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.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Guru's College Report: Caroline Coyer Carries Villanova Over St. John's

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Veteran Villanova coach Harry Perretta, who is used to jogging great distances, started out on a nostalgic path down memory lane Sunday afternoon but found the journey longer than he was ready to handle.

“That was as good a game, the way we executed on offense, as I can ever remember in a long time,” Perretta said after Villanova displayed extreme marksmanship in taking down St. John’s 81-69 at the Pavilion in a key Big East game for both teams.

The Wildcats (12-9, 6-3 Big East), who shot 60.7 percent from the field and 9-for-18 for 50 percent on 3-point attempts, have now bagged two prized conference heavyweights at home with wins this season.

The win was part of one of the better weekends of the season for the Guru's 10-team local PhilahoopsW group with Rutgers and Penn State posting Big Ten wins Sunday and Drexel topping Delaware.

In particular Sunday on the Main Line was the work of Catherine Coyer, who was accurate enough to win the equivalent of a moving van-size supply of stuffed animals in gaining a career-high 28 points, shooting 11-for-18 from the field, and 6-for-10 from beyond the arc.

The win over the Red Storm (15-5, 6-3), the ‘Cats first in seven tries, capped a roller-coaster week in which they took care of Penn at The Palestra to earn a piece of the Big Five title with the Quakers, then shot a bunch of blanks in losing here to first-place Seton Hall Friday night and then recovered two days later to stun St. John’s and move into a tie for fourth with the New Yorkers.

“I’m happy for our kids because we haven’t beaten St. John’s in a long time,” Perretta said.

Taylor Holeman, who had 14 points Sunday shooting 7-for-10 from the field on Sunday, was consistent and extraordinary in that three-game span shooting 22-for-39 for .564 and scoring 44 points.

The output was a season high for the Wildcats, who committed just 16 turnovers in their last three games, held opponents to just eight treys in the last four games, and on Sunday assisted 24 times on 34 field goals.

“We were really focused,” Perretta said.

Villanova came into the long-running series between the two allowing just 54.1 points game on this season’s opponents while St. John’s had yielded a near-meager 55.2 points a game.

Emily Leer also scored in double figures with 13 points, shooting 6-for-9 and 1-for-2 on trey attempts while Caroline’s twin sister Katherine scored nine points.

“I guess I like noon starts, you don’t get a lot of time to get anxious,” Caroline quipped. “But honestly, it was just one of those days.

“(Perretta) was asking me, `What were you thinking, offensively,’ and I said, `Why couldn’t we hit those shots two days ago.’ It just shows that any given day anybody can beat anybody.”

Danaejah Grant had 20 points for St. John’s, while Aliyyah Hanford scored 19 and Jade Walker scored 12.

“I thought Villanova played as well as I’ve seen them all year,” St. John’s coach Joe Tartamella said. “We were unable to slow them down offensively, which has been something our team has prided itself on against opponents all year.

“Coyer was tremendous for them.”

Villanova hits the road next week, traveling to Marquette in Milwaukee Friday night and to DePaul in Chicago Sunday, seeking a season-sweep against each of those opponents.

Drexel Holds Off Local Rival Delaware in CAA Action

Following the Villanova game, the Guru headed back into the city (the reason for the dual dateline) and arrived at Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center just after the Dragons built a 19-point halftime lead against their longtime local rival Blue Hens in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Then they held off a late Delaware surge that reduced the lead to just three points in the final minute before Drexel emerged with a 61-56 victory that gave the Dragons sole possession of second place behind CAA unbeaten James Madison.

Rachel Pearson had 17 points for Drexel (12-7, 6-2 CAA) and Sarah Curran scored 14 points while the Dragons showed great board work outrebounding the Blue Hens 39-22.

That’s two big back-to-back wins for coach Denise Dillon’s squad even though Delaware (8-11, 3-5) has been struggling this season. The Dragons hadn’t beaten Delaware at home since 2010 and picked the right day to do it since the greats of Drexel past were on hand for the alumni game as part of homecoming weekend festivities.

“I’m happy with the end result but we have a lot of room for growth,” Drexel coach Denise Dillon said. “We played a great first half but then had too many lapses in the second half with the turnovers.

“A team like Delaware is never going to go away. They fight, they battle, they compete, and that’s how our team has to play.”

Ironically, Delaware coach Tina Martin said the same thing in mirror reverse.

“Drexel is a very good team. They played like they should as one of the better teams in our league. When you go on the road you need to at least match their intensity.”

Martin expressed frustration with the roller coaster season and the fact that juniors and seniors were not focused for the game during the warmups.

“Drexel is one of our biggest rivals and I had never seen that before,” she said.

Erika Brown, who has been on a tear, scored 22 points while Courtni Green scored 16. But foul trouble to Joy Caracciolo cost Delaware one of its top rebounders.

The Blue Hens next host Towson Thursday back home in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark while Drexel stays in town to host College of Charleston on Friday night.

Rutgers Tops Minnesota in Big Ten Battle of Ranked Teams

Not counting a win at Arkansas in non-conference over a Razorbacks squad that lasted just one week in the Associated Press women’s poll, No. 25 Rutgers beat No. 21 Minnesota 66-61 at home in the Louis A. Brown Athletic Center for the Scarlet Knights’ first significant win over a ranked team after several failed efforts in six games involving ranked opponents.

Sophomore Tyler Scaife exploded for a season-high 28 points for Rutgers (14-5, 5-3 Big Ten), one off her career best while Betnijah Laney had 15 points and Kahleah Copper scored 13.

Amanda Zahui B had 36 points for Minnesota (16-4, 5-3), the most by a Rutgers foe this season and most since the 39 that Miami’s Riquana Williams had in a double overtime win three seasons ago. Recently, the previous high was achieved from Ohio State freshman sensation Kelsey Mitchell, who had 33 in a win over the Scarlet Knights on New Year’s Day.

Rutgers next heads to Purdue on Thursday and then hosts Penn State at noon on Sunday.

Penn State Edges Northwestern for Second Straight

The Lady Lions won their second straight for the first time this season in gaining another narrow triumph, this time beating the Wildcats 76-75 at home in the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.

Five players scored in double figures for the second straight game for Penn State (5-15, 2-7 Big Ten), the first time that has happened since 2011.

Alex Harris came off the bench for her first double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds while Kaliyah Mitchell had 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Reserve Peyton Whitted also scored 11 points off the bench while Candice Agee scored 10 points and while Sierra Moore had a team-high 18 points.

Maggie Lyon had 20 points for the Wildcats (14-5, 4-4), which may need some quick traction to stay in the NCAA hunt for an at-large bid if they don’t win the automatic bid that comes with the Big Ten title.

Penn State next goes to Minnesota Wednesday before staying on the road for Sunday’s trip to Rutgers to finish their two-game conference series in the regular season.

Division II: Streaking USP Wins Battle of CACC Leaders

The red hot University of the Sciences of Philadelphia squad, which is on top of the Southern Division of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, crossed over to the other side to travel to north jersey and captured another win – this time over the North-leading Caldwell University 81-62 for the Devils’ 12th straight.

Brianne Traub had 24 points and nine rebounds for USP (14-4, 10-1 CACC) while reserve Colleen Walsh had a career-high 17 points, Sarah Abbonizio scored 14 off the bench and Jessica Sylvester scored 15.

Emily Caswell had 24 points for Caldwell () and Nicole Angelo scored 12.

The Devils next host Felician College Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Bobby Morgan Arena in Southwest Philadelphia and the Guru may be on the scene if he isn’t spending Friday and Saturday at Harvard being visited by Princeton and Penn.

But with no Division I area teams home Saturday, the Devils should certainly be a prime choice for your viewing consideration.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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