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, January 31, 2015

Guru's College Report: Winners' Night as Princeton, Penn, Villanova, and Drexel Go 4-0

BY MEL GREENBERG @womhoopsguru

Drexel kept on course here Friday night at the Dragon’s Daskalakis Athletic Center with a 64-47 win over Charleston to continue as the second best team right now in the Colonial Athletic Association

Villanova’s Caroline Coyer didn’t cool off all that much five days later in the Midwest after setting a career high in a in Sunday’s home win at St. John’s.

.And 19th-ranked Princeton and Penn ruled Harvard and Dartmouth, respectively, in the first half of the Ivy southern duo’s weekend in New England and now switch sites to finish off the furthest trip in the league 24 hours later.

Let’s start with one of the hottest teams in the nation – the flying Tigers of unbeaten Princeton who now are dealing paybacks in their new season of history.

When last checking in with Courtney Banghart’s squad early in the new year of 2015 Princeton launched Ivy play at home in Jadwin Gym against its travel partner Penn by avenging the upset loss at the end of last season that snapped the Tigers’ run of four straight league titles and enabled the Quakers to win their third crown in league history.

Then came the annual three-week hiatus for exams which a year ago accumulated some rust as Princeton returned to action promptly being upset at home by Harvard.

So what might happen this time against the always dangerous Crimson playing them up in Cambridge, Mass.

Would you believe a 50-point 96-46 wipeout that put Harvard’s attempt to return to power in danger of being extinguished if both Penn and Princeton complete a sweep of the longtime past alternating powers Saturday night.

Blake Dietrick, who has been monopolizing Ivy player of the week awards, set herself up to perhaps collect another on Monday after scoring 18 points by connecting on 7-of-11 field goals, including 4-of-6 missiles from beyond the arc for the Tigers (18-0, 2-0 Ivy).

She also dealt six assists, grabbed four rebounds and had three swipes.

Amanda Berntsen set a career high with 17 points, shooting 6-for-7 from the field while Alex Wheatley collected 15 points and Vanessa Smith tallied 14.

Currently No. 1 in mid-major polls, the only other Ivy men’s or women’s squad to exceed this season’s run to date is the 1970-71 Penn men who were 28-0.

This is the eighth time this season Princeton built a 30-point lead.
The last Ivy team to get that many points against Harvard was by the Crimson’s northern travel partner Dartmouth, also 96, on March 7, 2000.

In all the Tigers shot 59,3 percent from the field (35-for-59) and 60.0 percent on three-point attempts (9-for-15).

Temi Fagbenle, the English Olympian, was the only player in double figures for Harvard (8-9, 1-2), scoring 13 points. Princeton, which is at Dartmouth 6 p.m. Saturday, outrebounded the Crimson 47-34.

Penn Handles Dartmouth 55-39

The Quakers joined Princeton in the payback department, succeeding at a place in which their run to glory last season became a disruptive bump along the way.

Wearing the title of Big Five co-champions for the first time ever – which may be amended on Wednesday if Saint Joseph’s beat La Salle – Penn plunged back into its Ivy business the rest of the way by securing its largest margin of victory at Leede Arena while making it the second straight game holding an opponent under 40 points.

Sydney Stipanovich had a game-high 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds while adding three blocks for Penn (10-6, 1-1 Ivy).

The sophomore now has 147 blocks in her career to move into 12th on the Ivy charts in the category.

Kara Bonenberger had nine points and 10 rebounds against the Big Green (10-7, 1-2).

Penn dominated the boards, 44-28.

The Quakers now head to Lavietes Pavilion for a 6 p.m. tip at Harvard that will air on ESPN3 as they attempt to win in Cambridge in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000-01.

Villanova’s Hot Hand Continues at Marquette

The Wildcats began play in the second half of the Big East schedule by completing a season-sweep of Marquette 75-59 in Milwaukee.

Caroline Coyer, who set a career-high Sunday back in the Pavilion with 28 points against St. John’s, had 26 this time in shooting 9-for-15 from the field and connecting on 3-for-4 three-point attempts for Villanova (13-9, 7-3 Big East).

Taylor Holeman and freshman sensation Alex Louin each scored 12 points to keep the Golden Eagles (4-17, 0-10) winless in league play. Kavunaa Edwards had nine points and eight rebounds.

Villanova shot 50 percent on three-point attempts as a team and also shot 50 percent from the field (29-of-58).

The Wildcats, who have won 10 of their last 12 after finally getting fully healthy, will be looking for a season sweep of preseason favorite DePaul when they travel to Chicago on Sunday to meet the Blue Demons in a game that will air at 3 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia.

In all, Coyer has scored 54 points, connected on 20-of-33 field goal attempts and 9-of-13 threes her last two games. Holeman is 28-for-52 from the field and has scored 56 points her last four games.

The Wildcats, with a reputation of winning with defense and a patient offensive attack, have scored 155 points the last two games and allowed just 10 three-pointers the last five games.

The NCAA leader is fewest turnovers made, coach Harry Perretta’s squad committed just eight against Marquette, the fourth straight and 14th overall this season for single digit turnovers.

Drexel Downs Charleston

Rachel Pearson and Sarah Curran each scored 18 points for Drexel (13-7, 7-2 CAA), though got all hers with six 3-pointers in a win over the Cougars (4-11, 2-7) to stay in sole possession of second place, two back of James Madison, which is unbeaten in conference play.

The Dragons are one ahead of Hofstra, which Drexel has a 1-1 split on the season and hosts Delaware Sunday while coach Denise Dillon’s squad heads to UNCW for a 1 p.m. tip in Wilmington, N.C. and looking for a season-sweep after a 58-53 win here earlier this month.

Additionally, Alexis Smith had 10 points while Jamila Thompson grabbed 10 rebounds.

Jackie Luna-Castro had 14 points for Charleston while Breanna Bolden scored 10 points.

“Charleston came out at the start of the second half and put some quick points on the board but after one timeout I just told our players just focus on defense,” Dillon said.

“Don’t get caught up in the offense because when we start thinking on offense, especially against a matchup (zone), we start turning it over and panicking a little bit,” she continued.

“And that was when we settled into start executing and getting the stops we needed.”

Looking Ahead

Repeating from the last report, the only local D-1s in action are both on the road with the Atlantic 10 duo of Saint Joseph’s at conference newcomer Davidson on Saturday and La Salle at VCU.

The Guru will be crossing over to D-2 land and visiting USciences going after the Devils’ 13th straight win when they host Felician in a 1 p.m. Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference game.

On Sunday, second-ranked Connecticut visits Temple at 2 p.m.in an American Conference at McGonigle Hall, while Penn State is at No. 22 Rutrgers at noon for the second of their two Big Ten contests this season.

Villanova and Drexel and Delaware have been mentioned above.

That’s it for the moment.

--- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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