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.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Guru's CAA Tourney Report: Delaware and Drexel Together Again at Quarterfinals

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

It wouldn’t be a Colonial Athletics Association tournament unless Drexel and Delaware met somewhere along the bracket path.

In the past sometimes these confrontations between the two schools located a little over an hour apart didn’t occur until the title game, which determines the CAA’s automatic qualifying representative into the NCAA tournament.

This time at the Show Place Arena, known otherwise for equestrian events, the Dragons and Blue Hens are holding their bonus third meeting of the season quite earlier in the quarterfinal round at 5 p.m. Friday night in the third of the four-game schedule.

Drexel (20-9, 14-4 CAA) finished second three games behind defending champion James Madison (26-3, 17-1) in the regular season.

Delaware (14-16, 8-10), which won a second straight title in 2013 with senior Elena Delle Donne, now a WNBA All-Star in Chicago, and returned to the title game last year, suffered a five-game losing streak down the stretch and sunk to the seventh seed.

But the Blue Hens are still alive after surviving Thursday’s play-in round doubleheader by beating 10th-seeded Northeastern 73-61 they gained the right to salvage something out of Drexel, which swept Delaware 2-0 during the season.

In the triumph, junior guars Courtni Green scored 22 points against the Huskies (4-25), who won just one of the 18 CAA games during the regular season.

Joy Caracciolo had 13 points and 10 rebounds while Hannah Jardine had 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Northeastern got a 23=point and 10-rebounding effort from Samantha DeFreese.

“Obviously,we had a tough last week and a half of conference play, so it feels really good to win,” said head coach Tina Martin. “The kids really stepped up and came in with the right mindset to survive and move on.

“I’m proud of the kids, they did a really nice job in the second half and then we were able to attack the basket.”

After he performance, Delaware’s Brown noted, “I think we came here really confident because even though we lost our last few games, we played very tough teams very close. Things started a little slow fur us but after the half we picked it up and showed what we can do.”

Drexel coach Denise Dillon, whose team is guaranteed a spot in the WNIT as the second place team if the Dragons don’t land in the NCAA, talked about the facing the Blue Hens.

“It’s a little different to our start in the tournament facing Delaware but nonetheless we’re used to seeing them here,” Dillon observed. “We;’re in store for a battle. Every game against our rival is a tough one. I am predicting this to be our toughest.”

Martin said the same of facing Delaware.

“Their system is very hard to defend, we’ve been able to defend it somewhat,:” she explained. “You know you’re not going to stop them because they’re so good at it. The bottom line is we have to communicate.

“I’ve been preaching to this team all season long you have to communicate on the defensive end. Drexel throws so many screens at you …if our team listens, I expect it to be a battle I want it to be a battle.

“I’ve said our team struggled the last week and a half but the tournament wipes that all out. If you play your game and you play smart and you play together, you cab obviously make some noise. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do.

“We got this one out of the way so we’ll come tomorrow to be able to play.”

Delaware has played deep starting as a low seed before.

“The names have changed, we’re a lot younger but this team is determined. We have an opportunity and at this point that’s all you focus on. It’s going to be a war. Drexel is very, very good. But if we listen, we’ll give ourselves an opportunity.”

In the opener No. 8 Towson defeated No. 9 College of Charleston as LaTorri Hines-Allen scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Tigers (11-20).

That sent them into Friday’s noon first game against top-seeded James Madison in the quarterfinals.

Hines-Allen, who posted her 14th double double, made 10 of 22 shots against the Cougars (5-25), who got a game-high 28 points from Breanna Bolden.

In the other two games of the quarterfinals, fifth-seeded UNCW (14-15) at 2:30 p.m., faces fourth-seeded Elon (18-11), the CAA newcomer coached by former North Carolina star Charlotte Smith, the heroine of the 1994 NCAA championship whose three-point shot at the finish gave the Tar Heels a win over then-national power Louisiana Tech.

Third-seeded Hofstra (18-11) wraps up the day’s action at 7:30 p.m. against sixth-seeded William & Mary (15-14).

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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