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, December 21, 2014

Guru's College Report: Villanova Shocked By Sacred Heart While Drexel Beats Penn

By Mel Greenberg

Sacred Heart’s Hannah Kimmel found her own way to ensure an enjoyable family dinner over Christmas highlighting the Pioneers blazing their way out of a four-game losing streak to a first-ever win over Villanova, 72-49, at the Wildcats’ Pavilion Saturday night.

Kimmel, a redshirt junior who missed successive seasons with injuries and whose sister Lindsey graduated from Villanova and began her collegiate participation at Temple, set a career mark – this is her first season – with 33 points, including 6-for-8 from three-point range. She also grabbed 10 rebounds.

“I just didn’t want to her it over Christmas break from my sister how Villanova beat us and I’m glad we finally got a win and got back on track.”

Gabrielle Washington, who also was working back from injury, also produced a doiuble double performance with 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while connecting on 6-for-9 from beyond the arc.

A trey from Adaysha Williams brought the team total of treys to 13 on the night.

“I can never predict the kind of team that is going to show up, but I know the kind of team we can be,” said second-year coach Jessica Mannetti, a former Hofstra assistant after Sacred Heart (5-5) got back to .500.

“Today we had a funny moment on our bench where our point guard said in on our bench in a very direct way she was tried of losing and the whole team kind of rallied with her and we started off the game with this great momentum and this great cohesion and that’s the outcome.”

Using what is usually the Villanova weapon of choice in the 3-point shot, the Pioneers fired away to an 18-0 lead and never were threatened the rest of the way.

Like Villanova (3-7), which finally had everyone in uniform for the first time this season in what was the second straight of only two team home games to date – the first Pavilion appearance was a week ago Sunday in what became a 70-36 Big Five wipeout of La Salle – Sacred Heart is also finally healthy.

“What happened is we had Hannah at the beginning of the season and Gabby has been working her way back in and you have to find a chemistry where you have two very dynamic scorers on the floor and today was the day that happened.”

Villanova’s senior Emily Leer, who played her first game in the La Salle win after being out with back problems, had 12 points off the bench in 13 minutes while Caroline Coyer also scored in double figures with 10 points and Kendall Burton grabbed 10 rebounds.

Caroline’s twin sister Katherine played her first game in several weeks after being sidelined with a knee injury and had two points off her only shooting attempt in 12 minutes, and Samantha Wilkes, who returned for the first time earlier this month in the narrow low at Saint Joseph’s, had three points off a shot triplet connection.

Villanova shot 25.7 percent from the field in the first half during which the Pioneers drove to a 45-22 lead and shot 30.6 percent for the entire event.

“We should have stayed with eight instead of playing with 11,” veteran Villanova coach Harry Perretta jested. “I told you before, playing with more players isn’t necessarily better. Now you have to play them all.”

Villanova had won all three previous games with Sacred Heart by close scores, including an overtime triumph in Fairfield, Conn., last season.

“That’s like last week when we played La Salle,” Perretta said of a similar lopsided score in which Villanova was on the high end of the outcome. “Did you think La Salle was that bad?

“It is what it is. How many times have shot over 32 percent in a basketball game this year – once (last week). So now we were back shooting 30 percent right back to normal and we get killed.

“But we would have lost if we shot 50 percent because the difference is when you shoot 30 percent you can’t beat anybody.”

After getting schooled ahead of Monday’s education day the Wildcats will return to the Pavilion for an 11:30 a.m. tip against Temple with both teams alive at 1-1 for at least a piece of the Big Five title courtesy of Saint Joseph’s recent rate loss to Penn, which is unbeaten in City Series play at 2-0 but not unbeaten in the city following Saturday afternoon’s loss up the street at Drexel.

The winner of Monday’s game can win the Big 5 outright at 3-1 – usually a 4-0 sweep is necessary – if both teams beat Penn and La Salle later on in the Atlantic 10 schedule beats Saint Joseph’s.

Drexel Rallies to Beat Penn

PHILADELPHIA – Earlier in the day the Guru was in West Philadelphia not far from Villanova for the neighbor hood battle between Drexel and Penn, who are only several blocks apart in terms of their campus activities.

Penn walked up 33rd street for their trip to the Dragons’ Daskalakis Athletic Center and in a season nationally in which many teams are doing things for the first time in years – good and bad per team – it looked like Penn might end a 39-year drought in Drexel’s building where they last won in 1977 and that game had to go into overtime.

The Quakers built s 36-26 lead with 17 minutes and 14 seconds left in the game and then went into a drought, being outscored on a 17-0 run until Kara Bonenberger’s layup finally got the Penn side of the scoreboard moving.

Penn got back within two points twice but Drexel pulled away for good after the second of the two narrow differentials and the Quakers next shot to win at the DAC won’t be until the 2016-17 season, though players individually have won games in pick-up action in the summer when the two teams get together on their own in Penn’s fabled Palestra and Drexel’s venue.

“The last 16 minutes were the difference,” Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said.

“When we don’t score, we show vulnerability on defense. When we score we are good on both ends, obviously. “We got up 10 and didn’t score for five or six minutes and got out of the flow. I give (Drexel) credit, they made some really good shots.

“We could never but together a stop with a shot and I thought they really outplayed us those 16 minutes.”

Jackie Schluth, whose collegiate career got off to a late start after missing successive seasons with ACL knee injuries, had 18 points for Drexel (5-4), who recently lost junior point guard Meghan Creighton to a season-ending knee injury.

Sarah Curran scored 16 points, while Carrie Alexander scored 15.

Kathleen Roche scored 17 points for Penn (4-4) and Bonenberger had 10 points but ultimately fouled out while Sydney Stipanovich was in foul trouble and limited to eight points as both had to contend with Drexel post player Jamila Thompson, who had seven points and seven rebounds.

Drexel reserve Kelsi Lidge had eight points.

The Dragons shot 59.1 percent in the second half and 52.3 percent for the game.

“Obviously they had to play more zone because they wanted to and because of fouls and thankfully we stayed composed and moved to the ball and found some open spots and knocked down some shots,” Drexel coach Denise Dillon said.

Drexel was 20-for-26 from the line while Penn was 6-for-10.
“The difference with Jackie is it has to be a mentality playing aggressively. It’s not just going to happen. People aren’t going to disappear,” Dillon referred to defenders. “I got on her a little bit at halftime and she came out in the second half, wanted the basketball, didn’t think about it and shot it aggressively.

“the other thing is she’s a worker and she works in the weight room and with her conditionally level (being healthy again, also) she’s stronger and her legs are behind her to make those shots.

“One thing Carrie can do is she’s a scoring guard so she can create her own shot. So it’s just her understanding of when we need her to execute our offense and when we need her to create her own.”

After the holiday break, Drexel will be at Virginia playing Miami (Ohio) December 28 and the host Cavaliers the next day before beginning play in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Penn returns to two home games in the Palestra, playing UMBC December 29 at 7 p.m. and King’s College on New Year’s Eve in a 1 p.m. matinee game.

On Jan. 5 the Quakers will host Temple with a chance to clinch at least a tie for the Big 5, which would be an all-time City Series victory total in a Penn season. Then on Jan. 10 the defending Ivy champions will oven defense of their crown at dangerous Princeton, scene of last March’s dramatic upset by the Quakers to land their third-ever league title.

Princeton Wallops Portland State

The red-hot Tigers (12-0) may have lost some RPI value in beating Portland State 104-33 Friday night at home in Jadwin Gym to get coach Courtney Banghart her 150th victory but they stayed unbeaten, continuing the best start ever for the men or women of Princeton and second best overall among league members in either gender to the Penn men’s 28-0 mark.

It’s the first-ever 100-point plus performance in Princeton women’s history, topping the 99 points at Yale 2013 on the way to a fourth-straight Ivy crown.

The Portland State 1-9 record is the cause of Princeton going from 11th to 20th overnight in the NCAA daily RPI report.

“Far and away Princeton belongs in the Top 25,” Penn coach McLaughlin said Saturday before the Drexel game.

Annie Tarakchian had 16 points and 11 rebounds Friday night while Blake Dietrick, the reigning Ivy player of the week, and Amanda Berntsen each scored 14 points, and Michelle Miller scored 12.

On Sunday Princeton will make the short trip in central New Jersey to visit in-state rival Monmouth.

Two other of the Guru’s 10-team PhilahoopsW group of local schools also play Sunday with Saint Joseph’s visiting No. 21 Notre Dame – Hawks are the alma mater of Irish Women’s Hall of Fame coach Muffet McGraw.

Penn State will host USF of The American Conference.

Rutgers Tops Iona

The No. 17 Scarlet Knights (9-2) finished their non-conference portion of the schedule with a 66-58 win against the Gaels (4-6) across the Hudson River in New Rochelle, N.Y.

The two losses were at home in double overtime to then-No. 6 North Carolina in a thriller and to then-No. 11 Tennessee.

While Betnijah Laney spends a brief time on the sidelines with a sprained thumb, Syeesence Davis took advantage of being the replacement by scoring 12 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dealing 9 assists in a near triple double performance.

Kahleah Copper had a team high 19 points while Tyler Scaife scored 11 all for Rutgers.

Iona’s Damika Martinez, the nation’s second leading scorer, had a game-high 22 points, most coming in the second half.

Rutgers is now off until making its Big Ten debut next Sunday at Indiana.

La Salle Snaps Skid

The Explorers earned a split in the GSU Holiday @ Hoops Classic in Atlanta Saturday to end a brief two-game losing streak by beating host Georgia State 76-68 Saturday evening.

The two-day event format involved predetermined games rather than the normal winners bracket advance structure and on Friday La Salle dropped a 74-63 result to Ohio U, which improved to 7-2.

In the opener freshman Amy Griffin scored a career-high 20 points and Khristin Lee from nearby Birmingham, Ala., had 11 points.

In Sunday’s game, La Salle (7-4) gained its win over Georgia State (5-4) by closing out with a 13-5 finish.

Michaya Owens had 20 points to earn all-tournament honors with Griffin.

Indigo Dickens had a career-high 12 points against the tournament hosts.

Next up for the Explorers is a visit from Fairfield to the Tom Gola Arena next Sunday.

Delaware Swept in Ohio

The Blue Hens fell to host Cincinnati 67-59 Saturday night in a first-ever meeting with the Bearcats (2-8) to extend Delaware’s losing streak to three games – a run that began at home Tuesday with Princeton and then continued on Friday in Cincinnati with a 63-58 setback to Northern Kentucky (7-5).

In the Cincinnati game Erika Brown and Hannah Jardine each scored 13 points and Courtni Green scored 11 points.

On Friday when a rally fell short, Jardine had a career-high 18 points while Green scored 12 points.

“You can make as many excuses as you want, but the bottom line is we lost a basketball game,” Delaware coach Tina Martin said after the setback to the Bearcats of The American Conference.

“ It’s tough because with a young team things can turn quickly,” she continued.

“We have to get to the point for this young group that it tastes really bad for them to lose. We want to win these games, but you have to hate losing. It’s frustrating. I feel this team is getting there, but we haven’t gotten over the hump yet.”

Delaware will finish its non-conference play at home on Dec. 29 against Rider of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Nationally Noted

No. 11 Tennessee beat No.7 Stanford in Knoxville, Saturday, making it two straight losses for the Cardinal in the Volunteer State this week following Chattanooga’s win over Stanford earlier this week.

Chattanooga has a prior win over Tennessee to add to it s win this week over Stanford giving UTC a chance to get ranked.

If that happens, coach Jim Foster will be the first team to have four different teams in the AP Poll joining Saint Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, and Ohio State.

And added to a setback to Texas, if Stanford falls out of the Top 10 then Connecticut will be the only one to be in the Top 10 every week this decade.

Duke had been with the other two until falling out last week.

Lehigh fell to Arizona State as the list of unbeaten teams starts to dwindle and could fall further today if Lehigh beats Northwestern in Las Vegas, though it will fall when No. 3 Texas meets No. 4 Texas A&M in College Station since the Aggies and Longhorns both have perfect records at the moment.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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