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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Guru Report: Noteworthy AP Poll Trivia and Other Matters

By Mel Greenberg

This week's update of the historical database of The Associated Press women's poll by your Guru has revealed some more interesting notes in addition to those AP national women's basketball writer Doug Feinberg wrote in his Monday companion to the release of the poll.

North Carolina State reached the Top 10 at No. 10 for the first time since Dec. 3, 2001, which makes it the highest ranking for the Wolfpack in 12 seasons.

South Carolina's No. 5 is the highest for the Gamecocks since Jan. 10, 1982, a week after being No. 2.

Connecticut has now tied Louisiana Tech for No. 2 behind Tennessee with most Top 10 rankings at 273.

The Huskies are already No. 2 in Top 5 appearances behind the Lady Vols. Monday's No. 1 ranking for UConn was the 172 naking it a gap of 60 ahead of second place Tennessee.

Considering there's about five more polling weeks, basically for Tennessee to catch Geno Auriemma's bunch the soonest, the Huskies would have to be not at the top for 3.25 seasons (assuming a 20-week polling period) while the Lady Vols would have to be in first place the entire time in that span.

Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw moved into a tie for second place with the late Sue Gunter at 16th on the all-time list of coaches with appearances in the poll and is close to move up once more ahead of Leon Barmore, the former Louisiana Tech coach who is in both the Naismith and Women's Basketball Halla of Fame.

Texas A&M's Gary Blair at 293 is two spots from catching Gail Goestenkors, who was assisting with the Los Angeles Sparks but haven't seen any news yet whether she is back on Carol Ross's staff. She is currently 13th.

Baylor's Kim Mulkey has caught Oklahoma's Sherri Coale at 23rd on the all-time list with 223 ranking appearances and both have done it with one team.

Duke's Joanne McCallie has reached 200 poll appearances right behind Coale and Mulkey.

Penn State, which reached 875 victories Sunday, became the seventh team in AP poll history to reach 400 appearances. Maryland should become the eighth team next month when the final poll of the season is released.

Remembering Betty Jaynes

To avoid duplication the Guru is holding off from immeiately writing on Monday's passing of longtime Women's Basketball Coaches Associaion executive Betty Jaynes, who coached at James Madison before Sheilamoorman and Kenny Brooks.

He would say it was always a pleasure to catch up with each other at events -- she would query me on media matters and I would hit her with a few ideas about changing some things up for the better over the years.

Back before the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame got ritzy wih its new facility she would always give me an invite as one of her guests as the dinner and induction ceremony held the same evening.

It won't be the same at WBCA events at the Women's Final Four or the induction weekend in Knoxville without Betty's joyful greeting and socialization.

Sadly, we've been through this two previous times since the death of popular referee Bonita Spench in September and just a month ago with the death of retired Penn State women's basketball sports information director Mary Jo Haverbeck -- each a trailblazer in their own right.

While many will be sending their thoughts to the WBCA's tribute page, those who wish to weigh in here for the Guru to compile a tribute just email me at poll416@gmail.com and put "Betty Jaynes" in the subject line so most will group together.

If you'd like to go down memory lane on the phone send a cell number along unless we are already connected.

Broncs Bust Loose in the MAAC

Kudos to the Rider folks pulling up a big conference upset last week ending Iona's 18-game win streak, knocking the Gaels off their unbeaten league perch with a 92-90 overtime victory.

As a result, the Broncs' MyNeshia McKenzie got another conference player of the week award after the Springfield Delco graduate had 37 points and 19 rebounds in the win over Iona.

She also was named the MAAC top player by Collegemadness.com

Rider made it a aweep with Julia Duggan being named MAAC rookie of the week.

It was no surprise here but another sweep was turned in by Penn's Alyssa Baron after leading the Quakers to wins over Cornell and Columbia on the road to collect both Ivy League and Philadelphia Big Five women's player of the week.

Rutgers sensation Tyler Scaife made it two straight weeks earning the American's rookie of the week award.

Looking Ahead

No one locally played Monday night and just Rutgers is in action Tuesday completing its two-step Texas road trip by visiting Houston.

On Wednesday there's a key showdown for positioning in the Atlantic 10 race when Saint Joseph's hosts La Salle to complete the home and home series.

The visiting Explorers, who lost at home to the Hawks last month which enabled Saint Joseph's to claim an outright Big Five crown, are tied for fifth with George Washington while Saint Joseph's is a half-game behind.

Villanova will be looking for its sixth straight win when the Wildcats host Butler on the Main Line.

Temple will be meeting No. 4 Louisville, holding second place in The American while the Owls are in fifth.

More Philly People in Naismith?

The women's screening committee meets sometime this week via phone unless they already have done their chatter to offer as many as two candidates to make the finalists for the next induction class in Springield, Mass.

All finalists will be announced Friday at noon in New Orleans at the NBA All-Star game.

People who are candidates, according to an internet link, are former Immaculata stars Theresa Grentz and Marianne Stanley as well as the Mighty Macs teams of 1972-74 that won three straight championships.

Dawn Staley was inducted last September and gave one of the more memorable acceptance speeches for all-time.

Pitt coach Suzie McConnell-Serio is on for the first time for her all-American career at Penn State, while such other players of the past as Louisiana Tech's Theresa Weatherspoon, Stanford's Jennifer Azzi, UConn's Rebecco Lobo, and Louisiana Tech's Kim Mulkey, and Laurie Byrd are also being considered.

Leta Andrews,the winningiest high school coach out of Texas, also former coaching great Harley Redin, and Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith.

And that's the report for the moment.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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