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.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Guru's College Round Up: Penn Sinks Navy and La Salle Hits The Victory Board

Guru’s note: Information for games other than here in Maryland from the wires and team reports was used to compile the roundup. And your Guru apologizes for a late post but needed some shuteye after coming down here off an all-nighter from Friday working the previous post.

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Can this edition of the Penn women’s basketball program possibly surpass the noteworthy one that closed the books eight months ago with the Quakers’ third Ivy championship?

It’s too early to say for sure but the signs are definitely there after Penn put together a second straight solid effort beating Navy 60-51.

The Quakers won down here Saturday night at the Naval Academy for the first time ever and the outcome from the action in Alumni Hall only looks close because of the Midshipwomen narrowed a 22-point deficit in the final nine and a half minutes with a Villanova-like barrage of three-pointers.

“After going coming off a good win over La Salle and to be able to do the same thing for us would be a good step on the road if we could do it, and we did it tonight,” Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said afterwards.

“I thought we defended them very well. I give them a ton of credit. They hit a ton of threes late that were heavily guarded, we had a couple of breakdowns, but we’ll learn from that.”

Keiera Ray came off the bunch to lead Penn (2-1) with 22 points off 11-for-14 from the free throw line and connecting on 4-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-5 on 3-point attempts.

The inside attack continued to be a force with sophomore Sydney Stipanovich getting eight points and eight rebounds and she also blocked four shots while Kara Bonenberger had eight points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Rookie Michelle Nwokedi showed more promise of what she will bring when early in the game she nailed a pair of 3-pointers as the Quakers began to put distance between themselves and Navy.

“I thought it was good that she had the confidence to take those shots,” McLaughlin said.

Kathleen Roche added nine points to the Quaker attack that is showing signs of being deeper than last year.

“I work on my shots every day so if I keep practicing I’m going to hit those shots,” Ray said. “It’s amazing to be able to come down here and win on their court.”

Navy (1-2), much younger the bunch that either won or were in connection for Patriot League titles the last several years, connected on 11 three--pointers fueed by the air attack near the end.

Chloe Stapleton was the only Navy player to score in double figures, tallying 14 points and hitting four of the triplets while Danielle Poblarp had nine points and three of the other treys.

Sarah Reilly grabbed 10 rebounds.

“A lot of things impressed me about Penn,” said Navy coach Stefanie Pemper, now in her seventh season, but prior to that was an assistant at Ivy power Harvard.

“They’re playing a couple of freshman and they lost their perimeter player (Ivy player Alyssa Baron) and point guard (Meghan McCullouch), who was very good and I’m impressed how well they kind of know roles,” she said.

“We did a decent job on their two big kids and they still had kids who went to the basket at the right time,” Pemper continued. “I think what they run is good and for being only three games into the year I’m kind of impressed how well they know their roles.”

Penn next hosts New Hampshire on Tuesday night in The Palestra.

Elsewhere, two Big 5 teams were on opposite ends of narrow finishes with La Salle (1-2) winning its first game of the year just before time expired in the Tom Gola Arena, beating Howard 65-64 while Saint Joseph’s played its second straight overtime after edging Temple on Hawk Hill Tuesday night and fell at the finish at Liberty 76-75.

Drexel, bounced back from Wednesday’s 59-43 loss at Princeton to beat Colgate 59-51 at home in the Daskalakis Athletic Center to avenge last year’s road loss while Rutgers stayed unbeaten, winning a key road game at LSU 64-57, though the Tigers have been struggling since the start of the season.

Penn State was shocked for the second straight game at home, falling to Seton Hall 75-70 in a consolation final of the Preseason WNIT in what was a huge triumph for the visiting Pirates in the second straight year under Tony Bozzella.

And Temple, in the second game of the Naismith Hall of Fame Challenge, followed up Friday’s big win over Georgetown by getting routed by host Kansas 76-56. The Owls (2-2) play one more on the trip to Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence meeting Alabama Sunday afternoon.

Let’s go to the written tape.

Penn State Falls Again -- Chalk this up as a milestone for the visiting Pirates of Seton Hall (2-1), whose only lost to date is a narrow one at Big 12 power West Virginia and who hosts Saint Joseph’s this weekend among several teams in an invitational holiday tournament.

And also call it another sudden setback to the youthful Lady Lions (1-2), who fell last Sunday to 54-53 to Albany in the second round of the then-winners bracket of the Preseason WNIT in the first year after the Maggie Lucas era.

That’s two losses to mid-majors by a Big 10 team for those who are keeping count.

“We’re not that far away if we can fix a few small things,” Penn State coach Coquese Washington said afterwards. “I think our youth showed itself today, different possessions, different decisions. It’s tough to have a free throw with a chance to tie and not come away with it.

“Normally, we’re a good free throw shooting team but when you miss that many it hurts your chances to come back earlier.”

Ka-Deidre Simmons had a game and career--high 28 points, of which 23 came in the second half, for Seton Hall while Candice Agee had a career-high 21 points for Penn State.

However, after the Lady Lions had sliced almost all of an eight-point deficit with 1:09 left in regulation, she missed a chance to tie the game on a foul shot and the visitors connected on four straight from the charity stripe to conclude the contest.

Penn State sophomore Sierra Moore had her first career double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds while freshman Lindsey Spann scored 12 points and tied a career-high with 10 rebounds.

The Lady Lions host St. Bonaventure at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday as part of a double header with the PSU men, who will play Akron.

La Salle Gets Into the Victory Column -- Following a narrow loss at Temple in the season opener and a wipeout at Penn, the Explorers edged the Bisons as Amy Griffin, who finished with 11 points, scored on a fastbreak layup with nine seconds left in regulation.

Michaya Owens scored all 21 of her points in the first half where La Salle went to the break ahead 40-29.

Ebony Wells had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the home team.

Howard’s Cheyenne Brown had 24 points.

La Salle next hosts Manhattan at noon Tuesday.

Saint Joseph’s Edged on the Road -- Karly Buer connected on a second foul shot after missing the first to give the host Flames the overtime win in Lynchburg, Va., and even the series between the two teams.

Ciara Andrews had an open shot from midcourt to try to rescue the Hawks (1-2) but it hit the rim and bounced away as time expired.

The loss wasted a career effort from Natasha Cloud, who had a career-high 29 points and also q career one from Andrews, who scored 23.

Buer led four Liberty players in double figures with 15 points and a 16-4 run in the first half accounted for a major portion of the damage to the Hawks, who visit Drexel Tuesday night.

Saint Joseph’s was outrebound 53-32 but caused 20 turnovers and had 15 steals.

Drexel Tops Colgate -- The Dragons (2-1) led the all the way in this one as Sarah Curran scored 19 points, shooting 7-for-12 from the field, while Meghan Creighton scored 14 points and Rachel Pearson scored nine points.

As mentioned in the previous item directly above this one, the Dragons host Saint Joseph’s Tuesday night.

Rutgers Still Perfect -- The No. 22 Scarlet Knights (3-0) had to endure 15 lead changes and eight ties but prevailed 64-57 over the struggling Tigers (2-3).

Tyler Scaife scored 16 points for Rutgers, who next head to Wagner Tuesday night. Betnijah Laney had 10 points and a career-high 16 rebounds while Rachel Hollivay and reserve Briyona Canty each scored 13 points.

Temple Pounced by Jayhawks -- The Owls (2-2) got overwhelmed at the outset as Kansas (3-1) jumped to a 15-2 lead before Temple got closer at 17-8 before the Jayhawks responded to go up 29-10 and eventually lead by as many as 30 points.

A silver lining for Temple was the freshmen in the offense as Alliya Butts score 19 points and Tanaya Atkinson scored 12 to go with six rebounds. Safiya Martin had nine carooms to lead the Owls off the boards.

Chelsea Gardner had 22 points for the hosts who finish up their end playing Georgetown Sunday. The four teams will go to the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut next Sunday to play teams in the other quad and Temple will meet Harvard at 5 p.m.

“We knew were going to have problems with Gardner, so we tried to pack it in and their guards showed up and knocked down shots,” Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said.

“I feel in the second half our approach was a little bit different, we were a little more hungry. We found ways to get out in transition, but they just scored way too much early on for us to come back. It’s a learning experience for us and I hope we’ll take something away from this.”

Nationally Noted

The Guru had time to slip into Washington, where he will return Sunday night for the American-Princeton game, and a saw a half of a good one which was tied after 20 minutes before No. 9 Maryland from nearby College Park went on to a 75-65 win over the Colonials (2-2).

GW did manage to reduce the offensive thrust Maryland (4-0) had produced prior to the game, averaging 97 points with a 52-point scoring differential advantage.

Laurin Mincy had 23 points for the visitors, who also got 16 points and eight rebounds from Shatori Walker-Kimbrough while Lexi Brown had 14 points and five steals.

Jonquel Jones had 18 points and 10 rebounds for GWU while Caira Washington had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Colonials host Grambling at noon Monday while theTerrapins host Loyola-Maryland, whose staff is loaded with Saint Joseph’s DNA in coach Joe Logan, a former Cindy Griffin aide, and his aides Katie Kuester and Erin Shields, who are former Hawks stars.

That’s it until late Sunday night.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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