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, March 17, 2014

Penn Gives Palestra a Starring Role Awaiting NCAA Women's Draw

By Mel Greenberg

The Palestra on Penn's campus is about to pick up another piece of history Monday night when the hallowed collegiate basketball arena will have its first-ever NCAA tournament watch party to which the public is invited.

It's part of the week-long celebration since the Penn women (22-6) upset Princeton 80-64 last Tuesday in Jadwin Gym to claim the Ivy title and automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Doors will open 6:15 p.m. and 45 minutes later the Quakers will learn their destiny when the ESPN-TV telecast of the 64-team field and draw will be displayed on the giant video boards.

Food and giveaways will be offered and the Penn band will be on hand.

Previous watch parties for Penn's men's and women's Ivy champions were held elsewhere on campus.

Though some other area teams are in the hunt for NCAA women's at-large bids, they will assemble in private since their fate is more unknown.

Saint Joseph's (22-9) has been in the top 20 of the RPI ranking system used by the NCAA committee to pick and seed teams but the Hawks have been burned before.

"I think it's been cleaner this year in terms of not a lot of teams bumping others out with upsets but I've been around too long," Saint Joseph's coach Cindy Griffin said. "But if we were the men's team with the same numbers everyone would be calling us a lock."

Penn State (22-7), one of the 16 host schools for first and second round games that begin Saturday and Sunday, is a lock since the Lady Lions have been in the polls all year and tied for the regular season Big Ten championship.

Rutgers (22-9), which finished fourth in its one-year stay in the American Athletic Conference, has been called a bubble team because of a schedule that coach C. Vivian Stringer previously admitted she softened because of the youth of her roster.

After Rutgers was elimninated by defending NCAA champion Connecticut (34-0) in the AAC semifinals, Stringer changed her long-held stance and indicated the team may accept a bid to the WNIT if bypassed by the NCAA.

That's where Villanova (22-8) is likely to land since the Wildcats needed to go deeper than the quarterfinals in last week's Big East tournament.

Drexel (15-16) can't return to defend last season's WNIT title because the Dragons finished with a losing record.

But the Dragons' Colonial Athletic Association local rival Delaware (20-10) gets the automatic bid as the No. 2 team in the conference after failing to take down James Madison, losing 70-45 in Sunday's championship in Upper Marlboro, Md., at the Show Place Arena.

Princeton (20-8) also goes to the WNIT as the Ivy League runnerup after being NCAA-bound the previous four years as the champion.

The Guru will be on the scene at the Penn watch and in touch from the Plestra with the rest of the world.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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