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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rob Knox D-II Local Report: Kutztown Gets a Lift From Campbell's Raised Goals

By Rob Knox @knoxrob1

Advia Campbell wasn’t pleased.

The 5 foot, 11 inch Kutztown University senior center felt she had more to offer her teammates in terms of her hoops skills so she went and did something about it.

Campbell, a Mount Laurel (N.J.) native and Lenape High graduate, retreated to her hardwood sanctuary.

In solitude with sneaker-squeaking sounds serving as a soundtrack while she worked up a sweat, Campbell meticulously worked on every aspect of her game: Shooting around the basket. Agility drills. Post moves. Defensive positioning.

“At the end of my sophomore year, we got blown out by Bloomsburg in the PSAC playoffs,” Campbell said. “I knew something had to change so I went into the gym the very next day and started working on my game. I wanted our team to get better and I knew it started with me. I motivated myself to get better everyday.”

She emerged from the gym as a lean mean shot blocking machine.

For the last two years, Campbell has been a tower of power transforming Kutztown women’s basketball games into unofficial block parties.

She invited her teammates.

Looming over defenders like the iconic clock on top of the Old Main building that overlooks Main Street on campus, Campbell spooked opponents by supplying the entertainment with ferocious shot swatting while Kutztown fans provided the music with plenty of cheers.

Playing with the elegance of a dolphin, Campbell has deftly mastered the art of keeping the ball inbounds and making sure her teammates are in perfect position to get the loose ball after she rejects shots.

As a junior, Campbell recorded the program's first-ever triple-double with 11 points, 15 rebounds, and a KU single-game record 10 blocks against West Chester.

She was named to the All-PSAC East Second Team after breaking the Kutztown single-season block record with 76.

Not only has Campbell improved, she has developed into one of the elite players in the PSAC during her last two years as a Golden Bear.

As her career ticks to a conclusion, Campbell leads Kutztown in scoring (11.2 points per game), rebounding (8.1) and blocked shots (1.9) this season.

In addition, Campbell is a strong candidate to repeat as PSAC East Defensive Player of the Year.

“It meant so much to me to be named PSAC East Defensive Player of the Year last year because I know I worked hard,” Campbell said. “It’s good to know that others noticed how hard I worked.

"It was a big step for me along with a confidence builder. It’s a lot of fun blocking shots. Just baiting people to come into the lane and swatting their shot, feels great.”

Campbell’s final regular season contest will be Wednesday at East Stroudsburg beginning at 6:00 p.m. Her play on both ends of the floor this season has played a critical role in the Golden Bears clinching a playoff spot.

The Golden Bears could host an opening round game Saturday if they win and Lock Haven loses.

Earlier this month, Campbell was named to the Lehigh Valley Small College Basketball Media Organization's Team of the Year for the second-straight season.

For her career that has featured 109 games and 77 starts, Campbell's 174 blocks rank second in school history, her 707 rebounds rank seventh all-time, her 177 steals rank eighth, and she is 21 points shy of 1,000 points in her career.​

Campbell never imagined earning all of these accolades when she stepped onto Kutztown’s campus four years ago.

“I came in here happy to play basketball and be part of the team,” Campbell said. “My goals on the court weren’t as high. I never expected this but I came to love the game more and more everyday. I saw what I was able to accomplish and now my goals are high now.”

Veteran Kutztown head women’s basketball coach Janet Malouf, a former Rutgers star, believes Campbell’s best basketball is ahead of her.

“She’ll keep getting better,” Malouf said. “I don’t think her best basketball is behind her.

"There’s still a lot more in her and I am proud of her. She has made a tremendous jump from freshman to a senior.

"I don’t think she’s topped out at all. She’s one of those rare athletic kids you are lucky to get at this level. She’s a great kid and I am excited to see what she’s going to do in life with marine sciences and life. She’s a fun person to be around.”

Watching Campbell dominate games over the last two years, it’s hard to imagine that she just started playing basketball the summer before she entered high school.

Campbell only played because a friend urged her to tryout with her. In addition to playing basketball in high school, Campbell also played soccer and ran track. Campbell is also a huge fan of WNBA All-Star Maya Moore, the former UConn great with the Minnesota Lynx.

“I always liked basketball,” Campbell said. “I never took it seriously and until I got to high school. People told me that I had a lot of potential. I also realized that it could become my ticket to college that’s when basketball became a big part for me in high school and now.”

Of course, if people saw Campbell dancing during warmups, they would think that she’s not serious about the game.

Campbell, who has a gold-medal winning personality, enjoys having fun off the court and dancing during pregame warm-ups. Once the game begins, a different Campbell emerges.

Her blocked shots are down this season in part because her presence has spooked opponents from coming anywhere near the basket.

Kutztown is ninth in the PSAC in field goal percentage defense, allowing teams to shoot 38.5 percent from the field.

Campbell has blocked at least three shots in a game nine times this season.

She swatted a season-high six shots during a dramatic 78-69 victory over West Chester on Jan. 31.

The win over West Chester gives Kutztown confidence that it can compete with anybody in the conference.

“I feel like we can upset some teams in the playoffs,” Campbell said. “We want to keep our season rolling and I know all the seniors will be fighting hard. We’ll leave everything out on the court and see what happens.

“Coach Malouf has helped me so much. She instilled confidence in me, believed in me and saw something in me that not many people saw.

"She always stressed that and it made me play harder and I want to thank her for that. It’s a good feeling at the end to see how much I have improved on the court and grown as a person with my maturity in the classroom.”

Local D-II And-Ones

Elsewhere in the womhoopsguru Division II area

Lincoln University ended as co-champions of the CIAA Northern Division with Virginia State.

However, the Lady Lions earned the North’s No. 1 seed in the upcoming CIAA Tournament and will meet the winner of the Virginia Union-Saint Augustine’s game on Wednesday afternoon at 2:20 p.m. at Charlotte’s Time Warner Arena.

In addition, Lincoln head coach Jessica Kern was named CIAA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year after leading the Lady Lions to a school-record tying 19 victories this season.

West Chester, since losing to Kutztown, has won five straight games to earn the No. 2 seed in the PSAC playoffs.

The Golden Rams earned a first-round bye and will open the playoffs in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, March 3 against an opponent to be determined.

In the CACC, the four playoff participants from the South are known: Philadelphia, Goldey-Beacom, USciences and Holy Family.

Philadelphia pulled into a first-place tie with USciences after a 65-60 victory Monday night.

Each team has 14-4 conference records. Najah Jacobs scored 26 points to lead the Rams. That comes on the heels of her 31-point outing in Saturday’s victory over Concordia.

USciences, despite its recent three-game losing streak, holds the inside track for the South’s No. 1 seed based on its sweep of Holy Family, which is locked in at No. 3.

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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