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 05, 2015

Guru Report: Sources Say Seattle's Brian Agler to Fill L.A. Vacancy

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Up here Sunday for the annual Maggie Dixon Classic, which had a different twist this year with Division III Immaculata and Division II Queens in the first game reliving their historic matchup of 40 years ago when the then two powerhouses of women’s basketball matched up to play the first-ever women’s game in Madison Square Garden.

By now you know the results with Queens topping the Mighty Macs 76-60 in an entertaining game in which the greats of yesteryear were in the arena to watch their descendants play.

In the nightcap No. 2 Connecticut beat St. John’s 70-54 though the Red Storm could take the satisfaction of holding the Huskies to their lowest scoring total of the season and since they are no longer in the same conference could still emerge unbeaten in the realigned Big East.

Normally this would be an occasion to have a few moments with the WNBA Landladies New York Liberty about life in the offseason and plans ahead.

However, the only individuals spotted were prominent ghosts of Liberty past – such as former Rutgers great Sue Wicks, who held a forum, Teresa Weatherspoon, former Liberty coach Anne Donovan now with the WNBA Connecticut Sun and several others.

Basically, the current Liberty apparatus was visibly invisible, especially since the organization has yet to replace Bill Laimbeer, whom they let go.

However, since the Guru was being housed here overnight till moment to do a requested ESPN interview for a special project, while dining he received word from a solid source that musical chairs are going to occur elsewhere in the league, perhaps as early as Monday.

Multiple sources confirm Seattle’s Brian Agler will be moving to Los Angeles to fill the position vacated when Carol Ross was let go in early summer and general manager Penny Toler took the position herself for the remainder of the season but had no intent of remaining on the bench.

Agler had been through here recently on the other side of the Hudson when Seattle earned the No. 1 draft pick in the lottery.

Meanwhile, Agler’s top assistant Jenny Boucek, a former Virginia star who also held a previous WNBA head coaching job, is considered one of the frontrunners to replace Agler.

AP Poll History Coming Monday???

There’s a chance that UT Chattanooga will return to the Associated Predss women’s poll on Monday for the first time in a long time and if it happens, Jim Foster will become the first coach to take four different teams into the rankings, having also coached Saint Joseph’s, Vanderbilt and Ohio State to Top 20 and Top 25 stature.

Also, with the number of teams in the lower portion of the most recent AP poll taking hits, Princeton, one of the very few unbeaten teams left in the nation, is a prime contender to give the Ivy League a second residency following the one two years ago when the Tigers appeared in the final poll of 2013.

Princeton can finish its non-conference schedule unbeaten Monday night when the Tigers visit Hampton, which, despite struggling, could be nice little workout for coach Courtney Banghart’s charges.

Then comes Saturday’s Ivy League opener at the scene of last season’s closing day shocker when Penn snapped a tie and Princeton’s four-year run in Jadwin Gym to claim the Quakers’ third-ever league crown.

But while the Tigers and Quakers fans are looking to the league opener, Penn has some big local fish to fry Monday night when a suddenly red-hot Temple team visits the Palestra.

By being 2-0 and upsetting defending champion Saint Joseph’s for only the second-time ever, a win would clinch at least a tie for the title. A sweep would be attainable by then beating Villanova, which will be visiting in a few weeks.

If Penn loses, the Quakers could still get to a tie by beating the Wildcats. Saint Joseph’s at 2-1 could be involved in a deadlock finish if the Quakers take a hit in either game and the Hawks beat La Salle in what would be one of two Atlantic 10 games the two teams must play against each other on the league schedule.

Maybe the Quakers should have played the Owls and Wildcats earlier.

Temple, with Erica Coville posting four straight double doubles, is off to a 3-0 start in The American Conference and getting closer to .500 while Villanova, which has been banged up by injuries, got their Sunday when the Wildcats dominated Marquette to move to 2-1 in the Big East and 5-1 since Emily Leer returned the middle of last month.

Saint Joseph’s finally got untracked just in time for the second season by beating VCU at home in Hagan Arena Saturday night to win their Atlantic 10 League opener.

Now comes a great opportunity since Saint Joseph’s travels to the nation’s capital on Wednesday night to visit George Washington, which grabbed its league opener Sunday upsetting preseason favorite Dayton on the road to end the nation’s longest home court win streak.

Meanwhile, La Salle beat A-10 newcomer Davidson Sunday at home to win the host Explorers’ league opener while Drexel was at home to beat Northeastern again and get off to a winning start in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Delaware, however, lost to Elon, a new CAA member, at home Sunday to drop its league opener in the Bob Carpenter Center.

In the world of the Big Ten, Penn State is still winless having been pounded again by a leaguer rival after being an easy target for a bunch of mid-majors for the most part the previous two months in the first year of the post-Maggie Lucas era.

Rutgers came home to launch its first-ever Big Ten home opener and dropped its second straight league contest, being overtaken by Iowa. The Scarlet Knights had won their opener at Indiana before losing to Ohio State.

So that’s the cliff notes, so to speak, and the Guru hopes to get back down into Philly for the Palestra showdown after completing work here and dining lunch with former A-10 commissioner Linda Bruno, who now lives in the city.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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