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.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

The Guru Report: Penn and Princeton Still Flying High in Tandem Over Ivies:

(Guru note: Mike Siroky rounds up the big Ten and SE tourneys in separate posts under this. Guru colleague and former Chicago Sun Times WBB writer Steve Tucker will handle the Big East. The Guru will remain on the scene at the American. )

By Mel Greenberg

There was no joy or horror among the two teams here in the inaugural day of the first American Athletic Association tournament in the Mohegan Sun Arena from the Guru’s 10-member PhilahoopsW group organized in terms of local Division I coverage.

That’s because for one day No. 24 Rutgers, the fourth seed, and sixth seeded Temple were on a par with the top two teams in the country in unbeaten Connecticut and No. 2 ranked Louisville who earned byes along with fifth-seeded SMU and third-seeded South Florida.

Connecticut had to do a little work to do Friday night in scouting one of the two play-in games, in the Huskies case it was the opener in which Cincinnati held of UCF to send Bearcats coach Jamelle Elliott against her former boss and mentor UConn coach Geno Auriemma in one of Saturday’s quarterfinal games.

Louisville in one of the other quarterfinals gets the one surprise survivor in 10th-seed Houston, which put down seventh-seeded Memphis.

Rutgers, whose Tyler Scaife was named rookie of the year, will play SMU in the first of Saturday’s four-pack, while Temple will wrap it all up in meeting South Florida.

Of the teams that did play, the Ivy League was where the joy existed as Penn wiped out Columbia at home 65-50 in The Palestra while Princeton handled Cornell 69-46 to the north in Jadwin Gym in central New Jersey to maintain their deadlock at the top of the league race.

Yale nearly helped both the Tigers and Quakers clinch the consolation prize – the automatic qualifier to the WNIT as the second place team – when the Bulldogs almost upset Harvard before falling 69-65 on the road in Cambridge, Mass.

Of course both Penn (20-6, 10-2 Ivy League) and Princeton (19-7, 10-2) still have their eyes on an NCAA slot with the league’s automatic qualifier that gets earned in the regular season since the league does not hold a tournament.

Penn hosts Cornell (14-13, 6-7) Saturday night in the Quakers’ salute to the seniors while Princeton hosts Columbia (6-21, 3-10).

Suffice to say that after the outcomes are decided on Saturday Penn then gets to travel Tuesday and go head-to-head for all the marbles against the four-time defending league champions, who are after a fifth in the first year out in the wake of the graduated Niveen Rasheed, who is playing in Greece.

Harvard, hoping that both Ivy southern teams lose, hosts Dartmouth looking for divine intervention to force a three-way tie.

If Penn finishes tied for second in the league with Harvard, the Quakers get the WNIT invite off a season sweep of the Crimson.

In the Princeton win, Alex Wheatley had 14 points while Nicole Hung scored 12.

The Tigers dominated the boards 48-34.

Down in Philadelphia, the fun continued for the Quakers, who reached 20 wins for just the second time ever and reached double digit wins in the league for the first time since 2004 and just the fourth time.

This week, Penn started with the postwomen shining as rookie Sydney Stipanovich got her 10th double double scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. She also had a few more blocks to total 93, which is the third best action in Ivy history.

Meanwhile, all did not go well with the two Big Five squads – St. Joseph’s and La Salle – in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals in Richmond, Va., while top-seeded Penn State suffered a disastrous exit in the Big Ten tournament getting upset by eighth-seeded Ohio State 99-82 in Indianapolis.

The 11th-ranked Lady Lions (22-7, 13-3 Big Ten), though carved by the Buckeyes (17-17, 5-11), are still NCAA bound and with a first-and-second round site in their Bryce Jordan Center, they’ll enjoy the comforts of home at the outset of the NCAA women’s tourney.

Ohio State shot 71,9 percent from the field and 71,4 percent on three-point attempts.

Ariel Edwards had 29 points, a career high, and 10 rebounds for the Lady Lions while Narberth’s Maggie Lucas, who is one of 15 Wooden Award finalists, had 21 points and became the conference and school career-leader in three-point shots connected when she reached 358 treys, one more than all-time PSU great Kelly Mazzante, who recently retired from playing the sport.

Wilmington’s Dara Taylor contributed 14 points.

Ohio State’s Ameryst Alston had 33 points while Cait Craft scored 24.

In the Atlantic10, Saint Joseph’s is no longer the defending champions after losing to George Washington 82-79 in overtime.

As a fifth seed, the loss by the Hawks (22-9) to the fourth seeded Colonials (21-9) might normally mean off to the WNIT but ESPN bracketologist Charlie Crème pointed out that Saint Joseph’s RPI at No. 20 and the fact the Hawks still have a better profile than most at-large hopefuls keeps them in the mix.

Sarah Fairbanks had 19 points for Saint Joseph’s while Erin Shields scored 17 points, Natsha Cloud had 13 points and eight assists, while Ashley Robinson and Ciara Andrews each scored 13.

George Washington’s Jonquel Jones had 30 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.

La Salle (15-15) also exited in the first round as second-seeded St, Bonaventure took a 54-42 win over the seventh-seeded Explorers, who are not likely to land anywhere in the post season.

Alicia Cropper had 18 points for La Salle and rookie Micahya Owens scored 14 points while Jasmine James grabbed 10 rebounds.

Hannah Little had 22 points for St. Bonaventure (23-9), who will meet Fordham in one semifinals while George Washington will play top-seeded Dayton in the other A-10 tourney game on Saturday.

Villanova remains idle until the Wildcats play Marquette Sunday in a Big East game in suburban Chicago.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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