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, February 01, 2015

Guru's College Report: Penn and Unbeaten Princeton Complete Road Sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

In the middle of the celebrations over Penn’s Ivy title last winter, coach Mike McLaughlin noted to the Guru what the opening slate of games was going to be this time around.

First, came the traditional opener, this time at Princeton, whom the Quakers had just upset in the final of the schedule to end the Tigers’ run of four straight crowns while picking up their third in the process.

That would be followed by the annual New England journey to Dartmouth and Harvard, the most arduous in time and dangerous considering the back-to-back Friday-Saturday gauntlet that continues now through early March.

Falling at Princeton early last month meant the margin of error to stay in contention was quickly down to zero barring help from elsewhere in the league.

But thanks to freshmen help by committee at Harvard Saturday night in a come-from-behind 74-69 victory the Quakers (11-6, 2-1 Ivy) remain alive while the Crimson (8-10, 1-3) are now doomed to fight it out for the automatic bid as Ivy runner up to the postseason WNIT.

Meanwhile Princeton (19-0, 3-0), ranked 19th in the Associated Press women’s poll and also ranked in the coaches’ poll, continued its historic run to an unbeaten regular season by winning at Dartmouth 83-65 to join the traveling partner Quakers on a weekend sweep in New England.

The only Ivy overall start by either Ivy men or women better than the Tigers was the 28-0 run by the Penn men in 1971.

After four straight Big 5 rookie honors to Penn newcomers, there isn’t a clear standout this season.

However, the collective array of newcomers are doing quite well and their performance Saturday night in Boston couldn’t have come at a better time, considering that reigning Ivy rookie and defensive player of the year Sydney Stipanovich was shut out from the scoreboard, shooting 0-for-5 from the field while grabbing four rebounds.

Freshmen Anna Ross and Beth Brzozowski each nailed a three-pointer along with senior Kathleen Roche late in the game to help Penn take a enough of a lead to hold off a Harvard rally that died in the wake of Penn’s success at the foul line in the closing minutes.

Ross finished the night with a career-high 19 points while Brozozowkski matched her best individual effort with 14 points.

Roche finished with 16 while newcomer Michelle Nwokedi had 11 and senior Kara Bonenberger scored 10 points.
It’s the first time since one of the wins over Harvard last season that Penn has had five players score in double figures and first time the Quakers have beaten the Crimson three straight in 15 seasons and first in the same amount of time that Penn has won in Boston back-to-back.

And it is the first time in 11 years the Quakers have swept the trip furthest north in the League that last year saw their Ivy hopes temporarily punctured when they fell at Dartmouth.

In Saturday’s game, Temi Fagbenle, the English Olympian, led Harvard, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Further north Princeton completed its weekend road sweep in Hanover, N.H., at Tigers coach Courtney Banghart’s alma mater as a 21-10 start in the second half did the job against the Big Green (10-8, 1-3), who got 18 points from Fanni Szabo.

Princeton’s Alex Wheatley had 17 points while Anna Tarakchian had 15 points and 10 rebounds while Blake Dietrick had 15 points.

Yale, incidentally, is 3-0 like Princeton going into Sunday’s game against Cornell but the Bulldogs benefit so far has having yet to face Harvard, next weekend, or the Tigers and Quakers.

This weekend, Penn will host Cornell Friday night and Columbia Saturday night, both games, 7 p.m., at The Palestra while in reverse Columbia will be at Princeton’s Jadwin Gym Friday night at 7 before Cornell visits Saturday at 6 p.m.

Saint Joseph’s and La Salle Pick Up A-10 Road Victories

La Salle snapped a six-game losing streak all in the Atlantic 10 by winning at VCU 74-65 Saturday night in Richmond while Saint Joseph’s bounced back from its tough one-point loss Thursday in Saint Louis by winning at conference newcomer Davidson, 57-52 in North Carolina.

The Hawks (7-13, 3-5 A-10) stopped a late rally to win at Belk Arena where all of a 19-point lead nearly evaporated.

It was Saint Joseph’s first road win of the season as the Hawks dominated the paint 38-18.

Sarah Fairbanks had a team high 12 points and moved into 10th place on the all-time Hawks blocks chart with 78 after rejecting two Davidson attempts Saturday.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick scored 11 points while Ashley Robinson scored 10 and Natasha Cloud dealt a game-high nine assists.

Mackenzie Latt had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Davidson (5-17, 1-8).

Meanwhile, Ebony Wells scored a career-high 17 points at VCU’s Siegel Center, while freshman Amy Griffin scored 13 points, shooting 6-for-10 from the field for La Salle (11-10, 2-6 A-10).

Alicia Cropper scored 12 points to move within eight of her 1000th career point while Khristin Lee had eight points, seven rebounds and dealt six assists.

Chadarryl Clay had 19 points for VCU (14-8, 5-4) while Camille Calhoun and Adaeze Alaezxe each scored 15 for VCU.

Next up for both La Salle and Saint Joseph’s, they play each other at Saint Joseph’s Hagan Arena Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in an Atlantic 10 game with Big 5 implications.

The host Hawks with a win would in the final City Series action of the season would make it a three-way tie with Penn and Villanova, who already reach 3-1 with the Quakers doing it for the first time ever.

La Salle is looking for its first Big 5 win of the season.

Looking Ahead

Six others of the Guru’s PhilahoopsW ten teams are in action Sunday with the highlight being No. 2 Connecticut visiting Temple at 2 p.m. in McGonigle Hall in an American Athletic Conference game that will air on ESPN2.

In the Big Ten No. 22 Rutgers and Penn State play each other at noon for the second time this season with the host Scarlet Knights going for a sweep in the season series.

It’s Penn State’s first visit to Rutgers since 1978.

In the Big East, Villanova will be looking for a sweep in the season series meeting conference favorite DePaul in Chicago at 3 p.m. and the game will be televised in Philadelphia on Comcast SportsNet.

And in the Colonial Athletic Association, Delaware is at Hofstra while Drexel, trying to stay in sole possession of second place, visits UNCW.

On Wednesday besides the Saint Joseph’s-La Salle Game, Temple in an ACC game will host Memphis at noon in the annual kids day game, which will be played in the Liacouras Center.

Division II Action: USciences’ Streak Continues

The Devils made it 13 straight Saturday afternoon at their Bobby Morgan Arena though they needed a late scoring burst to top Felician 75-59 in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference matchup.
Colleen Walsh and Brianne Traub each score 15 points for USciences (15-4, 11-1 CACC) while Isabella Ross scored 11 points and Megan Wolf scored 10.

Laura Trisch, Ross and Walsh each grabbed seven rebounds and Traub grabbed six.

Playing a perfect error-free third straight game Kaitlyn Schmid dealt nine assists against the Golden Falcons (4-15, 3-9), which got 24 points from Eliana Scanlon.

The Devils bench outscored Felician 30-0.

Next up is a trip to Chestnut Hill College on Wednesday.

And that’s the report until Superbowl Sunday Night.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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