following a steroid shot injected into the hip several hours before the opener.

“Doc said it would take 3-4 days to really alleviate the pain, but I’m already feeling somewhat better,” Kessler said. “But it’s really just buying time – the hip definitely has to go.”

Incidentally, all league questions that Kessler is in best position to answer can be sent to him via his deucedbk@comcast.net email address.

The gym is at the end of Willow Grove Business Park, right off Davisville Road, South of the intersection with Byberry Road and near the Route 611 exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which runs alongside the road leading to the courts.

There is a snack bar with an assortment of items, reasonably priced.

In the other four openers, whose summaries are listed below, Team Black, composed entirely of Division II Philadelphia University, beat Royal Blue, composed of a variety of player backgrounds, 50-31.

Take note that in referencing some USP players as future 2017 graduates, those are not freshmen but that is their target date as part of work and study programs.

Kelly Green, dominated by Division II Holy Family players, took an easy 65-55 win over Navy Blue, which is another squad with players from mixed divisions.

Sky Blue, composed of all but two players from Division II West Chester, grabbed a 56-46 win over Maroon, which has all but two players from Division II University of the Sciences of Philadelphia (USP), which in the winter competes with Holy Family and Philadelphia University in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.

In the other result, not already mentioned, Gold, also with a mix of player backgrounds, edged Purple, 47-41.

The Gold squad is coached by Ted Hagedorn, whose previous two other teamstook summer titles in 2011 and 2012. His daughter Elle, a recent graduate of Harvard, is on the team.

Division II and Division III collegiate teammates are allowed to play together, under NCAA sanctioning rules, but only two active Division I players from a specific school are allowed similar privileges.

However, exceptions are made for incoming freshmen and transfer students yet to enroll as well as graduates with the same affilations.

All recaps in these reports this summer are the result of the Guru turning coverage from the raw scoring highlights provided by the commissioner added to the Guru’s only knowledge enhanced by the rosters.

Some days the Guru will file from afar on conflict nights when he is at a WNBA game, but the effort will be made to have the report alive when daylight strikes.

He apologizes in advance for any errors of any kind and will tweet corrections and then edit the amendments when made aware.

Looking Ahead

On Thursday night, the idle White Team from Tuesday, coached by Keith Wood and featuring Villanova junior Emily Leer and her Wildcats teammate sophomore Caroline Coyer, meets Red on Court 1.

Here is the entire slate with records for Thursday action with an eye also to next Tuesday night’s games.

Thursday, June 20

7 p.m. White (0-0) vs. Red (0-1), Court 1

Hunter Green (1-0) vs. Orange (0-1), Court 2

Heather Grey (1-0) vs. Maroon (0-1), Court 3

8:15 p.m. Black (1-0) vs. Purple (0-1), Court 1

Gold (1-0) vs. Navy (0-1), Court 2

Kelly Green (1-0) vs. Sky Blue (1-0), Court 3

Bye: Royal Blue

 Tuesday, June 25

7 p.m. Royal vs. Purple, Court 1

Navy vs. Black, Court 2

Gold vs. Sky Blue, Court 3

8:15 p.m. White vs. Orange, Court 1

Hunter Green vs. Maroon, Court 2

Heather Grey vs. Kelly Green, Court 3

Bye: Team Red

Tuesday Overall Recaps Not Mentioned

Team Black (Philadelphia U.) 50, Royal Blue 31: Junior Monica Schacker led the winners with 14 points, while senior Samantha Morris scored nine points.

Alyssa Bonenberger, a Division II Kutztown senior from Northampton, Pa., had 16 points for Royal Blue, while her sister Penn junior Kara Bonenberger,one of the Quakers’ top stars, had scored five.

Kelly Green (Holy Family) 65, Navy Blue, 44: Tigers senior Maggie Serratelli scored 16 points and recent teammate grad Erin Mann had 11 for the winners.

Navy Blue’s Lindsay Hoskins, a Lehigh senior, had 13 points, as did Stevens Tech senior Molly Spadaro. Kelsey Berger, a Saint Joseph’s senior, scored 10. 

Sky Blue (West Chester) 56, Maroon (USP) 46: Golden Rams sophomore Chikisha Steele-Hook had 17 points and her WC sophomore teammate Brittany Sicinski scored 15 points for Sky Blue.

Devils future 2017 grad Brianne Traub had 12 points for Maroon, sophomore Amber Reiley scored seven points, and future 2017 grad Jessica Sylvester scored six.

Gold 47, Purple 41: Maureen Leahy, a junior at Bryant in Rhode Island, led the winners, scoring 15 points, while incoming Saint Joseph’s freshman Mackenzie Rule scored six points, as did Hawks junior and Cardinal O’Hara grad Natasha Cloud.

Lexi Scrivano, a sophomore at Division II Millersville, scored 10 points for Purple; Aubrey Howland, a sophomore at Division III Mary Washington, scored seven points, while sophomore Rianna Doane of Division III Gettysburg College and junior Christine Verrelle of Division II Dowling College each scored six points.


Team, Won-Loss, Pct., GB, Pts., Opp. Points/i>

Black, 1-0, 1.000, ---, 50, 31

Hunter Green, 1-0, 1.000, ---, 69, 63

Kelly Green, 1-0, 1.000, --- , 65, 44

Sky Blue, 1-0, 1.000, --- , 56,46

Gold, 1-0, 1.000, --- , 47, 41

Heather Grey, 1-0, 1.000, --- , 64, 42

White, 0-0, .000, 0.5, 00, 00

Royal Blue, 0-1, .000, 1, 31, 50

Red, 0-1, .000, 1, 63, 69

Navy Blue, 0-1, .000, 1, 44, 65

Maroon, 0-1, .000, 1, 46, 56

Purple, 0-1, .000, 1, 41, 47

Orange, 0-1, .000, 1, 42, 64

 Running Grid

Black vs. R.B. (W)

Hunt. G. vs. Red (W)

Kelly G. vs. N.B. (W)

Sky B. vs. Maroon (W)

Gold vs. Purple (W)

Heath. Grey vs. Orange (W)

R.B. vs. Black (L)

Red vs. Hunt G. (L)

N.B. vs. Kelly G. (L)

Maroon vs. Sky B. (L)

Purple vs. Gold (L)

Orange vs. Heath. Grey (L)

White is 0-0.

Top Individual Peformances (20 or points)

27 Pts.: Kathryn Stockbower, Heather Grey (W) vs. Orange, June 18

25 Pts.: Erin Shields, Hunter Green (W) vs. Red, June 18

23 Pts.: Katie Kuester, Hunter Green (W) vs. Red, June 18


Till next report


-- Mel  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guru Report: Villanova Incoming Frosh Quinn Gains All-Star MVP Honors: Summer League Opens Tuesday Night

By Mel Greenberg

HAVERFORD -- The two-months long Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women’s Summer Basketball League tips off Tuesday night with six games and continues on Thursday at the Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades in Willow Grove Business Park in Hatboro, Pa.

The closest intersection is Byberry And Davisville Roads with the entrance to the business park off Davisville alongside the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Meanwhile the Guru on Monday night dropped by the inaugural Philly USA Basketball Girls All City Classic high school doubleheader at Haverford School in which the sophomores and freshmen played the opener followed by the juniors and seniors.

Stats were immediately available but for the basics in the game involving the younger stars the City Team beat the Suburban Team 53-42 with Ursuline Academy (Wilmington, Del.) sophomore Adrianna Hahn named MVP of the suburban team while Neumann Goretti sophomore Siani Martin being named MVP of the City Team.

The game, incidentally, was well attended based on the crowd the Guru observed seated on the one side with the bleachers down.

In the nightgap, the Suburbans got even with a 57-52 victory as incoming Villanova freshman Meghan Quinn, the Gatorade Pennsylvania state player of the year out of Episcopal Academy took MVP honors.

Wilson Area junior Avery Marz on the suburban team took the overall Unselfish player honors.

Cardinal O’Hara junior Aminah Farmer took MVP honors on the City squad while Girard College junior Gmirice Davis on the city squad took the overall award as best defensive player.

Seniors with their future collegiate choices who played in the game besides Quinn were O’Hara’s Shanice Johnson heading for Delaware replacing one of the seven graduated Blue Hens senior – not necessarily WNBA rookie Elena Delle Donne – while Villa Maria Academy’s Lisa Mirarchi is bound for Lehigh and the Academy of Notre Dame duo of Megan McGurk will enroll at Bucknell and Kathleen Fitzpatrick is heading to Saint Joseph’s.

Additionally, Shipley junior Tamesha “Sox” Alexander has already declared for St. John’s on Long Island.

Fitzpatrick will also play in the summer league on Team Hunter Green with the Shields three-sister combo of Shannon (San Diego State ’16), recent Boston College grad Kerri and incoming Saint Joseph’s senior Erin as well as past Hawks and summer league star Katie Kuester.

Hunter Green will play in the Court 1 nightcap at 8:15 p.m. against Team Red, which is featuring a slew of Scranton players and also includes the Lafayette duo of incoming senior Emily Homan and incoming junior Kelly Loughney,

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Guru's WNBA Report: Pondexter Gives New York Liberty Another Comeback Win

By Mel Greenberg

A year ago the New York Liberty got off to a dreadful start and in the end slipped into the playoffs mostly due to the Chicago Sky going on a deep slide after former Rutgers star Epiphanny Prince got injured.

Of course, many will say the loser in the race for the final postseason spot may ultimately have been the winner with Chicago landing former Delaware star Elena Delle Donne as the number two overall pick in April’s draft and her play to date propels the Sky into Sunday’s first-place Eastern Conference showdown for the moment when Chicago visits the Atlanta Dream.

Overall, the Eastern crowd is suffering their share of injuries, not that the Western Conference is in perfect health, and on Friday night New York again used a strong finish in another battle of walking wounded to rally from an 11-point deficit in the second half to defeat the defending conference regular-season defending champion Connecticut Sun here at the Prudential Center 78-68.

A week ago New York was struck with a key injury when one of the Liberty’s Rutgers alumnae was lost for the season with the torn ACL suffered by Essence Carson in Atlanta.

But on Sunday the Liberty powered past Atlanta at the finish in a rematch two days later here and with Friday’s rally and two overtime escapes in the building earlier against Tulsa and Indiana New York under new coach Bill Laimbeer finds itself at 4-2.

“The Liberty looked like a team that really got after it in the second half,” new Connecticut coach Anne Donovan said after the Sun fell to 2-4 with a loss to the team she coached several seasons ago. “They had 54 points in the second half. They were just hungry.

“I don’t think we displayed the same kind of intensity. Especially on the road, you got to have that. It doesn’t matter how you’re playing offensively and how you might be struggling you still have to scratch and pull.”

New York is not done in the departed player department with Laimbeer announcing after the game that former All-Star Cheryl Ford, who helped lead his former Detroit Shock to three WNBA crowns, was going to be let go because her knees just won’t allow her to play at what is needed to compete in the league.

Connecticut has been going without reigning sixth-player of the year in former UConn star Renee Montgomery and Tan White, who recently suffered a broken finger.

The short-handed squad won on the road Wednesday against the battered Indiana Fever, the defending WNBA champs, who were honored Friday afternoon at a White House reception hosted by President Obama.

The Sun recently made some quick roster pickups in gaining Iziane Castro Marques and Sydney Carter, though Carter, a member of the 2010 Texas A&M NCAA champions, did not play and Marques saw only five minutes of action.

The travel and compacted schedule, which continues Sunday when Donovan plays another team she coached in the Seattle Storm, who visit Mohegan, has not allowed her to work Marques into the rotation at practice because practice time has been close to nil until next week.

“We needed some practice time to get Izzie into a rotation and to see how she might be able to help us so we were playing a lot of minutes with Kara [Lawson], Alli [Allison Hightower] and Kalana [Greene],” Donovan said.

“(First round draft pick) Kelly [Faris] stepped up and gave us some good minutes but we need to get Izzie into that rotation as well. So we need some practice time to be honest and we get that after Seattle. And I’ll feel better probably at that point to know exactly what we got. “

What she didn’t have was another stellar performance from Tina Charles, the reigning league MVP, who was limited to just under 26 minutes because of foul trouble and had seven points and four rebounds.

What Laimbeer had was a strong surge by former Rutgers All-American Cappie Pondexter, who didn’t get her first points until just before halftime and then had 18 of her overall 20 the rest of the way.

“When Cappie gets on a roll, you’re in trouble,” Donovan said. “We had Kalana [Greene] on her for a long stretch. Then we tried Kelly on her and Ally [Allison Hightower] on her. It’s tough, she’s a tough one to guard no doubt she’s one of the best one on ones in the league. “

The Chicago native said paybacks were in the minds of herself and teammates after the way the Sun had dominated them into last month's season opener in Connecticut.

"Connecticut and New York, it's a rival game," Pondexter said. "They're two hours away. We know every game here in our conference is going to be tough.

"It's important, number one, to win at home, and number two, win our conference games. For us, we felt like we owe them, especially after we lost our season opener there. It's an important win for us."

The Liberty also had a strong performance off the bench with guard Leilani Mitchell getting 16 points, including key arc shooting making 4-o-5 three-pointers, and a career-high nine rebounds.

“Leliani did a great job,” Donovan noted. “She’s that player if you leave her open she’s going to make you pay. In our rotation, we were so concerned with Cappie or Katie [Smith] there was Lei getting open looks. “

When Smith scored her first points of the game on a three-ball she past the retired and legendary Lisa Leslie into second –place on the all-time WNBA scoring list and now has 6,272 points, though her previous time in the former American Basketball League actually makes her the all-time scorer in U.S. pro women’s basketball, thought Seattle’s Tina Thompson is tops in just the WNBA.

Both Smith and Thompson have said this is their last rodeo.

“It’s a lot of pride in the work that you put in and knowing that you’ve been consistently on top of your game or your craft for a long time,” Smith said.

“Some of these young guns will pass us in the future, but it’s been great to be able to play this long and compete.”

Smith, whose role has increased in the wake of Carson’s injury, had 10 points, while Kara Braxton, the primary defender on Charles, had 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Hightower scored 17 for Connecticut and Kara Lawson had 16 points.

“I think our offensive focus was there in the second half, especially with Cappie,” Laimbeer said. “Our defense is a great constant for us. In the first half we made too many turnovers. We got it together finally in the third quarter and it really showed at how special of a ball club we can be.

“(Mitchell) was one of the biggest keys to the game,” Laimbeer observed. “She’s one of the best free throw shooters we have. She was getting every rebound by being engaged and being a smart basketball player. She knew where to be and it really helped us.”

New York has a week off before hosting the San Antonio Silver Stars next Sunday and then hits the road with stops at Chicago and on to the West to visit Seattle, the title-favored Phoenix Mercury, and Los Angeles Sparks.

Connecticut after its week off hosts Atlanta, Phoenix and the Tulsa Shock.

“I think the race for playoff spots is going to be tight all season in this conference and go right down to the wire at the last two or three games,” Smith said.

But the key will be having enough bodies to sustain the pursuit.

The issue of increasing roster sizes is expected to be discussed when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is negotiated after the season.

“These injuries are killing us around this league,” Pondexter said. “We just have to continue to stay healthy, see the trainer, rely on that. It’s a tough break. Right now we have only nine players with our injuries.

“It’s tough right now. But we’re strong. We’re competitive. We have an edge. We just have to roll with what we have. It’s important to have more players because some days you can’t even practice,” Pondexter said.

“We know it’s something we have to focus on in the CBA but it’s a collective effort. But we can’t worry about it now. We just have to keep pushing until it’s time to negotiate.”

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Package of Delights From WBHOF Weekend On the Local Blog

By Mel Greenberg

Friday night the Guru will be on Newark, N.J., as the New York Liberty host the Connecticut Sun.

But while enduring a GPS map update on the laptop, the William "Willbill" Ewart collection from the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame induction weekend arrive and so right now over at http://www.philahoopsw.com you will find four files -- the Jim Foster induction speech and photos, the Sue Wicks induction speech and photos and then two predominately photo files --apparently the internet does have its limits -- showing acceptance speeches, the brunch presentations -- a long day in the life of Debbie Antonelli -- the sociality at the Geno Auriemma-Holly Warlick pre-induction reception and some Guru hobnobbing around shots.

Needed you all to come here first to see what traffic looks like before you head over there.

But while the Guru has your attention, an update note to the philly summer league schedule. It appears the championship round will be a one-game winner-take-all instead of best-of-three, in part because it would mean stretching another week into August when many players depart.

If wrong, will have the commissioner give the correct reason.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Guru Musings on WNBA Injuries and Philly Summer League

By Mel Greenberg

When the Connecticut Sun took the floor against the defending WNBA champion Indiana Fever and host of Wednesday night's Eastern Conference tilt at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, it could have been billed as a chess match considering the number of pieces already off the board for each side due to injuries.

The two longtime rivals aren't the only ones affected by injuries and other issues at the moment, such as the Chicago Sky having to go the month without former Rutgers star and high scorer Epiphanny Prince, who is playing with the Russian National Team.

The negative effect on the league's product has many tweeting, etc., clamouring for the return of the 13-player roster, a size cut back to 11 several years ago as a cost-saving move when the overall economy went south.

Furthermore replacement are limited to when a squad gets down to eight otherwise the team has the option to cut an injured player at nine or above to sign a replacement.

However, the Guru recalls many teams taking advantage of that total to sometimes park players with injuries that seemed suspect and the Guru knows of several players never that seriously hurt who saw scant minutes of playing time for as long as they lasted in the league.

At the season opener before in a discussion of the issue before the New York Liberty tipped off at Connecticut, the Guru and AP national writer Doug Feinberg for women's basketball -- college and the WNBA besides international competition such as the Olympics -- chatted a bit about roster size with new Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer, who returns to the league for the first time since leaving the former three-time WNBA champion Detroit Shock at the outset of the 2009 season.

Laimbeer, as well as several other coaches, say 12 would do the trick because besides easing the havoc caused by injuries practices could be run without being shorthanded.

Look for this debate to continue throughout the season.

Philly Summer League Opens Next Tuesday

The Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women's Summer Basketball League opens next Tuesday night for competition also on Thursday nights returning to the Kelly Bolish Gym in Hatboro near the Route 611 exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Willow Grove Business Park.

The entrance to get to the home of the AAU Renegades at the end of the drive is off Davisville Road right nearf the intersection with Byberry Road.

The Guru for the most part plans to move coverage from here over to his local Philahoopsw.com site to accomodate photos assuming he can find a photographer.

Over there the rosters of an expansion from 12 to 13 teams are already listed along with the schedule, whose display needs a little clarity in display but for now is still clear enough to figure out.

The Guru will always flash an alert on his twitter @womhoopsguru when a new post involving action is posted. He should be on the scene most nights except when covering a WNBA game, though he will be given the summaries afterwards for posting purposes whether near or4 far.

After the July 4 week a couple of Wednesday's will be shoe-horned in to make up for nights that will be dark during the holiday week.

Because there's no photo display supporting the two files right now simply click on the headlines for the roster and schedule to read both of them.

There is a third element, which is the preamble of David Kessler, beginning his 20th season as commissioner.

The Guru will now list that item below and Kessler's email address is on the end of the his bylaws report.


1-Games will consist of 20 minute halves. Clock stops on the following:
Shooting fouls
Every whistle in the last 2 minutes of each half
Every basket in the last minute of the game
Overtime periods will be 3 minutes. Clock will stop on every whistle in the last 2 minutes and on every basket in the last minute.
Each team receives 5 time-outs per game.
“1 & 1” is on the 7th foul of the half. On the 10th foul of the half, the other team receives 2 foul shots.
Because there is no shot clock, the league will be playing 10 seconds in the backcourt and “closely guarded” in the frontcourt.

2-There is a 15 minute forfeit time for the FIRST game only! Players must be on the court ready to play by 7:15.


As a courtesy there will be an extra shirt in each color at the game site. Shirt must be returned to the scorer’s table after the game. If you lose your shirt you must purchase a new one. Fee $20.00.



Technical foul rule:
First “T” no penalty
Second “T” one game suspension
Third “T” two game suspension
Fourth “T” expulsion from the league

6-8 teams make the playoffs and individual awards are given to the League winner, the Playoff winner, and the Playoff runner-up.

7-This is an NCAA certified league. Division I players must submit a letter of permission from their Athletic Director before league play begins. Division I players may play with only one college team mate (incoming freshmen do not count towards the total)

8-League Director will have final say in all matters not covered in the by-laws.

David Kessler, League Director

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 10, 2013

Maya's WNBA Chicago Scene: Delle Donne and Sky Growing Together

By Maya Goldberg-Safir

How did the Chicago Sky win this game?

Definitely not by taking care of the ball.

With 24 turnovers over all, the Sky won Sunday's weekend re-match against the San Antonio Silver after the loss Friday night in Texas only because they are finally ready to battle – with a Olympian in the post, a seemingly 4-dimensional rookie, and a lot of heart.

The Sky are also being put to the test without former Rutgers star Epiphany Prince, whose Russian ankle madness is reported to be a grade-two sprain (“No ligament damage, thank goodness,” says Pokey.)

In any case, Tamera Young is starting, Courtney Vandersloot is firmly in point position, and Allie Quigley is gaining minutes. The lack of Piph also means even more pressure on playmaking by Elena Delle Donne – whose total WNBA career comprises of about a month - and who is apparently ready to step up in a way rookies rarely have before.

But even without Prince, the Sky are still capable of spreading the floor, penetrating, dishing down low and shooting the three… all of which makes them a very serious threat.

And there were a couple moments of wonderful chemistry– EDD’s over the shoulder hook pass to Big Syl on the blocks was a great example – but Chicago also made quite a few careless lobs and desperately telegraphed passes, and 24 turnovers overall could have easily cost them the game.

But while Pokey Chatman definitely isn't happy about those ever-plaguing lost possessions, she must be pleased with how the Sky saved themselves – notably that EDD was much more aggressive than in Friday’s 81-69 loss, and that the entire squad maintained a level of intensity unseen during last year’s playoff-less season.

As the eloquent Swin Cash noted after the game: "It's the character and toughness that let you find a way to win. Games like this last year, we lost.”

And in the end, the Sky found their way, specifically by out-rebounding the Silver Stars 45-31 and getting to the line over twice as often as the visiting team, with huge contributions down low from veteran center Sylvia Fowles, who ended the night with 16 rebounds.

Delle Donne, who had both a game and career-high 23 points (a record that will last about as long as the Guru can stay off his iPad), was as dynamic as she’s been, and despite a couple of sloppy plays, Courtney Vandersloot dished out 5 assists and collected 12 points on the night, looking mostly like a smarter, tougher player – able to get around defenders, create openings, and even limit Danielle Robinson’s insane speed on offense – but she does need to execute both passes and shots with a bit more confidence.

And let’s not forget completely about San Antonio, who came out fighting – even though they played without injured veteran stars Becky Hammon and Sophia Young.

The Silver Stars relied largely on D-Rob to run their offense, who was unable to convert points-wise and ended the night with only 5. Nevertheless, the Silver Stars appear well coached as ever, clawing back from a 15 point deficit and capitalizing on out-of-sync Sky turnovers.

Their offensive rally was largely led by Jia Perkins, whose team-high 20 points included a clutch three point shot that tied the game at 70, with only seconds left to go against her former team.

But Elena Delle Donne was ready with a quick response, driving with to the rim and drawing a foul, leaving the Silver Stars with just 1.8 seconds to chuck the ball toward the hoop.

Her finish adds to game-winners at Delaware against Drexel and St. John's the last two seasons before graduating to the WNBA.

And at that point, did anyone have any doubt that EDD would easily net both free throws and secure a 72-70 victory for the Sky? Of course not.

You could feel everyone breathing easily as The Very Poised Rookie took the line.

And soon, when the final buzzer sounded, Allstate Arena burst out in cheers – yes, Chicago Fans finally appear to be enjoying themselves.

That’s right: despite the empty seats, with just 4,293 fans in attendance, being at the game kind of felt like being invited to a secret party with a giant of buffet of goodies – which is to say, there’s nothing wrong with an excess of goodies.

Our treats included a clear view of Elena Delle Donne’s mile-long spin move (could we call it the Magnificent Mile?!) and Sylvia Fowles glittering, locked-in glare after drawing the and-1 on an incredible offensive put-back.

Plus, there were enough bundled t-shirts and yellow Styrofoam balls for everyone.

And when the wonderfully diverse Chicago crowd spilled out together into the parking lot, the whole Sky crew - nerdy Jewish dads and their young daughters, whole families still in their Sunday best, 13U AAU players, women in khaki shorts and awesome bleached pixie-cuts – seemed truly joyous, excited for the next game.

The Chicago Sky are not a perfect team. But they do look focused and ready to grow – guided in part by the wisdom of their youngest member, ironically enough – because when Elena Delle Donne makes a mistake, she never seems to turn on the refs, or on herself.

Instead, she’ll pat her chest twice, perhaps catch Swin Cash for a high five and a quick, "my fault," and gaze straight ahead, ready to defend or meet the ball once more.

But mostly, of course, EDD isn’t making mistakes - she's scored 20 points three times so far this season and is second in blocks behind only Candace Parker.

And with the continued suburb play of Sylvia Fowles (don’t forget, she’s a rare and dominant pure center in the league) alongside the improving play of Sloot and (let’s hope) added confidence from Young and Quigley, Chicago Sky fans should keep leaving Allstate satisfied – and that’s just before Piph gets back.

Plus, @WNBA recently retweeted the following: 'If @De11eDonne keeps up this level of play we're going to have to not only consider her for rookie of the year but also for MVP.'


And hey, New York – see you in Chi-town.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Guru Report: Tidbits From Hall of Fame Weekend in Knoxville

By Mel Greenberg

The Guru apologizes for not being more on the scene to you all from the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame festivities all weekend but between a bad server in the Marriott messing up wifi connections and his need to make the rounds, including his duties as a 2007 inductee, his time to actually post and tweet became limited -- and help was not needed from the alumni publication he worked for in Philadelphia in terms of other print coverage.

But having arrived back in his home area a little while ago there are things to report and more to come.

First, in the world of the WNBA, Maya was on the scene for Elena Delle Donne's game-winner for the Chicago Sky in the Windy City against the San Antonio Silver Stars and sent word she will be filing something Monday.

The Guru did some speech transcription, though most of the highlights were reported through the local paper in Knoxville and The Associated Press so the Guru has to determine how to avoid redundancy though he knows Jen Rizzotti fans in Connecticut would like to read whatever can be gleaned off the audio of the speech so the Guru will oblige.

He is also waiting until Tuesday when Willbill makes the photos available for posting on Philahoopsw.com.

The Guru can tell you that although there was no announcement of the Tennessee-UConn series, Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick and Huskies coach Geno Auriemma were warm and fuzzy to each other as cohosts of a reception Saturday night prior to the induction ceremony.

Warlick presented a bottle of Volunteer Wine from California that she found in a local store to Auriemma to salute his winning his eighth NCAA title in April in New Orleans.

After searching for evidence, though the Guru let you know about Auriemma in advance, he found another sign at a Big Five school that the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame did hold a press conference/luncheon Thursday afternoon to announce the group that will be inducted on November 7 at the Sheraton Society Hill.

Because UConn has a game to start the season that conflucts Auriemma won't be able to attend but he told the Guru Saturday night he appointed longtime Villanova coach and friend Harry Perretta to accept for him.

"I figure Harry may never get inducted so let him have his big moment," Auriemma quipped. The Guru, incidentally, will be doing the Auriemma bio for the printed program.

The class will also include the late Linda Page, the former Dobbins Tech and North Carolina State star who broke Wilt Chamberlain's high school scoring record with 100 points and died suddenly in October, 2011.

Tina Sloan Green, the former Temple lacrosse and field hockey coach who won three national titles with the Owls, is also in the class.

Auriemma and former Huskies teammate Rebecca Lobo did the video intro together for Rizzotti, who went into the Hall as a player but is also a successful coach at Hartford.

None of the UConn regulars from the media came down to cover Rizzotti's enshrinement so they missed a chance to see how the atmosphere has changed here toward Auriemma in that he is no longer perceived by more than a few as the arch enemy.

"I'm having a good time down here," Auriemma said. "I've met a lot of great people and everyone seems willing to do good things for the hall."

Tennnessee coach emeritus Pat Summitt, the longtime legend who stepped down a year ago in the wake of her ongoing battle against early onset dementia, Alzheiemer's type, did not attend most of the events but was at the Bijou Theatre for the ceremony and was acknowledged by several inductees, including new Chattanooga coach Jim Foster, the former Saint Joseph“s and Vanderbilt coach who was let go by Ohio State in March after the Buckeyes did not make the NCAA field for the first time in a decade.

Former Rutgers and WNBA New York Liberty star Sue Wicks did not have a prepared speech but impressed winging it from the podium. Foster, who usually is scene wearing just a sweater -- among his other clothing -- at many games and events wore a suit at the coaxing of his wife Donna.

Several longtime Liberty fans came down. The Guru did not notice formal WNBA representation but Anucha Browne-Sanders, in charge of the NCAA Women's Basketball championships, and her successor Sue Donohoe were on the scene.

Wicks said she did get a nice note from Kristin Bernert, who is in charge of Liberty maarketing on the business side.

Browne-Sanders said the Val Ackerman white paper had been turned in and its pronouncements will first be discussed with the committees who meet this month.

Saint Joseph's longtime athletic director Don DiJulia and his son Chris were here as was current Hawks coach Cindy Griffin and Marie Koch, supervisor of officials for the Atlantic 10 who worked games in the conference involving Foster and Wicks when Rutgers was in the conference.

In the small world department, referee Diana DePaul, who works many games in the region, had no idea of the weekend when she coincidentally checked into the Marriott while her daughter, who she drove down, was attending a camp at Carson-Newman.

Foster said he and his wife Donna had always liked Chattanooga is discussing the appeal of taking the job. When the Guru informed him that if he got his new team ranked, he'd be the first coach to lead four different teams into into The Associated Press women's poll, Foster smiled and said, "Thanks. Now I have a goal."

DiJulia, Griffin, former Hawks senior women's administrator Ellen Ryan, and Saint Joseph's men's basketball coach Phil Martelli all spoke as presenters in the video preceding Foster's speech.

He also did not write anything down in advance.

Wicks' Rutgers coach Theresa Grentz, who did her video presentation, was here as was current Scarlet Knights coach C. Vivian Stringer.

Father Judge grad and current Northwestern coach Joe McKeown did a humerous home--movie type presentation for Texas A&M coach Gary Blair, who surprised by clocking in with his speech between 10-12 minutes, far less than anticipated.

Blair revealed that McKeown would have been in the house but McKeown's daughter, who plays for the Wildcats, had been in an auto accident last week but is expected to be allright.

DePaul coach Doug Bruno was on the scene as was USA Basketball women's executive Carol Callan, who is head of the WBHOF board.

Though the re-vamped Big East of which DePaul and Villanova will be members do not have a commissioner yet, it is known that the women's tournament will be held in Chicago at the Allstate Arena that is also the home of the WNBA gym.

"It's a great place," Bruno said in answering why not his own arena, which soon will be replaced by a new facility at McCormick Place by Lake Michigan. Allstate is located in suburban Rosemont hear O'Hare airport.

"You have a lot of hotels and restaurants nearby and a casino," Bruno said, which in a way would make the setting similar to the projected Mohegan Sun Arena site expected to go the other women's tournament amalgamation out of the old Big East, which on July 1 becomes the American Athletic Conference -- also to be known as The American.

Temple is part of that mix but its former conference the Atlantic 10 recently announced that all members will participate for the first time in the next tournament.

Last season the lead-up rounds to the championship were held at Saint Joseph's and then the following Saturday the title, won by the Hawks, was determined as part of a tripleheader with the men's tournament at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

DiJulia said some other schools wanted to be so the actual dates and location for the early rounds won't be known until after July 1 though the Hawks' hosting last season was well received.

Looking ahead, Callan said by next May a coach will be in place for at least the FIBA World Championship next year, if not the Olympics for 2016, and the first of three training sessions will be held.

As to where the first ones occur in terms of an exhibition, she said "everything is on the table" in terms of ideas.

In that regard, the Guru would say followers in his home region should stay in touch though decisions are still a ways off.

Annette Smith-Knight, the former Texas star, who was also in the six-member class along with former Mississippi star Peggie Gillom-Granderson, talked about her senior year when the Longhorns became the first NCAA unbeaten champion in 1986.

"Everyone was focused to win that year as seniors because of all the bad luck had had before with injuries and unpset losses in the tournament," Smith-Knight said.

Former teammate Fran Harris did Smith-Knight's intro and jokingly referred, "she had a butt the size of a zip code."

When the Longhorns star took the podium to begin her remarks, she first admonished the theatre crowd, saying, "I know you all were looking at my butt."

Gillom-Granderson's sister Jennifer is a previous inductee making them the only sister act. She is also an assistant with the WNBA Connecticut Sun and made the flight here after Friday's home loss to former Sun coach Mike Thibault, now with the Washington Mystics.

She jokingly referred in her speech to former Mississippi coach Van Chancellor, who also coached the four-time champion WNBA Houston Comets and 1984 USA Olympic gold medalists, as "the luckiest white man alive."

In chatting with Wicks during Friday's media session, held before former Rutgers star Essence Carson was lost to the Liberty with an ACL that night in Atlanta, she said New York seemed to have a new spark and energy under new coach Bill Laimbeer. "More aggressive. More focused."

She called her brothers "my first competitors and a big part of my basketball."

Looking back to Rutgers days, "For me a lot of it was a blur. As well as I played and did so simple things like scoring, I had to learn so many things.

"And I always laugh how patient Theresa had to be with me -- the things I didn't know. It sticks in my head more now. What you don't know, you don't know.

"It's all about relationships and people and how you know them over the course of time." She saluted the Rutgers faithful who came to her games.

During her speech, she told a story of how n opponent team mocked her group, saying they're so dumb they only know one play.

And then Wicks said her response to the foe was, "And you can't stop it."

More to come.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Halls of Fame Citations Keep Coming as Fast as the NCAA Titles for UConn's Geno Auriema

By Mel Greenberg

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma is heading down here this weekend to welcome two longtime friends and connections who will be part of the newest six-member induction class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Recently hired Chattanooga coach Jim Foster, who was let go by Ohio State at the end of last season, gave Auriemma his first job as an assistant when Foster became women's coach at Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia in the early 1980s.

Current Hawks coach Cindy Griffin and others from the Big Five school are expected to be part of Foster's delegation as well as players and associates from his past jobs with the Buckeyes and at Vanderbilt several hours away to the east in Nashville, the locale of next season's NCAA Women's Final Four.

Hartford coach Jen Rizzotti, who played for Auriemma on UConn's first of eight NCAA titlists in 1995, is being inducted as a player.

But before all the fun begins. several weeks after being named to the Connecticut (state) Hall of Fame, Auriemma, also in the hall here and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., among others, is going to get his due from his youthful roots on Thursday when the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame holds an announcement luncheon at the Sheraton Society Hill to announce the tenth class of inductees.

Auriemma, who guided the United States to an Olympic gold medal last summer at the London Games in England, grew up in Norristown just outside Philadelphia and considering many of his boyhood mafia help run the Philly hall it is a surprise that it has taken this long for Auriemma to get named.

The philly sports organization's web site will have all the details later Thursday. At least one other prominent person from the Philly women's basketball world is expected to be named, joining last year's inductee Debbie Black, and previously such notables as Dawn Staley, who is headed for the Naismith Hall in September, and former Immaculata coach Cathy Rush and past Mighty Macs stars Theresa Grentz and Marianne Stanley, who is currently an assistant with the WNBA Washington Mystics.

Auriemma, whose previous big Philly moment in his sport was winning the 2000 NCAA Women's Final Four at the then-named Wachovia Center in South Philadelphia, is not expected to attend Thursday's event according to several sources due to other commitments.

Grentz, who is in the Hall here, is coming down to support Foster, who was on her staff when she coached the 1992 U.S. Olympic team, and also her former Rutgers all-American and former WNBA New York Liberty star Sue Wicks.

Incidentally, though nothing is in the cards at this time for the resumption of the noted Tennessee-Connecticut rivalry of the past, Auriemma and Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick are co-hosting a reception before Saturday's ceremony that is priced at $100 extra on the weekend package to raise money for the Hall.

Warlick just finished her first season succeeding her former boss and coach the legendary Pat Summitt, who stepped aside to be coach emeritus at the end of the 2012 season as part of her battle against early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.

Summitt's son Tyler, who finished his first year on the staff of Marquette, got married here last weekend so there never is any down time for news in Lady Vols land.

As far as Guru coverage here, he is waiting to hear whether his former paper in Philadelphia wants him on the case for them but otherwise will split coverage with Foster-Wicks items at PhilahoopsW and the rest of it right here.

Since this is the home of the Guru's ace photo guy William "Willbill" Ewart, pictures will accompany all coverage at PhilahoopsW.com.

Meanwhile, the Guru made the all-night drive and arrived here a little whiile ago with little problems thanks to outstanding music from the Guru's killer playlist on the iPad.

So time for some quick snacks in the upper floor of the Marriott headquarters here and then some shuteye before making the rounds.

Those who have been asking if the Guru would be on the scene can email if they want to hook up though the Marriott sports bar is usually the chief hangout here.

Colleagues elsewhere will handle the WNBA coverage at their sites until the Guru returns up north late Sunday night or sunrise Monday -- take your pick.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad