Womhoops Guru

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Guru's Postseason Notebook: WNIT Tourney No Longer A Must to Avoid

By Mel Greenberg

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Add Villanova coach Harry Perretta to the growing number of women's basketball collegiate community notables saying favorable things about the Women's NIT, which runs alongside most of the month of March in tandem with the NCAA women's tournament.

"Let me tell you something about the WNIT," Perretta said Wednesday night after the Wildcats advanced in their home Pavilion to Sunday's second round also at home against George Washington at 1 p.m. "I know it's not the NCAA. I get it.

"But this tournament is so paritable that it's not like the Women's NCAA tournament where you just see sow many blowouts," Perretta said.

"In this tournament, everything is really paritable.(Crosstown rival) Drexel won last year. This tournament is a great paritable tournament," Peretta continued.

"If you approach it in the right frame of mind, it's a great experience for you as a player because if you play well you have a chance to win.

"Sometimes in the NCAA tournament you can play the best you can and you still lose by 20 or 25. In this tournament, you play well you can win but also if you don't play well your opponent can beat you on your home court.

"I love the tournament for the reasons I just told you. It's a great competition -- I'm not taking any shots at anybody. I'm just saying that women's basketball is not paritable. This tournament is very paritable, but the kids sometimes don't understand that," Perretta said.

"But if they look at it the right way, it's a great playing experience. That's how Drexel won it last year. Normally, a team like Drexel can never win a tournament like this but they can because if they play well they are not that far away from an Auburn or someone like that.

"And Quinnipiac is not that far away from ua. And if we don't play well, they can beat us so I just think the tournament is a lot of fun.

"I don't think our kids took the game lightly. I just think rust was one thing. The other things is we have to learn as a team that when we have a home game, we have to focus."

So can Villanova keep the WNIT trophy in Philadelphia since Drexel didn't qualify to return because the Dragons had a losing record?

"I just thought Drexel played consistent basketball. We did not play very well today. My point is if we get past the next round I have to see how we play. It has a lot to do with how you play."

University Community Goes All-Out for Penn Women

Penn has gone all in over its women's team winning the Ivy title and returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade.

The Quakers open play Sunday in College Park, Md., against Texas, an at-large choice from the Big 12 conference.

Maryland, as an at-large pick out of the Atlantic Coast Conference, will meet Patriot champion Army, coached by Philadelphian Dave Magarity, as he joins former La Salle coach Speedy Morris as the only two persons to guide a men's and women's team into the NCAA field.

"The university has been great," Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said. "They are willing to provide as many buses as it will take and get tickets for as many students as want to go to the game at the Comcast Center.

"This is how you grow the sport. The marketing department was just sensational putting together our Watch Night Monday in the Palestra," McLaughlin said.

"It's funny, our kids are so laid back and shy that as they got ready to be introduced to the crowd, they asked us what were they supposed to do.

"I just want them to be themselves and enjoy the experience. We are not approaching this any different than any other game. I think that we were able to go down and beat a team like Miami gave us all the confidence in the world.

"If Alyssa (Baron) is on her game, anything is possible."

McLaughlin also said he and Princeton coach Courtney Banghart, whose team Penn beat last week in the Tigers' Jadwin Gym to win the Ivy crown, had exchanged texts wishing each other well in their respective tournaments.

"We want to represent the league and boost its reputation," McLaughlin said. "If we both can win that would be great."

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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