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.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Guru's WNIT Report: Villanova Air Attack Brings Down Maine

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Veteran Lauren Burford and rookie Alex Louin were a twin-engine attack for Villanova Friday night as the women's counterparts on campus to one of the NCAA's No. 1 seeds in the men's tourney soared to a 71-60 first-round triumph at home in The Pavilion over Maine in the WNIT.

The victory earned a second-round match-up Sunday against Old Dominion , still right at home at 2 p.m., the same time Big 5 rivals Temple and Penn will be tipping off another second round match to be played at Penn's Palestra.

Burford got Villanova (20-13) going with four early treys and she finished perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc for 15 points.

Freshman Alex Louin from Mount St. Joseph's Academy added to the attack with 17 points also going long range with near perrfection as she connected with five of her seven attempted treys.

Caroline Coyer gave Nova a double digit scoring performance with 12 points and Samantha Wilkes, who missed the front part of the season still recovering from knee surgery, scored 10 points.

This game might have been an NCAA tilt if the Wildcats had not missed Wilkes, Emily Leer and Katherine Coyer early in the season with injuries, resulting in Villanova suffering a slew of narrow losses and at one instant struggling with a 2-6 start.

"It's hard to believe we have 20 wins considering where we were," said veteran coach Harry Perretta. "That means we've since gone 18-7."

Maine (23-9) tied for first with Albany in the regular season America East and the Black Bears pushed the Wildcats over the final 20 minutes, shooting 68.2 percent from the field after trailing 40-21 at the half.

"The first 12-14 minutes we really looked good," Perretta said. "I felt we basically won the game in those 14 minutes.

"I told the kids at halftime these guys are a very skilled team offensively and they showed it in the second half."
Sigi Koizar scored 22 points for Maine and Mikaela Gustafsson scored 17 while Liz Wood grabbed seven rebounds.

"It's different styles. We're not real good guarding people on the dribble but I'm just happy we won and move on to the next round. Samantha is playing a lot better as she has gotten healthier and I thought Leer had a good game, too."

Rich Barron, the coach of Maine, knows the Wildcats well from his time at Princeton prior to Courtney Banghart's hire.

"They were really good to start the game and we weren't. They executed well and we were missing shots and over penetrating a few times. Even once the game got competititve we made some mistakes.

"That's an NCAA tournament team, healthy like that and the way they played today," Barron said. "They were three or four possessions away from being Big East champions this year. They're awfully good."

Shortly after the game your Guru jumped into the auto and got down to Annapolis, Md., his headquarters to head over to the Maryland-hosted NCAA first round Saturday morning in which unbeaten Princeton (30-0) will meet Green Bay before the Terrapins meet New Mexico State in the Xfinity Center.

-- Mel


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