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, November 22, 2014

The Guru College Report: Temple Routs Georgetown; Lauren Hill Scores Again

Guru’s note: team and wire reports were used to help compile quotes and iother information for this report.

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Temple roared back from its narrow overtime Big 5 setback on Tuesday night to romp over Georgetown 81-58 in the opener of the Naismith Hall of Fame Challenge Friday night at the historic Kansas Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.

In the other game the host Jayhawks fell to Alabama 85-80 and the four teams will continue in a round-robin format Saturday and Sunday before all four will head to the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., next Sunday to meet teams from the other quad with Temple slated to meet Harvard at 5 p.m.

The Owls (2-1) play Kansas (2-1) Saturday at 5 p.m. and then meet Alabama (2-2) on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The Hoyas (2-2) play Alabama Saturday and Kansas Sunday.

Temple’s Tyonna Williams, who nearly beat the Hoyas (2-2) of the Big East with one eye closed because of a poke in the other eye at practice Thursday, scored a game-high 21 points.

Two other of the Guru’s 10-team PhilahoopsW group also played with Villanova getting its first win of the season out west with a 50-43 win at Cal-State Fullerton while Delaware got thumped in a day game at East Carolina, 89-60.

Nationally, Lauren Hill, of Division III Mount St. Joseph’s in Cincinnati who is coping with an inoperable brain tumor, joined her teammates in tournament in Cleveland and entered the second half action to score another basket following the two field goals in her emotional season-opener on Nov. 2 at Xavier’s Cintas Center back home.

Father Judge graduate Joe McKeown of Philadelphia reached his 600th career victory win as his Northwestern Wildcats beat Kent State 72-54 with the milestone including a long run at George Washington in the nation’s capital and his first Division I head coaching job at New Mexico State.

Apparently having less trouble scheduling each other, which had been avoided because of their longtime friendship, Notre Dame coach Muffett McGraw of No. 3 Notre Dame put on a rout of her former Saint Joseph’s boss Jim Foster as the Irish destroyed his Chattanooga squad 88-53 in South Bend, Ind.

Both Philly coaches are in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Former Oklahoma star Stacey Dales, a key player in the school’s rise to national prominence in the early part of the last decade, had her number 21 retired in Norman before the Sooners topped Bradley 104-55. She is is the school’s first female-athlete to have her number retired.
Dales played on the 2002 NCAA runnerup squad to Connecticut and was drafted by the Washington Mystics and also went into broadcasting, doing analysis work for ESPN right out of college.;

Host Towson edged Rider 53-51 in a Preseason WNIT consolation game.

In the Temple game, freshman Tanaya Atkinson scored 15 points, sophomore Feyonda Fitzgerald scored 13, and Erica Coville scored 10 and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Owls beat the Hoyas for the second time in their now-six game series and first time since February, 1982.

Three Georgetown players – Katie McCormack, Faith Woodard, and Dominique Vitalis each scored team-highs of 10 points, each.

When the two squads last met in Washington in January, 2013, the only current Temple players who were involved were Coville and Williams in what became down the stretch a narrow loss.

“It was big for us to rebound, we played a tough team today from a good conference, there was some bad blood between us because of some comments they made before the season,” Williams said.

“Knowing some of the stuff they said and to come out and get a big lead early and keep that lead, to put our foot on the gas, it felt good. And you definitely want a win like that coming off a loss.”

As for playing with the injury, Williams said, “Honestly, it was really hard to see out of this eye.

“It was kind of funny, though, everyone said I was going to have a good game today, since my shot has been off the last few days. It’s nothing big, obviously I was able to play and play my part, my role. It’s not going to be a big deal tomorrow, either.”

Temple coach Tonya Cardoza was pleased at her group’s resilency after the loss to the Hawks.

“It was a huge win after having such a close game with Saint Joe’s on the road. It was a big comeback from us. We’re a young team, traveling all the way to Kansas to face Georgetown,” Cardoza said.

“I thought our guys handled themselves well. I know after the game at Saint Joes’s they were bothered by that and they wanted to make sure they came out today and proved a point.”

As for Williams playing through the injury, Cardoza said, “This was a big game for T, she got poked in the eye yesterday and her eye is completely shut, so we weren’t even sure she was going to play today.

“But we had confidence that today might be that day, because she wouldn’t be focusing on shooting the basketball and she had a great night from the floor and definitely got us on the run.

“She was huge for us, she was a confidence booster for our young guys and she set the tone.”

Unlike the games in the win at home over La Salle and the Saint Joseph’s matchup, this time the Owls held a lead once they took control.

“That’s something that we talked about, when you have a team down, you have to put them away,” Cardoza said.

“And today, once that lead grew, we talked about that and made sure that it didn’t slip away, and grew that lead,” she added.

“ With a young team, sometimes that happens where you let teams back in. I told them during one of the timeouts, that this was going to be big for us, to see if we can now progress and make the lead larger,” Cardoza said.

“They responded to that. I’m proud of the effort and we also got some guys some good minutes, which is big. I thought right from the start we took it right to them and we didn’t back down. We were on the offensive boards and that’s what they’re really good at.

“They’re a pressing team and early on they couldn’t even press us, so there was some really good things that happened.”

Villanova Gets Its First Triumph

After two tough losses to host Chattanooga and South Florida in the tournament in Tennessee, the Wildcats went West on a one-game trip and third of their eight-straight road travels and used their three-ball proficiency to top Cal-State Fullerton 50-43, in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

The team against the winless Titans (0-3) served as a homecoming trip for Villanova’s Taylor Holeman.

Five different Wildcats combined to nail 11 triplets, with eight of them coming in the first half to go with one regular field goal for a total of nine.

Coach Harry Perretta’s squad was back in command of its ball-control acumen, committing only six turnovers after putting up double digit miscues in both games last week. But going the other way Villanova gained 15 points from Fullerton’s mistakes.

Caroline Coyer had 15 points for Villanova and freshman Alex Louin continued her fine play with 14 points. Fullerton’s Chante Smith was the only opponent player in double figures with 14 points.

The Wildcats next head to the Gulf Coast Showcase tournament next weekend in Naples, Fla., meeting Arizona State on Saturday, Wis.-Green Bay or Georgia Tech on Saturday, and either Connecticut, Charleston, Vanderbilt or Minnesota on Sunday.

Delaware Downed at East Carolina

The Blue Hens ventured into the South Friday morning and fell to the Pirates, a newcomer this season to The American, 89-60, unable to succeed in phase of their game.

Coach Tina Martin’s team (1-2) committed 27 turnovers to help the Pirates (4-0) stay unbeaten.

East Carolina got 31 points out of the Delaware mistakes while the Pirates plundered the paint with 38 points and scored 13 second-chance points.

Courtni Green had 18 points for Delaware, Erika Brown had 10 points, and freshman Makeda Nicholas grabbed seven rebounds.

Jasmine Phillips topped four ECU players in double figures with 20 points.

“We did a lot of things fundamentally wrong today and gave up some very uncharacteristic turnovers,” Martin said afterwards. “We didn’t handle their pressure well at all and were overwhelmed physically as ECU is bigger, stronger, and quicker than us in every position.

“It’s the third game of the season.We played a better opponent and the game got away from us and snowballed, no question about it. We’ll get back home now and work on our fundamentals. We have to get better.”

It was the worst ball handling for Delaware since the 2009 season when the Blue Hens committed 27 and 29 against Hofstra.

The Blue Hens next host defending Atlantic 10 champion Fordham on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

Looking Ahead

Besides the Temple game, the action picks up elsewhere in the PhilahoopsW group with Penn visiting Navy Saturday night where the Quakers have never beaten the Midshipwomen.

The Guru plans to be there with perhaps an afternoon stop at George Washington for the Maryland game. And staying in the nation’s capital, he will make a Sunday night visit to American for the Princeton game.

No. 22 Rutgers travels to LSU for the second test of the season for the Scarlet Knights. Colgate visits Drexel at 2 p.m., the same time Saint Joseph’s will be in Virginia playing Liberty. And La Salle, looking for its first win, hosts Howard at 4 p.m.

Penn State, in a consolation WNIT game will be hosting Seton Hall in a good test for both teams at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Nationally Noted

Hill Scores Again Though reports earlier in the week suggested Division III Mount St. Joseph’s freshman Lauren Hill, who is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, might not play again, she did allow that if she felt up to it in a given situation, she could see action again.

Apparently that’s what happened Friday night when she traveled with her parents to Berea, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland to be with the Lions against Bethany College in the opener of the Baldwin Wallace Invitational.

During the game, according to Cleveland.com, she kept pestering coach Dan Benjamin to get in the game and warned him she was beginning to fade before she got inserted into the lineup and scored her third basket after the two she scored in her first game on Nov. 2, which was billed as “The Last Game,” among others because of her terminal diagnosis.

Maybe, since we now have two appearances by the 19-year-old Hill, who was given the United States Basketball Writers Association Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award at halftime of that game with Summitt herself making a special trip for the presentation, perhaps we should go back and re-edit the event as “The First Hurrah.”

Here is the link from the Cleveland Plain Dealer report of Friday’s event. http://www.cleveland.com/sports/college/index.ssf/2014/11/one_more_layup_for_lauren_hill.html

Joe McKeown of Northwestern in the Wildcats’ Welsh-Ryan Arena after victory No;. 600 and 3-0 on the season: “It’s very humbling. As a coach you’re always coaching your next game. I looked at some of the coaches on the video board (NU filmed in advance in anticipation including the Guru, which was done at Big 10 media day) that helped me over the years like (former NBA Boston Celtics coach) Red Auerbach, Gary Blair, Pat Summitt, that just really were there to help me when things were tough.

“And Cheryl Reeve, who coaches in the WNBA and was named to the Olympic team and is one of the great coaches.

“I wish we didn’t have to play Kent State (his alma mater) tonight. So go Flashes, too. It’s just a fun place to be right now.”

A Nurse for UConn's Offense. Reports out of Connecticut from the Huskies’ practice on Friday have coach Geno Auriemma saying one of his prized freshman Canadian Rachel Nurse, a niece of former Eagles quarter back Donovan McNabb, was going to start Sunday in the home opener against Creighton following Monday’s upset loss in overtime at Stanford.

If things work well, they can’t write that Nurse was just what the doctor ordered for UConn’s offense because the doctor, as the Guru reported last weekend, Tom Trojian, is now down here in Philadelphia as the head of Drexel’s sports medicine.

Incidentally, perhaps Creighton’s star player junior Maissa Janning owes UConn for being named Big East preseason player of the year by the conference coaches.

After all, since the Huskies remained with the football side of things when the old Big East broke apart a year ago, the path was cleared for Janning when the new member Blue Jays joined, since otherwise Breanna Stewart would have been blocking the path to that distinction.

And that’s the report for now.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

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