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, April 01, 2014

Guru's College Report: An Enhanced Look at the USBWA All-Americans

By Mel Greenberg

On Monday the 10-member women's all-Americans chosen by the membership of the United States Basketball Writers Association were announced.

Here is the link to the site that will cover most of the basics.

http://sportswriters.net/usbwa/news/2014/allamerica140331.html

Beyond that here are additional notes and also some enhanced information on some of the honoress as sent to the Guru from the sports information directors of the various university athletic programs represented.

This was compiled prior to the start of the Elite Eight round on Monday though at this hour at least five of the honorees -- three from UConn and two from Notre Dame -- have advanced with their teams to the Women's Final Four in Nashville, Tenn.

One more will be determined between Maryland's Alyssa Thomas, a three-time honoree, and Louisville's Shoni Schimmel when the two team meet Tuesday night while Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike and her Cardinal teammates can also advance with a win over North Carolina.

This is the first time since the Guru was been put in charge of coordinating women's basketball activities and honors for USBWA that there was a clear break between the 10 players receiving votes and the next two, who were ahead of everyone else but no close enough to the ten to seek consensus of opinion on the last several picks.

Maryland's Thomas, incidentally, join past honoree Crystal Langhorne, a star with the WNBA Washington Mystics, as a three-time selectee from the Terrapins.

With eight seniors picked this season the only repeat possibilities next season are sophomores Jewel Loyd of Notre Dame and Breanna Stewart.

This was Shoni Schimmel's first pick and second selectee from Louisville joining previous honoree Angel McCoughtry, an All-Star with the WNBA Atlanta Dream.

Freshman of the year will be announced later in the week while the coach of the year and Ann Meyers-Drysdale player of the year will be announced Sunday in the NCAA interview room 3:30 p.m. locale time prior to the tip of the first national semifinal game.

The Pat Summitt Most Courage Award will also be presented.

All credentialed media are invited though those who are not but wish to attend should email the Guru quickly poll416@gmail.com to establish access for that particular event as was done last year in New Orleans.

That said, here is some more on some of this year's honorees:

KAYLA McBRIDE, Notre Dame
Senior • Guard • 5-11 • Erie, Pa. (Villa Maria Academy)

As not only the ACC Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team all-ACC choice, but also a unanimous first-team All-America pick by espnW and a prime candidate for numerous National Player of the Year and additional All-America honors, McBride’s play already was receiving notice on several levels, but she’s taken that effort up more than a notch this season.

McBride is averaging career highs in scoring (17.4 ppg.), rebounding (5.3 rpg.), assists (3.9 apg.) and assist/turnover ratio (1.93), ranking among the top 15 in the ACC in scoring (10th), free throw percentage (2nd - .882; also 12th in nation), assist/turnover ratio (4th), assists (eighth) and three-point percentage (10th - .376).

In addition, McBride shares the team lead with 12 20-point games, has a double-double to her credit (23 points/11 rebounds at No. 3 Duke on Feb. 2) and a team-best 10 “5-5-5” games (at least “5” in three of the five statistical categories – points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals).

Yet, what puts McBride a cut above virtually every other player in the land in her uncanny ability to raise her game on the biggest stages. In Notre Dame’s 12 games against Top 25 opponents this season, she is averaging 19.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game with a .456 field goal percentage (89-of-195). She’s even better against top-10 teams, averaging 22.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game with a .505 field goal percentage (51-of-101) in those six outings.

In fact, dating back to last season, McBride is averaging 18.6 points per game in her last 26 games against ranked opponents, including 10 20-point games.


JEWELL LOYD, Notre Dame
Sophomore • Guard • 5-10 • Lincolnwood, Ill. (Niles West)

Loyd has continued her development as one of the top young talents in the country this season, already collecting espnW second-team All-America and ACC Tournament MVP honors, plus first-team all-ACC and All-ACC Defensive Team accolades, in addition to being a central figure on virtually every major national player of the year watch list.

The Lincolnwood, Ill., product currently ranks seventh in the ACC in scoring (18.5 ppg.), sixth in free throw percentage (.824), eighth in field goal percentage (.529) and tied for 12th in steals (1.6 spg.), while sporting career-high marks in scoring, rebounding (6.4 rpg.), assists (2.2 apg.), steals, field goal percentage and free throw percentage. She also has a team-high 12 20-point games thus far (including a career-high 31 points at No. 8/6 Maryland on Jan. 27) after scoring 20 points twice during her rookie campaign.

What’s more, Loyd has two 30-point games to her credit this season, having also dropped in an even 30 against Central Michigan on Dec. 22 at Purcell Pavilion. Loyd is the first Fighting Irish player to have two 30-point games in the same season since 1999-2000, when Ruth Riley did so against Liberty (32) and Miami (36).

Perhaps giving a preview of things to come, Loyd stormed out of the gates this season, piling up 63 points in Notre Dame’s first three games, wins over UNC Wilmington (19 points), No. 19/18 Michigan State (22 points) and Valparaiso (22 points).

Loyd’s opening-week point production was the highest for a Fighting Irish player in the first three contests of a season since 1998-99, when Danielle Green had 66 combined points in wins against No. 6 UCLA at home (23 points), at Butler (23) and No. 6/4 Duke at home (20).

STEFANI DOLSON, Connecticut
Senior * Center * 6-5 * Port Jervis, N.Y.

Dolson, the 2013-14 American Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Sportsmanship Award winner, is enjoying a stellar senior campaign, averaging 12.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. The senior ranks 12th on UConn's all-time scoring list with 1,747 career points and became only the fifth Husky all-time, along with Tina Charles, Maya Moore, Rebecca Lobo, and Jamelle Elliott, to register at least 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

BRIA HARTLEY, Connecticut
Senior * Guard * 5-8 * North Babylon, N.Y.

Hartley, an American Athletic Conference First Team member, ranks second on the team with 16.5 points per game and now sits in ninth place in UConn scoring history with 1,942 points, including 20 points in the Huskies' second round win over Saint Joseph's on Tuesday. The guard became just the third Husky, joining Moore and Diana Taurasi, to register 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists. Earlier this month, Hartley was selected as a semifinalist for the James E. Sullivan Award, which honors the nation's outstanding amateur athlete.

BREANNA STEWART, Connecticut
Sophomore * Forward * 6-4 * North Syracuse, N.Y.

Stewart has been one of the nation's most prolific players in the 2013-14 season, earning both American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and espnW Player of the Year accolades. The sophomore is averaging a team-high 19.7 points per game and has reached double digits in 27 straight games. Stewart was recently chosen as one of four finalists for the 2014 Naismith Trophy, which is awarded annually to the nation's top collegiate basketball player.

All three UConn players are included on the John R. Wooden Award Final Ballot and were selected to the American Athletic Conference First Team and All-Tournament Team.

MAGGIE LUCAS, Penn State
Senior * Guard * 5-10 * Narberth, Pa.

Lucas closed out one of the most prolific careers in Penn State and Big Ten history. The two-time Big Ten Player of the Year ranks second at Penn State and fourth in Big Ten in career scoring with 2,510 points. She owns the Big Ten and Penn State record wit 365 career three-pointers, which also ranks 12th in NCAA history.

She is also one of the most prolific free throw shooters in conference and school history. Lucas owns the free throw percentage mark for both the Big Ten and Penn State at a .907 career clip and has broke the Lady Lion record for career free throws made (547) and single-season free throws with 185 this year.

A three-time All-Big Ten first team selection, Lucas is the only player in school history and just the sixth player in the Big Ten to accumulate 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists and 200 steals.

SHONI, SCHIMMEL, Louisville
Senior * Guard * 5-9 * Mission, Ore.

Schimmel is leading the Cardinals in scoring with 17.0 points per game. She also leads the Cardinals in assists with 3.8 per game.

She recently became just the second player in school history to score 2,000 career points along with former standout Angel McCoughtry. She currently ranks second on Louisville's all-time scoring list with 2,124 points.

Recently Schimmel was named a second team All-American by ESPNW and earned WBCA Region I honors. She was named a first team All-American Athletic Conference and earned all-tournament honors.






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