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.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Rob Knox's Guru Group Division II Previews: Phila. U Looks to Repeat Division Triumph in the CACC

By ROB KNOX (@knoxrob1)

The rugged Southern Division of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference figures to be an entertaining battle royale between city schools Philadelphia University, picked first by the CACC coaches for the division, Holy Family and University of the Sciences for conference and city supremacy again this season.

Since a separate feature was filed on West Chester, here’s a brief look at the rest of the Division II women’s basketball programs in the guru’s Philadelphia coverage area (Philadelphia, Holy Family, USP, Goldey-Beacom, Chestnut Hill, Wilmington, Cheyney and The Lincoln University).

Philadelphia, Holy Family and University of the Sciences all received one first-place vote in the CACC South Division preseason coaches’ poll.

Philadelphia University, which went 17-2 in league play and claimed the South, looks imposing once again, as the Rams bring back a trio of All-CACC honorees highlighted by senior guard Najah Jacobs, a first-team All-CACC selection, who led the Rams in scoring last season with a 14.6 point per game average.

Junior forward Tori Arnao (10.1 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game) and senior guard Monica Schacker (12.1 points per game) each earned All-CACC third team honors.

Holy Family University, which lost in the CACC semifinals along with Philadelphia University last season, earned 78 total points to land in second in the preseason poll, while University of the Sciences was right behind with 69 points.

Holy Family, which starts the season Friday in a Tip-Off Classic hosted by Saint Michael's College, is coming off an 18-10 season in which it qualified for the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) tournament for the 11th straight season during the program's NCAA era.

Sixth-year coach Mike Miller has nine returning players from last season, including All-CACC third team selection Erin Fenningham.

The junior guard averaged career-highs with 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Sophomore Jill Conroy returns as the team's second leading scorer from a year ago as she averaged 9.3 points per game.

Other key performers for Holy Family this season will include senior Reagan Jewell, junior Kim Legen, junior Kasey Woetzel and sophomore Yasmin Walker.

The University of the Sciences will be formidable again as it returns its top three scorers from last season in Brianne Traub (19.7 points per game), Camille McPherson (14.9) and Jessica Sylvester (11.2).

Traub was a Daktronics All-Region second team selection and McPherson was the CACC Rookie of the Year.

The Devils enjoyed an 18-9 record last season despite falling in the quarterfinals to Caldwell. Also returning for the Devils is Isabella Ross, who was eighth in the conference in the CACC in rebounding (8.7).

Goldey-Beacom was picked to finish fourth in the CACC Southern Division. The Lightning posted a 15-15 record last year and advanced to the championship game of the ECAC Division II Tournament. They return four letter winners from last year's team, including senior guard Lillian Chukwueze, who earned second team All-CACC honors last year after averaging 16.0 points per game. The Lightning begin the season against Division II reigning national champion Bentley at the Merrimack tournament.

Chestnut Hill College was picked to tie for fifth with Georgian Court. The Griffins finished the 2013-2014 campaign with an 8-18 overall mark. They will be led by seniors Olivia Gorczynski, Shayla Felder and Tenisha Townsend-Mobley.

Gorczynski led the Griffins in scoring (13.8 points), 3-pointers (71), 3-point percentage (.353), free-throw percentage (61-of-74, .824), and steals (41). Townsend-Mobley averaged 9.7 points per game and 5.5 rebounds-per-game. Felder contributed 8.2 points per outing and handed out 45 assists while collecting 23 steals.

In her third year as head coach, Tiffany Silver will look to senior Cari Callaway and junior Tenicia Spence to help Wilmington bounce back from a 7-19 season.

Spence, a second-team All-CACC selection averaged 20.4 points per outing last season, which was second in the conference. Callaway added 7.1 points per contest. Sophomore Jasmine Lee added 6.9 points per outing.

In the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference’s Eastern Division, third-year Cheyney head coach Kyle Adams believes his Lady Wolves have the pieces to contend for a playoff spot.

He commented that “we are definitely better this year and I think we have a legit shot at being in the top six and earning a playoff spot.”

The Lady Wolves, who were picked to finish ninth in the East, brought in five new players to go along with the six returnees.

The Lady Wolves return three of their top four scorers from a year ago (Amber Genwright, Kia Whitley-Duncan and Kyra Hines-Allen).

Whitley-Duncan paced Cheyney in five different categories: points per game (11.4), field goals made (9.8), assists (four), steals (1.6) and minutes (34.3). She also netted 20 over more points in three contests including a career high 34 in a victory over Mansfield.

The Harrisonburg, Virginia native also tallied double figures in six of Cheyney's last seven contests. Genwright was the only Cheyney player to start every contest last year. Newcomers Lila Jones, Taschell Phillips and TaKayla Ellis have all impressed in practice and are primed for the rigors of the PSAC.

In the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and 25 minutes down Route 1 from Cheyney, The Lincoln University is poised to make some noise this season.

The Lady Lions have some hefty expectations placed upon them as the season starts as they were picked to finish third overall in the CIAA Northern Division behind Virginia State and Virginia Union.

The experienced Lady Lions return eight players from last season’s team that defeated Division I Morgan State and won a game in the CIAA tournament against Winston Salem-State.

Lincoln University’s top players will be senior Courtney Lucas, juniors Zephrah Pam, Amani Clark and Courtney Smith. Pam was chosen to the 12-member preseason All-CIAA Team.

Last season, Pam had eight double-doubles in which six games were against CIAA institutions. She ranked second in the CIAA conference in offensive rebounding (109) and ranked third in both total rebounds (241) and rebounds per game (9.3). Pam led the Lady Lions in rebounding in 15 games, had 12 double-digit scoring games, had 10 or more rebounds in nine games, and led them in scoring in six games.

Clark is one of most explosive and exciting guards in the Atlantic Region. She averaged 9.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game and was second on the team with 69 steals.

Her running mate, Smith led the Lady Lions with 53 made 3-pointers, was second with 71 assists, and third in steals with 49. The Lady Lions open the season Saturday against West Virginia State at 2:00 p.m.

The games start Friday and The Lincoln University will play CACC schools Wilmington, Goldey Beacon, Chestnut Hill and Philadelphia this season.

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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