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 15, 2015

Guru's College Report: Temple Shoots Lights Out While Princeton and Penn Finish Sweep

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA --
It’s all about the bye as Temple hits the home stretch on both its season and American Conference schedule heading into next month’s tournament which again will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena near New London, Conn.

In that regard following the red hot Owls’ men’s team in the second game of a Valentine’s Day doubleheader at the Liacouras Center Saturday afternoon, coach Tonya Cardoza’s group was able to tuck away a two-game losing streak that occurred on the road last week and torch the nets in the first half to roar to a 72-60 win over Houston to stay in a fourth-place tie with Tulsa.

The first five teams, led by soon-to-be-No. 1-again Connecticut. Get the first round off, though sitting in a 4-5 position would mean seeing the Huskies again sooner rather than later.

If Temple (12-14, 8-5 AAC) could finish fourth and if the NCAA were to take South Florida and Tulane, assuming the Green Wavw finish third, then the Owls would land the conference automatic qualifier berth to the WNIT.

Of course, if Temple played like the Owls did in the first half against the Cougars (6-19, 11-13), shooting 69.2 percent from the field in hitting 18 of 26 attempts, including 7 of 10 three-point shots, we’d be talking about a team bound for the NCAAs.

Cardoza actually gave her group credit for playing well even longer.

“I thought that was a good win for us, I think we needed that after our last two games,” she said. “This is something that helped out our confidence a little bit.

“I felt like we started the game knocking down a lot of shots, shooting a very high percentage. They scored some points, as well. But I felt like today our communication was good for about 30 minutes and that’s a bonus,” she continued.

“What we’re doing right now is making sure we are doing that for 40 minutes. I felt our intensity level was a lot higher. They way we played defense today is not something we typically do. We’re not really a zone team so for our guys to pay attention and talk throughout was key for us.”

Though Temple cooled off from the field in the second half Cardoza said the Owls played even better than the first half in terms of defense, allowing just 26 points as opposed to 36 in the first stanza.

Freshman Alliya Butts had another strong effort with 22 points, while four others Owls scored in double figures, including Feyonda Fitzgerald getting off the bench as a reserve.

Erica Covile and Tanaya Atkinson each scored 12 and Safiya Martin scored 10 points.
Mariah Mitchell and Tyler Gilbert each scored 13 points for Houston as the only players in double figures for the opposition.

Next up is a key home game Tuesday night with a second chance at Tulane at 7 p.m. The Play-4-Kay Pink Zone game, which will be back in McGonigle Hall, is one of two of the remaining five in which the Owls will be the underdog based on the conference standing, though East Carolina on Feb. 28 at home will also be a tough one to handle.

The Green Wave, who took their turn Saturday getting thrashed 87-39 at UConn, will be coming here with longtime coach Lisa Stockton going for her 499th win. Several weeks ago UConn Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma got his 899th win here on the way to number 900 next time out.

Ivies: Princeton Dodges Yale Upset Bid While Penn Alone in 2nd

No. 16 Princeton stretched the unbeaten run to 23-0 in holding off Yale 56-50 in New Haven, Conn., while Penn joined the Tigers in sweeping the lower New England road trip for the Ivy dual powers by winning at Brown 83-75 in Providence, R.I..

The Tigers (23-0, 7-0) stayed two games front of their Ivy traveling partner Quakers (14-7, 5-2), who are now a half-game ahead of the rest of the league courtesy of Princeton knocking off Yale (11-11, 5-3) and Harvard upsetting Cornell (14-8, 5-3) on the road one night after the Crimson were handled at Columbia.

It’s only the second time this season that Princeton won a game by single digits and first in league play.

The Tigers arrived at Yale’s John Lee Ampitheater with a 25.8-point average margin of victory and the 56 points that were still enough to bring another victory they were 22 less than their season average.

“We played with a lot of poise. We didn’t play great, but we played smart,” said Yale coach Chris Gobrecht. “Our team defense was better tonight and if we managed the boards, who knows?”

Yale will get a second shot at Princeton down at Jadwin Gym in a few weeks.

The experience may be worth the trouble for the visitors, who would like to win in the postseason. In this outing they were forced into 16 turnovers, which Yale mined into 15 points.

The Bulldogs also were able to nail seven shots from beyond the arc to just one for the Tigers, who normally hit from all over the place.

Princeton did hold Yale to 30 percent from the field on 21-of-70 attempts. Furthermore the Tigers capitalized on the line, making 17-of-23 free throws while the Bulldogs got to the line only twice the entire night.

Though a big reason for Princeton’s lower production was Yale reducing Blake Dietrick’s production to seven points, the Tigers are likely to keep their string of Ivy player of the week honors alive off Alex Wheatley of Lower Bucks County in suburban Philadelphia, who had a game-high 18 points.

Annie Tara Tarakchian had another double double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Yale freshman Mary Ann Santucci had a team high 13 points.

The Bulldogs next visit Cornell, which will break a tie between the two teams immediately behind Penn.

Princeton coach Courtney Banghart is now within two victories of tying Joan Kowalik for all-time Tigers wins at 163. They are attainable this weekend when Dartmouth, Banghart’s alma mater, visits Friday at 7 p.m. and Harvard on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, Penn experienced its best shooting night in the six-year reign of coach Mike McLaughlin while five Quakers scored in double figures against the Bears (9-13, 3-5). Overall the team was 31-for-58 from the field for 53.4 percent, including 7-of-12 from three-point land in the Pizzitola Sports Center.

Kara Bonenberger had another double double on the road trip with 14 points and 10 rebounds while rookie Michelle Nwokedi continued to impress with her third double double in four games with 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks.

Katy Allen scored 15 points off the bench while Sydney Stipanovich had 13 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Kathleen Roche had 16 points and was 4-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Next up, Penn will be looking to complete a sweep of Harvard Friday night in the 7 p.m. game at the Palestra, and Dartmouth at the same place on Saturday night, also at 7 p.m.

Rutgers Pounds Purdue

The 18th-ranked Scarlet Knights doused the Boilermakers in a Big Ten contest at home in the Louis A. Brown Athletic Center as Kahleah Copper of Philadelphia lead an inside attack with a game-high 24 points to account for just under half the 50 scored inside the paint.

Betnjiah Laney scored 16 points for Rutgers 19-6, 10-4 Big Ten), which has won seven of the last eight played. Tyler Scaife scored 14 and Rachel Holivay scored 12.

Whitney Bays, averaging 14.9 points for Purdue (10-15, 3-11), was held to six points, though she grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Bridget Perry’s 13 points were the only double figures scoring for the Boilermakers, who were forced into 22 turnovers.

Next up is a visit from Purdue on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

La Salle Stopped at Richmond

The Explorers fell to the Spiders 72-60 on the road in the Atlantic 10 as Richmond also celebrated senior day at the Robins Center in Virginia.

Siobhan Beslow had a team-high 13 points for La Salle (12-13, 3-9 Atlantic 10), which dropped under .500 overall.

Senior Genevieve Okoro of South Jersey celebrated her day and that of her sister seniors with 27 points, including 19 of 22 from the line, for Richmond (16-9, 8-4), which visits Saint Joseph’s on Saturday afternoon.

Lauren Tolson scored 17 points while reserve Janelle Hubbard scored 12 for the Spiders.

The Explorers will be back in action Thursday hosting an improved Rhode Island squad in a 7 p.m. Atlantic 10 tilt at La Salle’s Tom Gola Arena.

Looking Ahead

Villanova will be looking to stay in the upper portion of the Big East and possibly move into a tie for second when the Wildcats host Xavier at 1 p.m. at the Pavilion Sunday in what is also homecoming with an alumni game at 10:30 a.m. as well as Villanova’s Play-4-Kay game.

Saint Joseph’s, which has been struggling, has a tough one, visiting second-place Dayton at noon in an Atlantic 10 game against the preseason favorites.

Delaware will be looking to extend its current win streak to six except the Blue Hens will be visiting the Colonial Athletic Association powerhouse James Madison squad at 1 p.m. in Harrisonburg, Va., which is unbeaten in the conference.

Drexel will be trying to hold on to second place in the CAA, visiting Towson at 2 p.m.

Penn State will host Minnesota in a Big Ten game at 2 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center.

USciences’ Streak Stopped

After hanging on to their win streak last time out courtesy of a technical foul, the Devils succumbed to a late rally and fell to Dominican College 65-59 on the road in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) game at the Henessey Center in Orangeburg, N.Y.

The 16-game win streak ended with USciences now showing an 18-5 overall record and 14-2 in the conference in which they lead the Southern Division.

The streak started with an non-conference upset of then-No. 5 Tampa on Dec. 14.

Jessica Sylvester had 22 points for the Devils, while Colleen Walsh scored 12 points against Dominican (12-13, 10-6).

Isabelle Ross grabbed eight rebounds and Kaitlyn Schmid dealt six assists to bring her career total to 305, the eighth player in Devils’ history to pass the 300 career mark.

Domincan was able to stun USciences by holding Brianne Traub to one field goal, which came with 27 seconds left in regulation.

Next up is a visit to Southern Division second-place Philadelphia University at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

And that’s the report. The Guru will be at Villanova, weather permitting.

-- Mel

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- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

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