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 13, 2013

Guru's PhilahoopsW Roundup: Temple Ruins Delaware Home Opener

(Guru’s note: Former Delaware star Kayla Miller makes her debut as a Guru special analyst in the post below this one focusing on the performance of her alma mater.)

By Mel Greenberg

NEWARK, Del. –
Temple has become quite the home-opener wrecker to start the season after ruining Delaware’s local debut here of the post Elena Delle Donne-era with a 70-58 victory over the Blue Hens (1-1) Tuesday night in the Bob Carpenter Center.

The win, featuring an 18-1 run from a 46-46 tie in the second half, followed the Owls’ season-opening triumph at La Salle on Friday night when Temple claimed a Big Five win in the process by beating the Explorers 60-47 courtesy of a 19-0 run in the same period.

That success avenged a loss to La Salle last season and became the first time in a long while that the game no longer also counted in the Atlantic 10 standings in the wake of Temple’s move last summer to the new The American, which is the basic football portion of the old Big East involving additions such as the Owls and subtractions such as Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

Furthermore seven non-football schools including Villanova also defected but were allowed to retain the Big East name and added Xavier, Creighton and Butler.

Temple will next launch its own home schedule, played predominantly in the re-vamped McGonigle Hall when the Owls host Auburn of the Southeastern Conference Saturday at 6 p.m.

In the defensive stand in the second half this time Temple, which trailed 17-8 early in the game, managed to stop the Blue Hens from connecting on a field goal from a span with just over 12 minutes left to play until Delaware connected just before time expired.

“We can be a good team,” Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said of her group that struggled to a 16-14 record last season with a youthful roster. “That’s two games in a row that we held them in the second half. We just have to clamp down and do a great job defensively.”

Temple took an 11-10 lead in the series, though it was the first time the two teams met since a game at Temple Dec. 2, 1996, and first here since the Blue Hens and Owls met to open Delaware’s Bob Carpenter Center on December 5, 1992.

Delaware, the two-time defending and unbeaten Colonial Athletic Association champions who had not lost a regular season game since being stopped by Maryland last December, opened on the road Friday night at Rhode Island of the A-10 with a 64-43 triumph.

The Blue Hens prior to Tuesday night had won 10 straight here since the Maryland loss when Delle Donne returned from another bout with Lyme Disease and 23 straight regular season games.

Not counting missed time in the previous four years due to illnesses and nagging injuries that was Delaware’s first outing since the graduation of its former superstar and six other seniors.

They will all return here Friday night at 8 p.m. for the game against Wake Forest as the Blue Hens hold as banner-hanging ceremony to celebrate their greatest season in history with another national ranking, a 32-4 record and advancement to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

Delle Donne, who will also receive the Honda National Player of the Year award, went on to become the unanimous choice for WNBA rookie of the year last summer leading the Chicago Sky to their first playoff appearance in eight seasons of existence and the regular season first-place crown in the Eastern Conference.

There is a chance she might return here in a playing uniform next spring since Chicago is exploring the possibility of getting her a special homecoming event on the preseason WNBA schedule, though Delaware has yet to be officially contacted about setting a date.

Additionally if she makes the Olympic squad, USA Basketball might look at holding an event here in either 2015 or 2016 when the Americans under UConn coach Geno Auriemma go for another gold medal when the games are playing in Brazil.

But for now with Delle Donne and her 3,039 career points in the history books and total output of over 6,500 points, 3,200 rebounds and 1,100 assists from the senior class also departed, Delaware must move forward with a class of 11 freshman and sophomores.

Newcomer Shanice Johnson is showing promise with her honor as the first CAA rookie of the week for the season and Tuesday night she scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while senior center Kelsey Buchanan had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

It was their first career double doubles.

Overall, though, the Blue Hens displayed the first signs of painful growth coach Tina Martin feared.

“We have to get better,” Martin said. “The bottom line is we’re going to be up and down. I think that with this group, the defensive intensity was not there the whole time and it came in spurts.

”When you have a young team, they will go in spurts. It is where we are at right now and we will have to find some consistency.”

Temple, meanwhile, was paced by 15 points and nine rebounds from Natasha Thames while Meghan Roxas scored 12 points, courtesy of a career-high four 3-pointers.

Freshman point guard Feyonda Fitzgerald also scored 12 points while Tyonna Williams had 10 points as did newcomer Shi-Heria Shipp also scored 10.

Shipp, a grad student allowed to play immediately under NCAA rules involving transfers, had been with George Washington, the Owls’ longtime A-10 rival.

On Friday night she scored a career-high 18 points at La Salle to earn a weekly listing in the honor rolls of both the Big Five, which named Villanova’s Emily Leer player of the week, and The American.

Thames against La Salle had 12 points and 12 rebounds while Erica Coville scored 10 points.

La Salle’s Alicia Cropper had 13 points and Khristian Lee scored 11 in the Explorers’ loss. Coach Jeff Williams’ team next travels to Rutgers on Sunday.

Of the early going in the Delaware game and also reflecting back to a similar eight-point deficit at La Salle, Cardoza said, “Our ball movement was stagnant. We thrive offensively when someone makes a big play and gives us a boost.”

USP Wins At the Finish Again

The Temple-Delaware game was the only one Tuesday night involving the 10-team contingent that will be housed again in the Guru’s Philahoopsw.com website when the remodeling begun in the offseason is completed.

However, it should be noted that in local Division II action, for the third straight game Tuesday night, all since the season began and all at home in the Bobby Morgan Arena in Southwest Philadelphia, the University of the Sciences came out on top by scoring just before the final buzzer.

This time it was the Devils’ opener in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference as Brianne Traub sank a 19-foot shot with 0.3 seconds left on the clock for a 57-55 win over Goldey-Beacom College.

Traub finished with 22 points and nine rebounds and her three-pointer with 6.6 seconds left in Friday’s season opener gave the Devils a 69-68 win over the College of St. Rose as she also scored 22 points in that game with her winning shot making her the 15th player in USP history to reach 1,000 career points.

Comeback number two occurred on Sunday when Camille McPherson sank a pair of foul shots with 0.4 seconds left for a 75-73 win over Franklin Pierce and she finished with 26 points
Kaitlyn Schmid had a career-high 12 points in Tuesday’s win.

Catching Up

Since the Guru has been tweeting at games but with five games in five days the travel to get everywhere and some computer issues caused him to not post roundups or game stories other than the post Tuesday off Monday’s national game between host Connecticut and Stanford.

Temple, Delaware and La Salle are all updated as part of Tuesday’s game story at the top of this post.

So rounding up the PhilahoopsW crowd, Rutgers got off to a winning start in the season and home opener Sunday with a 79-65 triumph over Princeton, also the season opener for the four-time defending Ivy League champion Tigers.

The Guru covered the game for http://hoopfeed.com so you can find extensive detail at that site.

Rutgers had six players in double figures led by Philadelphia’s Kahleah Copper’s 16 points while Wilmington’s Betnijah Laney had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Blake Dietrick scored 10 for Princeton and Alex Wheatley had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers who had shocked the Scarlet Knights at home in Jadwin Gym last season when two-time Ivy player of the year Niveen Rasheed was a senior.

Rutgers next plays Wedneday morning in a nonconference game at Northeastern in Boston, which is the only game involving the Philly locals, while Princeton will host Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference perennial champion Marist on Sunday.

Penn State, which opened with a ranking of 14 in The Associated Press preseason women’s poll and moved up a slot on Monday to 13, opened Friday and Sunday with home wins over St. Francis of Pennsylvania and Fordham.

Narberth’s Maggie Lucas, the reigning Big 10 player of the year and conference preseason player of the year, had 33 points Friday night in the 117-77 win over the Red Flash as the Lady Lions set a scoring record for the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.
Ariel Edwards added 23 points, Dara Taylor of Wilmington added 14 points, and Kaliyah Mitchell had 11 points.

On Sunday, Lucas had 23 points and moved into second place on the Big Ten Conference career 3-point list at 297 as Penn State topped Atlantic 10 tournament runnerup Fordham 78-61.

Edwards scored 17 points and Taylor scored 12.

The Lady Lions next host top-ranked UConn Sunday at home in a game the Guru will be on the scene.

UConn, incidentally, is expected Wednesday to reveals details of the elbow injury All-American Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis suffered in Monday’s win over Stanford at the Huskies’ campus Gampel Pavilion arena.

Penn, on Saturday afternoon was shocked in the season and home-opener at The Palestra with a 56-51 loss to St. Francis-Brooklyn after winning all seven previous games in the series, including last season’s rally from an 18-point deficit in the second half.

Katy Allen and newcomer Sydney Stipanovich, a 6-3 reserve center, each scored 12 points but the Quakers gave up five 3-pointers while shooting 2-21 from beyond the arc and and overall 20-for-57 from the field for 35.1 percent.

“We did a lot of good things but we just didn’t make shots,” coach Mike McLaughlin said.

The Quakers have since quickly gone into an early layoff until a week from Saturday when Penn will host No. 6 Notre Dame as Muffet McGraw, the Big Five Hall of Famer and former Saint Joseph’s star, makes a homecoming visit for the first time against a team other than Villanova, the Irish’s former rival in the old Big East.

Notre Dame is playing its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.


“We’ll get a chance to work on a lot of things during the layoff,” McLaughlin said.

Saint Joseph’s opened the season playing at home in the preseason WNIT, beating Mt. St. Mary’s 85-57 at Hagan Arena as Sarah Fairbanks had a career-high 17 points and senior Erin Shields scored 15.

The Hawks raised a banner signifying their Atlantic 10 tournament triumph last season for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and first appearance since 2000.

Natsha Cloud had nine points and five assists.

The win sent Joseph’s on to then-No. 15 LSU on Sunday in Baton Rouge, La., and the Hawks fell to the Tigers 80-54.

Shields had a game-high 23 points while Fairbanks had 11 points and nine rebounds.

The Hawks finish up WNIT action in a consolation game Friday night at Wichita State as tournament officials avoided forcing Saint Joseph’s to meet Quinnipiac, whom they meet on the road Dec. 1 in Connecticut.

After the WNIT, the Hawks will host Drexel next Wednesday in their first meeting since last season’s buzzer-beater by Shields at the Dragon’s Daskalakis Athletic Center.

'Nova and Drexel --- So Close While So Far Away

Finally Villanova and Drexel traveled to Toledo to play in the Rockets’ tournament in Ohio and met Sunday for the championship won by the Wildcats.

But first on Saturday, Drexel beat host Toledo 65-52 in the Glass City Tournament, the Dragons’ first official action since closing out last season winning the WNIT at home.

Fiona Flanagan had a career-high 19 points for Drexel while

Villanova, the alma mater of Drexel coach Denise Dillon, advanced with an 87-53 win over Mississippi Valley of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The Wildcats, who are one of the 10 schools in the new Big East and one of seven from the former affiliation, shot 18-for-30 on 3-point attempts.

Lauren Burford had 18 points, Kendall Burton had a career-high 15 points, and Emily Leer had 12 points, all for Villanova.

On Sunday the Wildcats added to their long collection of in-season tournaments as veteran coach Harry Perretta’s team beat one of his former star players coaching on the other bench in Drexel’s Dillon, whose Dragons fell 63-52.

Leer, who was on the losing side again this past summer in the championship of the Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s NCAA Summer League, had 18 points and was named the most valuable player of the tourney leading to her naming as Big Five women’s player of the week.

The twin sisters Caroline and Katherine Coyer each scored 12 points with Katherine tying a career high.

Drexel’s Flanagan had 17 points while Alexis Smith off the bench scored 12.

Villanova travels to Lehigh Thursday, the only PhilahoopsW team in action that day, for an 11 a.m. tip (early wakeup for the Guru), as the Wildcats will face former star Laura Kurz, who is an assistant coach for the Mountain Hawks of the Patriot League.

The Guru had tweeted that former Saint Joseph’s star Katie Kuester was director of basketball operations but a source from the Hawks since whispered tweet back that Kuester is now down at the University of North Carolina.

Drexel will host Providence of the new Big East Friday night, though the Guru will bypass the Maryland-UConn game to return here by popular request from some friends on the Delaware and Wake Forest sides.

Incidentally, former Villanova player Clarisse Garcia, previously at Alabama, is now an aide at Wake Forest.

All that said, we should be caught up and we will go for here.


-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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