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, January 30, 2015

Guru's College Report: Delaware and Rutgers Triumph While St. Joe's Edged

BY MEL GREENBERG @womhoopsguru

NEWARK, Del. --
Delaware’s 72-54 win over Towson Thursday night in a Colonial Athletic Association game at the Bob Carpenter Center was a different as the Blue Hens visiting Drexel in a loss Sunday in Philadelphia or the first meeting of the season between Thursday night’s foes 20 days ago that resulted in a 56-49 loss to the Tigers down in Towson, Md.

Beyond the boxscore, Delaware veteran coach Tina Martin had the reasons to explain one of the better performances of the season by the Blue Hens (9-11, 4-5 CAA).

“One, we’re home,” she began her list of reasons. “Two, I don’t know, I do believe we’ve grown up a little bit.

“This has been quite the year. We’ve just been on this roller coaster ride,” she referred to the game-to-game swings in performance. “I keep telling the kids, I want to stabilize. I want to stabilize.

“We come home and they love the fans here. That gets everybody going. If your blood can’t be pumping when you’re playing in front of a couple of thousand people than something is wrong with you.

“Plus our kids want to play well here. They’re in to it here. I just want to stabilize. I want us to go on the road and get some good quality wins. And I want to continue to play well at home in front of our home crowds.

“We’re a much more of an attacking, aggressive team now against the pressure now and it’s paid off big time. I mean teams that have been pressing us, we’ve been making them play.”

Four players scored in double figures for Delaware, paced by Courtni Green, who had a game-high 23 points while Hannah Jardine had a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Erika Brown also had 14 points and Joy Caracciolo scored 10 points. Additionally, Makeda Nicholas grabbed nine rebounds.
LaTorroi Hines-Allen, whom Martin called a first team all-CAA star, had 17 points for Towson (8-13, 4-5) while Camille Alberson scored 10.

Next up is a visit to Hofstra (13-7, 6-3 after Thursday’s win) on Sunday as Delaware looks for a season-sweep and then a return to here next Thursday to host Northeastern.

Philly-Area Duo Pace Rutgers at Purdue

Philadelphia’s Kahleah Copper had 21 points while Betnijah Laney from nearby Clayton, Del., had her 13th double double of the season with 18 points and 14 rebounds as No. 22 Rutgers grabbed a 58-49 Big Ten win at Purdue at the Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.

They were the only ones to hit double digits for the Scarlet Knights (15-5, 6-3 Big Ten), who are now 9-1 on the road this season.

Whitney Bays had 16 points while Ashley Morrissette scored 11 for the host Boilermakers 10-11, 3-7).

The victory was the 175th in the conference for Rutgers Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer, including 169 when she previously coached Iowa, and needs one more to tie former Penn State coach Rene Portland for most wins in intra-conference competition.

Ironically, Rutgers will host the Lady Lions at noon Sunday looking for a two-game sweep on the season series.

Stringer, who now is 424-211 at Rutgers needs 10 more to pass Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame former Rutgers coach Theresa Grentz, who came out of retirement this season to help Dianne Nolan at Lafayette.

On Wednesday night, in a game the Guru was at, which he’ll get to in a minute playing catch-up in the local report, Grentz helped preside over host Lafayette rally from a 25-point deficit to edge Colgate at home at the Kirby Sports Center in a Patriot League game in Easton, Pa.

“I had a good run,” Grentz quipped prior to that game when the Guru noted that people were catching up to some of her milestones on all-time coaching lists. For example, Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale needs one more poll appearance to match Grentz at 225, though the Sooners, who just returned to the rankings for the first time in several seasons, fell in a narrow Big-12 loss to Texas Thursday night.

Saint Joseph’s Edged by St. Louis

The Stipanovich clan of St. Louis has become trouble for Saint Joseph’s

Sadie of St. Louis University and the midwest city of the arch hit a game-winning layup Thursday afternoon with five seconds left in regulation to lead the Billikens over the Hawks 52-51 in an Atlantic Ten game at Chaifetz Arena that was delayed a day due to travel problems for the visitors related to this week’s weather problems.

Earlier this month, Sadie’s cousin Sydney, a sophomore star at Penn, was instrumental in leading the Quakers to a rare win over Saint Joseph’s in The Palestra that helped Penn move on to a three-game victory total in Big Five competition for the first time in the same season, leading to a tie with Villanova for the City Series championship.

Saint Joseph’s can make it a threesome by beating La Salle at home next Wednesday night but nothing has been easy for the Hawks this season as Thursday’s result demonstrates.

Sadie Stipanovich hit one of two foul shots with 1:58 left in regulation to bring the Billikens within a point of the Hawks (6-13, 2-5 A-10) at 50-49.

Neither team scored on their ensuing possessions and then the Hawks’ Natasha Cloud missed a shot giving St. Louis opportunities in the final moments of the game.

The Billikens missed the game-winning attempt but Stipanovich grabbed the rebound off the bounce off the rim and scored before Cloud’s long attempt missed to end the game.

Saint Joseph’s, coming off a home win over St. Bonaventure last Saturday led trailed 16-8 before surging on a 19-0 run by holding St. Louis to 0-for-10 from the field over the stretch.

But the Billikens worked their way back into contention to set up their narrow victory.

Cloud and Ashley Robinson led the Hawks with 12 points each while Stipanovich had 18 points for the Billikens (11-10, 4-4 A-10).

The Hawks will stay on the road for a visit to conference newcomer Davidson at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Lafayette Stirring Rally Edges Colgate at the Finish

In what has become a season of revival at Lafayette, Wednesday night’s 58-56 victory over Colgate at home in Easton, Pa., was one of the most impressive, perhaps in NCAA history, in terms of comebacks.

Furthermore, the winning play by junior Jamie O’Hare was a dazzler that made its way across the internet and onto such nationally-respected sports websites as Sports Illustrated.

“It was definitely a tale of two halves,” Lafayette coach Dianne Nolan understated the flow of the night in which Colgate (3-17, 2-7 Patriot League) led by as many as 25 points near the end of the first half.

Then the Leopards (11-9, 4-5) began slicing away until the final minutes when the game became competitive and was reminiscent of Lafayette’s narrow non-conference triumph over Penn at home earlier this season.

Late in the game Nolan’s team, in which Upper Darby’s Emily Homan, the star attraction, had been bottled up early, finally caught the Raiders and were knotted up in the final minute.

That’s when the spotlight shifted to junior Jamie O’Hare bounced the ball off a Colgate player’s back and grabbed it and shot an improbable reverse layup over her shoulder for what became the winning points.

O’Hare, who had a game-high 18 points said afterwards she recalled the play from practice.

Homan, one of the all-time Lafayette scoring leaders who also has starred in the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women’s Summer League, finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Anna Ptasinski scored 11.

Colgate’s Josie Stockill had 14 points and Carole Harris scored 10.

Lafayette is attempting to get its first winning season since 1997-98.

The previous best-ever rally under Nolan, who previously had a longtime stint with some Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titles at Fairfield, was two seasons ago when the Leopards trailed Bucknell.

Nolan said she couldn’t remember ever being involved in a comeback from so deep a deficit.

“It sure felt like it,” she said. “At halftime collectively as a staff we said collectively we have to do some different things.

“We went back to our old plays and give the kids credit, they went out and executed. We got our hands up higher and a little closer to knock rebounds away from the rim.”

Besides the attention of Grentz, mentioned in an item earlier in this post, Nolan has added two bright young assistants this season in C.K. Calhoun, who previously spent two seasons as the head coach at Shenandoah in Virginia, and Ross James, who was a graduate assistant at Texas Woman’s University.

Penn State Stopped at Minnesota

After two straight wins at home to get untracked, the Lady Lions went on the road Wednesday night and fell at Minnesota 75-64 in a Big Ten contest in Minneapolis.

A 20-3 run was wasted as Minnesota (17-4, 6-3 Big Ten), which fell out of the Associated Press poll this week after a brief return, was 10-for-33 on three-point attempts compared to the Lady Lions’ 3-for-11 while the Gophers shot 19-for-24 from the line compared to 11-for-12 by Penn State (5-16, 2-8).

Amanda Zahui B. had a triple double for the Gophers, scoring 16 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking 12 shots. Shae Kelly scored 18 points and Mikayla Bailey scored 16 while Carlie Wagner scored 12. Shayne Mullaney dealt 12 assists.

Zahui B.’s triple double was her second, a Minnesota record, as were the 12 blocked shots, which tied a Big Ten single game record for rejections. In all, 15 blocked shots by the Gophers tied a school record set against Iowa on Jan. 30, 1981.

Sophomore Peyton Whitted, with a career-high, and Lindsey Spann tied for team honors for Penn State with 16 points each and Candice Agee scored 12.

The Lady Lions, as previously mentioned, next head to Rutgers for a noon game Sunday trying to avoid a sweep by the Scarlet Knights, who are in their first season in the Big Ten.

However, the two teams in the 1980s used to battle for supremacy in the Atlantic 10.

Temple Completes Sweep of UCF

As the Guru finishes catching up from earlier games, the luck of the American Conference schedule put Temple in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday night, out of harm’s way from weather problems and the Owls enjoyed the sunny weather by taking a 71-54 victory over UCF.

The win was the third straight for Temple (10-11, 6-2 AAC), though a big bump is just ahead with the second of the two-game experience against second ranked and defending NCAA champion Connecticut is just ahead at 2 p.m. Sunday at home in McGonigle Hall.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma will be going for his 899th win, all at UConn, against one of his former assistants in Temple’s Tonya Cardoza.

Against UCF (7-13, 3-6), five players scored in double figures for the Owls with Erica Covile collecting 17 points to go with her eight rebounds while Tyonna Williams had 13 points, Tanaya Atkinson scored 12, Alliya Butts, the AAC freshman of the week, and Feyonda Fitzgerald each scored 11.

Nationally Noted

There were some interesting items from Thursday’s results elsewhere from around the country.

Old Dominion’s Jennie Simmons had 45 points, tying the top NCAA individual scoring high this season, in an 80-67 win by ODU (12-7, 5-3 C-USA) over FIU (3-15, 0-7). Kelsey Plum of Washington in the Pac-12 also had 45 in a game this season.

Illiinois had another upset bid foiled when No. 15 Nebraska emerged at home with a 59-57 victory in the Big Ten.

The treys were flying in Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena in a Big Ten matchup but more fell in favor of No. 20 Iowa,which took a 102-99 victory.

The two teams set an NCAA single-game record, combining for 32 3-pointers, 19 by the Hawkeyes (17-3, 8-1 Big Ten) and 13 by the Wildcats.

The previous mark was 31 combined with Mississippi getting 17 and Bowling Green scoring 14 on Nov. 26, 1999.

The 19 treys by Iowa are a program and conference single game record.

Nia Coffey had a career-high 35 points for Northwestern fueled by 12 treys.

After getting back into the AP poll for the first time this season, No. 24 Oklahoma was edged by No. 14 Texas 84-81 in double overtime in a Big 12 game that became Karen Aston’s 150th career victory counting previous stints at Charlotte and North Texas.

Freshman Arie Atkins had 21 points for the Longhorns (15-4, 4-4 Big 12) over the Sooners (13-6, 7-1), who had been unbeaten in conference play.

South Carolina is now 20-0 as the top-ranked Gamecocks cruised over Alabama 85-54 in a Southeastern Conference game at home in Columbia as the collision with second ranked Connecticut in non-conference action looms ahead a week from Monday in Storrs at Gampel Pavilion on campus.

The Huskies have announced the game is sold out.

Besides South Carolina being unbeaten in the conference, Tennessee remained likewise after the No. 6 Lady Vols edged No. 10 Kentucky 73-72 on the road in Lexington on the first road trip to a Top 10 opponent since 2008.

Kentucky had won 12 straight at home.

No. 5 Maryland the other Big Ten newcomer besides Rutgers stayed perfect in conference play with a 91-65 win at Michigan in Lansing to put the Terrapins at 18-2 overall and 9-0 in the conference. Lauren Mincy had 24 points against the Wolverines (13-7, 5-4).

Hartford coach Jen Rizzotti picked up her 300th win after Deanna Mayza scored with 28.4 seconds left in regulation to give the Hawks a 60-58 win at Stony Brook in an America East game that improved them to 11-11, 5-3.

Looking Ahead

On Friday among the Guru’s 10-team PhilahoopsW group No. 19 and unbeaten Princeton is hoping not to be rusted as opposed to rested when the Tigers travel to Harvard after three weeks of inactivity due to the annual hiatus for finals.

A year ago after having handled Penn in the Ivy opener before the break, in a reverse of this year’s schedule, the Tigers, who were the four-time defending Ivy champs, were upset in Jadwin Gym by Harvard, who the next time then were routed by Penn in The Palestra to level the playing field.

Ultimately, Penn prevailed at the end upsetting Princeton in the final game on the Ivy schedule after the two were tied going into the last game.

Princeton routed Penn again several weeks ago so this weekend will be a pretty good indicator of how the race may go the rest of the way. The Tigers continue on the New England trip Saturday to Dartmouth.

Penn is making the same sweep in reverse opening at Dartmouth Friday night hoping for a sweep on the most difficult trip in terms of travel time in the Ivies.

Villanova will try to feed off its win Sunday at home against St. John’s when the Wildcats travel to Marquette going for a season sweep in the Big East.

In the only other Friday game involving the Guru’s group, he will be at Drexel, which will try to stay alone in second in the CAA when the Dragons host the College of Charleston at the Daskalakis Athletic Center at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, besides the Ivy duo, the only other two PhilahoopsW teams in action are the A-10 duo of Saint Joseph’s, which as previously mentioned is at Davidson, and La Salle, which is at VCU.

So the Guru will either visit D2-USciences (See Rob Knox’s feature below), formerly known as USP, or return to Lafayette, which is hosting Navy.

On Sunday, as mentioned, Connecticut visits Temple in McGonigle Hall, where a building attendance record was set last season when the two played in the smaller of the two athletic venues on Broad Street.

The only other locals not mentioned, which are both on the road, Villanova continues its Midwest swing looking to complete a sweep at DePaul while Drexel heads to UNCW.

And that is the report for now.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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