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.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Guru's College Report: Delaware Rallies Past Temple and Much More

Guru note: An item from Tuesday’s Penn at Lafayette game is in this roundup since the Guru did not do a post afterwards and it was the game on the Guru’s immediate schedule.

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Home was not sweet to Temple but the Liacouras Center was certainly a quality nearby road stop for Delaware Wednesday night as the Blue Hens rallied to snap a three-game losing streak to the Owls and head back to Newark with a 69-58 victory to even things up at 3-3.

Temple had done likewise on Sunday to get to the same record up in Connecticut when the Owls rallied to beat Harvard but whatever energy was added to the fuel supply was quickly extinguished in the second half as the Blue Hens erupted with a 13-2 run to stay in front the rest of the way.

The 700th win in the history of the Delaware program was highlighted by Erika Brown’s 23 points matched a career-high while Courtni Green nailed three trtiplets and finished with 19 points. Makeda Nicholas also scored in double figures with 10 points.

Stephanie Leon, named as a nominee earlier in the day to the Good Works watch set a career high with nine rebounds, one less than her Delaware teammate Joy Caracciolo, who had 10.

Delaware evened the series with Temple at 11-11, though it was the first win over the Owls in 22 seasons.

“Our defense was the most important thing tonight and really set the tone,” Delaware coach Tina Martin said afterwards.

“Our kids kept their composure and we saw a lot of growth and improvement from this group,” Martin added.

“This was a whole team effort, and that’s really what it takes – everyone knowing their role and playing their part. This is a big, solid win on the road for us and I couldn’t be prouder of this group.”

The same couldn’t be said from Temple coach Tonya Cardoza, who expressed her disappointment over the Owls (3-4) vanishing after the half at which they held a 28-25 lead.

“The second half, they’re knocking down some shots and it’s like we got defeated right in the first minute of the half and it’s like we couldn’t recover from that,” she said.

“We didn’t play with passion and toughness in the second half. We just came out of the lockerroom and just showed up just to play and Delaware wanted it and they took it right to us,” Cardoza continued.

“They had a lot of confidence and they attacked. That’s not definitely what you want to happen … “

Feyonda Fitzgerald had a team-high 15 points while Alliya Butts had 10 and also grabbed five steals for Temple.

Erica Coville had nine points and 10 rebounds while freshman Tanaya Atkinson had 15 rebounds.

Both squads, who are part of the Guru’s 10-team PhilahoopsW group play again in their respective homes on Sunday with Delaware hosting Bucknell in the Bob Carpenter Center and Temple, now in The American conference, hosting former A-10 rival Fordham in McGonigle Hall, where the Owls are playing most of their games again this season.

La Salle Surge Hits Five

After the early dive in the first week of the season La Salle has now erased the the plunge with a five game win streak that claimed host Robert Morris Wednesday 75-61 in Western Pennsylvania.

A monstrous first half saw La Salle (2-4) connect with six of six three-point attempts on the way to a 45-27 and the Explorers finished with 10 overall from behind the arc.

“This was one of the better first halves we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said coach Jeff Williams, now in his fifth season with the team.

“I’m excited with the way we’re starting to play but we have to play better defensively and learn to close teams out. We let them back in the game.”

La Salle can match the six-game streak that has been the previous longest back in 2012 when William & Mary visits the Tom Gola Arena on Saturday.

Alicia Cropper scored 22 for La Salle while Micahya Owens, the reigning Big 5 player of the week, had 13 points, Siobham Beslow had 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Jasmine Alston scored 10.

Anna Stamolamprou led Robert Morris (2-4) with 19 points.

Villanova Ruled by Providence in Big East Opener

Tori Rule came up golden for host Providence with 22 points and the game-winning layup with two seconds left in regulation to beat Villanova 51-49 in the Big East opener for both teams.

What’s that you say? Didn’t the Wildcats (2-5) own the Friars (2-5) winning 18 of 22 previous games in their long-running series.

Well, yeah, but if you missed one of the four setbacks in which a very good Villanova squad squandered a 19-point lead in the same town, another Providence rally was divine in this one in overcoming a 17-point deficit that Villanova posted in the first half.

Taylor Holeman had 15 points and Caroline Coyer had 13 but her twin sister Katherine has now joined the injured lists that has had Emily Leer (back) and Samantha Wilks (knee) sidelined all season to date at Villanova.

Villanova’s eighth and final contest of a season-opening eight-game road trip at least gets the Wildcats closer to home when they visit Saint Joseph’s Sunday afternoon for a key matchup in the Big 5 race.

It’s the Wildcats’ first City Series action of the season while it is the second for the defending champion Hawks, who beat Temple at home in overtime, but will also play a second straight Big 5 game next Tuesday traveling to Penn at The Palestra.

Lafayette Living Large After Beating Penn

Visiting Lafayette up in Easton, Pa., on Tuesday night for the Leopards’ game against Penn brought the Guru into a time warp backwards afterwards as he joined head coach Dianne Nolan of South Jersey and assistant coach Theresa Grentz and her husband Carl for some postgame sociality at a downtown establishment after the home team survived the Quakers 60-57 in the Kirby Sports Center.

Just like the days when the former Immaculata great and women’s basketball hall of famer would be on hand with Carl and others after big wins when Grentz was the head coach at Saint Joseph’s, Rutgers and Illinois, every aspect of the contest was relived in an hour or so of conversation.

“I just thought it was a great game to watch with both teams being sort of equal,” Carl said.

Nolan managed to coax Grentz back to the sidelines on her staff that also includes former Shenandoah coach C.K. Calhoun as a newcomer and Ross James and the turnaround has been noticeable so far.

“Isn’t this like old times?” Nolan said at one point listening to the banter.

Nolan was a longtime head coach at Fairfield and then spent a a short stint as an aide at Yale before taking over the Leopards five seasons ago.

There are dreams of a possible Patriot League title, a vision also believed possible for several other teams, so mark down the New Year’s even matinee tilt when defending champion Army comes calling in the league opener.

For that matter, also mark down this Sunday when the Leopards visit Seton Hall, which has undergone a dynamic revival in Tony Bozella’s two seasons to date, including a recent host tournament win over Saint Joseph’s and Wednesday’s Big East-opening 79-74 win at Creighton.

As for the Penn game, the short of it in terms of the Lafayette win was the Elena Delle Donne impersonation of the former Delaware great and WNBA All-Star by Emily Homan, who poured down 29 points for the Leopards (4-2) and handled the skyscraper post presence of Sydney Stipanovich and Kara Bonenberger on the defending Ivy champions (3-2).

Ashley Lutz added 11 points.

It was a tough setback for the visiting team, who after dealing with the rout at then-No. 4 Tennessee, began to roll with an opening three-game win streak.

There were several momentum swings and moments the Quakers are probably wincing watching the game film that aLmost had a happy ending before a rebound bounce off the rim enabled Lafayette to retain possession and Jamie O’Hare scored a go-ahead jumper 58-57 with 27 seconds left.

Penn still had a chance and Anna Ross had a chance to be a heroine but her open shot inside hit the rim short with five seconds left, Lutz got the rebound, and then went to the line to score the final two points of the game with two seconds left.

“I thought we were chasing ourselves the whole game,” Pernn coach Mike McLaughlin said afterwards. “We struggled to get into our rhythm. Usually our defense gets us going on the offensive end.

“They did a good job against our zone and our man so I give them a lot of credit but we just couldn’t get into a flow. We had opportunities but couldn’t come up with the ball at the right time. We had a chance to win. Anna did a great job there, it just didn’t fall for us.”

As for Homan, who has been one of the better players in the Philly summer league, which also had Penn’s Bonenberger and Kathleen Roche play this summer, McLaughlin said, “She was really good tonight. We just didn’t have an answer for her.

“We tried to double her at times, we played off her at times, she was the difference in the game. She was the best player on the floor.”

Penn gets a chance to get back on track when Hampton visits Friday at The Palestra in the only game on the Guru’s PhilahoopsW slate. Then its time to return to the Big 5 race, which the Quakers came close to claiming last season.

Looking Ahead

Three games mark Thursday’s action highlighted by a ranking clash within the Big 10/ACC challenge when No. 6 North Carolina visits No. 18 Rutgers at 7 p.m. in the nationally televised contest.

Lehigh, another Patriot League team with ambitions, visits Saint Joseph’s, and Penn State, saddled with a five-game losing streak travels to nationally-ranked Syracuse in another Big 10/ACC Challenge game.

On Saturday, besides the La Salle game mentioned on the local slate, Georgetown visits unbeaten Princeton, off to the best start in the Tigers’ program history at 7-0, and Drexel plays St. Bonaventure in the opener of the Brown tournament.

Ranking the Locals

OK, here we go with the Guru’s first local ranking of the entire P:hilahoopsW crowd.

1. Rutgers – Unbeaten at 7-0 and credit to the talent on the roster.
2. Princeton – Unbeaten but can’t be one when figuring what might happen against the Tigers’ New Jersey neighbor.
3. Drexel – A win over Saint Joseph’s and then things begin to trickle.
4. Penn – would be three but a slight mark down losing on the road.
5. La Salle – On a roll for the moment.
6. Saint Joseph’s – It’s the losses that stop Hawks from being higher.
7. Delaware – By default.
8. Temple – Losses to two above and narrow win over La Salle becomes a wash.
9. (tie) Villanova – more wins than PSU.
10. Penn State – maybe Syracuse game turns things around.

That’s the report for now. The Guru will be tweeting from Rutgers and tracking the other two games.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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