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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Guru's College Report: St. Joe's Upsets Duquesne While Temple and La Salle Also Winners


By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA --
Saint Joseph’s gave an indication Wednesday night of what the Hawks might be capable of as a spoiler in next week’s Atlantic 10 tournament in Richmond, Va., when they beat Duquesne 60-49 in the final home game of the season at Hagan Arena to earn a split and gain revenge for last month’s loss in Pittsburgh.

The Dukes (19-9, 11-4 Atlantic 10) came to town riding an eight-game win streak and holding down the third spot in the standings.

They left having been held to their lowest point total for the season while the Hawks (11-16, 7-8), closed the night in an eighth-place tie with VCU heading into Sunday’s finale at La Salle, which grabbed a 66-53 road win over St. Bonaventure at the Reilly Center in Olean, N.Y., to get back to .500 overall.

"We did not have our A game tonight,” Duquesne coach Dan Burt said. “Our effort tonight was not at the level you need to win championships.”

It was a three-game sweep of the night with Temple taking a key road win at SMU 55-39 in Dallas, Texas, for the only teams of the 10 local D-I schools that comprise the Guru’s PhilahoopsW collection.

The game on Hawk Hill was in doubt with Saint Joseph’s holding a slim 44-42 lead with 9 minutes, 12 seconds left in regulation. It still was that way with the Hawks ahead by three with 6:19 left.

But while not exactly being a wholesale scoring machine themselves, Saint Joseph’s put the clamps down, defensively, and used a 12-4 run to collect the victory.

“Duquesne was a good team coming in and we felt we didn’t play our best up there,” Hawks coach Cindy Griffin said afterwards. “I was excited about the way we played at the start playing defense and the way we rebounded the ball.”

The Hawks outscored the Dukes 38-26 in the paint and bested them in transition 13-7 while also outscoring Duquesne 12-4 on fast break points.

“Our goal is to have some momentum going into the conference tournament and we certainly would like to get one more win. We’re going to focus on La Salle first and foremost and then see how the seedings fall and just take one game at as time.”

Ciara Andrews had a game-high 23 points for Saint Joseph’s, while Sarah Fairbanks scored 14 and grabbed nine rebounds while Natasha Cloud had 12 points and nine assists in the Cardinal O’Hara grad’s final game in Hagan Arena.

“Yeah, there were a few tears afterwards,” she said.

Freshman Chelsea Woods grabbed 10 rebounds.

Duquesne’s April Robinson scored 15 points while Jose-Ann Johnson had 12 points and blocked four shots.

Sunday’s game at the Explorers’ Tom Gola Arena is just a conference battle since the Hawks beat La Salle at home last month to gain a piece of the three-way tie with Villanova and Penn for the Big 5 title.

The Explorers (14-14, 5-10 A-10) in Wednesday’s win dodged a seven-game shooting drought midway through the second half to still gain the triumph.

They made up for it, however, by connecting on 10 of 12 free throw opportunities during the dry spell.

Michaya Owens had 15 of her game-high 20 points for La Salle during the second stanza while Jasmine Alston added 14 points and seven rebounds to the Explorers’ game stats.

Kate Healy had 19 points while Mariah Ruff and Nyla Rueter each scored 13 points for the Bonnies (15-13, 5-10), who sit in 12th place going into the final game for them.

Temple Corrals Mustangs

Rocky as the season has been Temple might be heading for life and more action after next week’s American Athletic Conference tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., for the second straight year.

The Owls (14-15, 10-6 AAC) got within one game of the elusive .500 overall figure and could finish above by taking their final two games at home Saturday against East Carolina at 2 p.m. in McGonigle Hall and then back in Texas Monday against Houston.

The record would then be good enough to land an at-large slot in the WNIT or good enough for fourth or third which could lead to the automatic qualifier berth in the same tournament.

But what about the NCAA you say?

Well if you think Temple is going to get there the only way possible for the Owls by ruining top-ranked Connecticut’s second straight coronation party at the casino-entertainment complex feel free to bet all your worldly goods.

Didn’t think so.

However, against the more common folks, the Owls did quite well in Texas as freshman Alliya Butts had a game-high 17 points.

Defensively, Temple broke from a tie at the half to outscore SMU 34-18 the rest of the way.

In the Owls’ earlier victory over the Mustangs (6-21, 2-14) in Philadelphia last month they used a fast start to get the job done.

Temple freshman Tanaya Atkinson also scored in double figures by getting 10 points.

No one scored in double figures for SMU with Alicia and Keely Froling each scoring nine points for team highs.

Temple could finish third if things fall a certain way but finishing above .500 in fourth or fifth might still attract the WNIT folks.

Looking Ahead

Just like Wednesday only three of the Guru’s PhilahoopsW squads are in action Thursday with two involved in the Big Ten.

Penn State in a fight with Purdue to avoid the cellar hosts Ohio State at 7 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center while No. 20 Rutgers travels to newly-ranked No. 25 Northwestern at 9 p.m. for a battle involving placement in the neighborhood behind top-seed Maryland for next week’s conference tournament in suburban Chicago.

Delaware, trying to finish strong in the Colonial Athletic Association before hosting front-runner James Madison Sunday, visits UNCW at 7 p.m.

On Friday No. 14 and unbeaten Princeton goes for a knockout of Yale in the Ivy race at home at 7 p.m. in Jadwin Gym while Penn, trying to hold second by two games, hosts Brown at 7 p.m. at The Palestra. On Saturday, the hosting Ivy teams switch playing the visitors with the only difference being Princeton’s tip is 7 p.m.

Villanova, in a game for TV purposes, hosts Providence in a Big East game at the Pavilion at 8:30 p.m., trying for revenge for an earlier loss to the Friars in Rhode Island while Drexel in a key Colonial Athletic Association game at home in the Daskalakis Athletic Center hosts Elon at 7 p.m.

Drexel is trying to finish second. Villanova, Drexel and Penn are all extremely strongly in the hunt for WNIT berths. The Saturday games have all been spoken for in this post – two Ivies and the Temple game.

We’ll get to Sunday in the next roundup.

-- Mel




- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

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