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.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Guru Report: Ivy Showdown Ahead for Penn, Princeton and Harvard in New England

( Guru’s note: Your Guru was at the Penn, Temple and Drexel games – everything else was compiled off wire and team reports. In playing catch up from Saturday’s seven games, the whole shebang is going into this file in some organized fashion. )

By Mel Greenberg

The gridlock at the top of the Ivy standings remained in place at the halfway point following Saturday night’s 78-51 win by Penn over Brown here at The Palestra, Princeton’s 96-75 win over Yale at home up the road in Jadwin Gym, and Harvard’s 84-69 win over Cornell at home in Cambridge, Mass.

But things will untangle somewhat this with Penn (16-5, 6-1) heading to Harvard (17-5, 7-1) Friday night and Princeton (15-6, 6-1) visiting the Crimson on Saturday after playing at Dartmouth Friday. Penn completes what is essentially the first phase of a four-game road trip going to Dartmouth on Saturday.

Then Princeton and Penn journey to Yale and Brown the following weekend.

Assuming the two mythical southern partners of the Ivies win at Dartmouth, here are the possibilities when the dust is settled by Saturday night.

A Penn and Princeton sweep would knock Harvard two games back in the loss column while if the two visitors split their trips, the Crimson would be up one game in the loss column and Penn and Princeton would be tied for second.

Remember there’s a consolation prize in that the second place team gets an automatic bid to the WNIT won by Drexel, though it is possible that the third place team would get an at-large invite.

If Penn or Princeton win this weekend but not both the winner who sweeps gets sole possession of first place.

For the Quakers, the Ivy schedule gods were kind in that stopping at Harvard first before Dartmouth allows them to focus all week on dealing with the Crimson who will be out for revenge following Penn’s wipeout of Harvard here earlier this month.

“As we go through this again, this time Harvard’s first so that’s who we’ll prep for,” coach Mike McLaughlin said. “We’ll use a little of what we did the first time and then adjust but whatever happens Friday we have to go on to Dartmouth.”

In Saturday’s win, senior Alyssa Baron knocked down 22 points while Sydney Stipanovich had 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds besides blocking five more shots to bring the freshman’s total of rejects to 82.

Kathleen Roche scored 15 points against the Bears (8-14, 2-6).

Baron shook off struggles from Friday night in which she was plagued by foul trouble in the win over Yale.

“She just wants to win,” McLaughlin said of Baron. “The thing about tonight was she made the extra passed. A think a few times Kathleen scored off her passes.”

As for being able to handle the end part of the back-to-back, McLaughlin said, “It’s unique in our league in prepping different each day. I just commended them on their preparation. Their attention to detail has been really good.”

Meanwhile Princeton knocked Yale (10-12, 4-4) three games off the pace with a lopsided 96-75 win as Blake Dietrick topped her career high of the previous night with 28 points, scoring 25 in the first half. Alex Wheatley scored 15 points, Taylor Williams scored 13, and Amanda Berntsen scored 10, as did Michelle Miller.

Kristen Helmstetter grabbed 10 rebounds.

Lucas Lights up Wisconsin in Penn State Win

Narberth’s Maggie Lucas made it 14 times this season she has scored 20 or more points, pouring 25 for the 11th-ranked Lady Lions (20-5, 11-2 Big Ten) in a 78-68 win over the Badgers (10-14, 3-10) in a conference game at home in the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.

Wisconsin’s Michala Johnson, who previously played at Connecticut, scored 19 points.

Ariel Edwards had 16 points and 10 rebounds to keep Penn State 1.5 games in front of Michigan State and Nebraska as the Lady Lions try to repeat as regular season champions.

Tori Waldner and Dara Taylor each scored 10 points.

“The crowd was definitely a big advantage for us going down the stretch,” Penn State coach Coquese Washington said of the 12,585 that was the sixth largest at the Bryce Jordan Center for Penn State’s annual Pink Zone game. “It was really loud and really enthused. I thought it gave us an extra energy boost.”

Penn State will stay home to host Northwestern Thursday night.

Saint Joseph’s Flies over George Mason While La Salle Edged at Fordham

Erin Shields had another career day, this time scoring 29 points as the Hawks topped new Atlantic 10 member George Mason with an 89-75 road win at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va.

Trailing 41-39 at the half, the Hawks (19-6, 8-4) launched a 20-0 run over the Patriots (7-19, 1-12), formerly with the Colonial Athletic Conference, to move into a fifth-place tie with Duquesne, whom they will host Tuesday night at 9, which will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

Natasha Cloud had 16 points and 12 rebounds while Ashley Robinson had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Ilze Gotfrida scored 12 points.

Saint Joseph’s is just one game behind second place Saint Bonaventure (20-7, 9-3).

Fordham (20-6, 9-4) stayed in a third place tie with George Washington (18-8, 9-4) by edging La Salle 43-42 in New York on Saturday.

Alicia Cropper had 15 points for the Explorers (12-13, 7-6), who fell into a seventh-place tie with Virginia Commonwealth (19-7, 7-6).

Micahya Owens scored 10 points while Erin Rooney had 21 points for Fordham, which used an 11-4 run over the final six minutes and won on a pair of fouls shots with 12 seconds left in regulation.

La Salle next hosts George Mason on Wednesday.

Villanova Streak Stopped at St. John’s

A bad shooting first half on Saturday prevented the Wildcats from upsetting the Big East frontrunners and they fell to the Red Storm 69-56 at Lou Carneseca Arena in Queens, N.Y.

Katherine Coyer had a career-high 18 points for Villanova (19-6, 9-5 Big East), which departed from a six-game win streak.

Devon Kane scored 12 points and Caroline Coyer, the twin sister of Katherine, scored 10 points.

Aliyyah Handford had 25 points for St. John’s (19-5, 12-1).

Villanova is off until Sunday when Georgetown visits.

Temple Falls at the Finish While Rutgers Explodes on UCF

Owls coach Tonya Cardoza rejected the idea that Temple’s 55-53 loss to Cincinnati Saturday and her good friend Bearcats coach Jamelle Eliiott in an American Athletic Conference game was a missed opportunity.

“I don’t know if it was an opportunity that got away,” she said. “I just know when you’re stepping on the basketball court, you’re stepping on to compete for 40 minutes and don’t think we even really showed up.

“I felt like the way the game started, we were just going through the motions. We knew coming in this wasn’t going to be easy and I think they just outplayed us for 40 minutes.”

Temple (12-13, 6-8 AAC) is still tied for fifth with with Southern Methodist but any chance at fourth might have slipped away with South Florida (13-11, 8-5), who has a three-game advantage, comes to the Liacouras Athletic Center Saturday afternoon.

The Owls held an eight point lead in the second half that was erased by a 12-0 run by the Bearcats (11-14, 4-10), which split the series with Temple.

Cardoza’s group then went on a 12-3 run late in the game and held a 53-50 lead with a minute left in regulation when Aleysha Lovett, who had 20 points, tied it.

Cincinnati then went ahead on a pair of foul shots, Temple next committed a turnover, the Bearcats missed the front end of a one-and-one but Temple couldn’t get a good shot off as time expired.

Rateska Brown scored 13 points for Temple and Shi-Heria Shipp scored 12.

Meanwhile Rutgers routed UCF up north at the Louis A. Brown Center in Piscataway, N.J., with a 90-50 victory in an American Conference game to stasy solid in third place.

Rookie sensation Tyler Scaife had a career-high 22 points and teammate Kahleah Copper matched the total for the Scarlet Knights (20-5, 11-3), who next head to second-place Louisville on Sunday.

Syessence Davis added to the Rutgers attack with 12 points against UCF (10-15, 3-11) and Betnijah Laney Scored 10 points.

Drexel Swept by James Madison and Delaware Streak Continues

The Dragons, who have beaten James Madison in two straight Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinals, couldn’t find the range in the first half against the conference frontrunners Sunday afternoon, falling behind 26-10 before coming within four points and eventually suffering a 69-58 loss at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

The setback completed a sweep by the Duchesses (21-4, 11-0 CAA) and for the moment Drexel (12-12, 7-4) fell into third a game behind Delaware, which beat Towson 52-43 earlier in the day at the Bob Carpenter Center at home in Newark.

However, the Blue Hens (16-6, 8-3) will visit Tuesday night and a win for Drexel would give the Dragons a tie break for second after beating Delaware last month on the road.

“We can’t go through scoring droughts against a team like this,” Drexel coach Denise Dillon said. “They can score in so many different facets of the game and it’s hard to get consistent stops.

“You can’t double team them, you have to honor them, you have to contest all of them and you can’t afford to go on stretches that we go on,” she continued.

“I thought we got some nice looks in the second half. And I can’t even deal with this team on foul shots. We work so hard to get looks and get to the line and we can’t reward ourselves. I mean, 6-for-11, don’t get me started.”

Fiona Flanagan had 14 points for Drexel while Tory Thierolf and Meghan Creighton each scored 10.

Jazmon Gwathmey had 16 points for JMU, Precious Hall scored 14, Kirby Burkholder, the CAA preseason player of the year had 13, and Toia Giggets scored 10.

“We won here the last four years, which is kind of crazy because we had trouble at our place,” JMU coach “Kenny Brooks said. “I thought we did a really good job in the beginning, we got in foul trouble, and then they were able to run their sets, but we’re able to depend on different kids and that’s what pulled it out for us.

“It makes us very dangerous and if we continue to get better we got a shot to advance.”

At Delaware, Kelsey Buchanan had 15 points and nine rebounds in the win over Towson (11-14, 5-7). Courtni Green scored 14 points.

“I thought we lost some focus in the second half and we didn’t play well at all,” Delaware coach Tina Martin said. “This group has really taken some great strides in the last two to three weeks but today we showed our youth again and had a little letdown.

“I wasn’t happy that (Towson) beat us on the boards because we need to win that battle every game. The energy just wasn’t as high as I would have liked it today.”

And that’s the report and we’re all caught up. Back with more and some more tributes to Betty Jaynes in the next post.

-- Mel


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Post a Comment

<< Home