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, April 02, 2015

Guru's Musings: Random Thoughts and Some WF4 Items

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

The Guru needs to do some wrapping up[ and looking ahead but the problem is your Guru has to deal with a lot of behind the scenes situations and preparations and the flight leaves for Tampa in a few hours.

He will wrap up the locals on the overnight in Florida but congratulations to Villanova and Temple for their WNIT runs which might have meant a collision course initially until both ended up getting edged in overtime after West Virginia rallied down the closing minute twice in regulation.

But both the Owls and Wildcats have the potential to do some great things next season and we will talk about all that.

USBWA Awards

We're under way trotting out the United States Basketball Writers Association women's postseason honors with the All-America team announced on Tuesday and previously the first Mary Jo Haverbeck winner, Sue Donohoe, who will receive her hardware at the awards session in the Amalie Arena 3:30 p.m. before the semifinals get under way.

All credentialed media have automatic access while special temporary access is being granted to those interested and the Guru is serving as a filter between then and the NCAA, which issues the passes.

In the next day or so the freshman of the year will be announced and on Sunday the player and coach of the year winners will be revealed out of what was some of the closest voting the Guru has seen in two categories since he was charged with counting ballots.

Also in what will be a sort of representation of the Most Courgeous Ceremony -- we stayed with just the one on Nov. 2 -- Dan Benjamin, who is Lauren Hill's coach at Mount St. Joseph's, will speak.

So time is running out on closing the list to the room if you will be in Tampa. 

The Philly Coaches Club Meets in Florida

Maryland's Brenda Frese gets honorary membership since two Philly types Laura Harper and Crytal Langhorne, were the jet engines in the Terrapins' title run in 2006 in Boston.

But the arrival of South Carolina coach Dawn Staley to join Final Four veterans Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw provides a Florida flavor that tastes more like 2000 when UConn, Tennessee (with former Cardinal O'Hara star Ace Clement), Rutgers and Penn State all made it to what is now the Wells Fargo Center.

Staley, of course, was a three-timer without a title in those Virginia runs in 1990-91-and-92.

The first was as an underdog having dislodged Tennessee at Old Dominion in the Elite Eight in overtime to ruin the Lady Vols' hosting party at what was a sold-out Thompson-Boling Arena in advance.

The second, in New Orleans, which everyone has been focusing on, was tough but there was till going to be one more shot. Ironically, several years ago, when former Virginia coach Debbie Ryan and referee Patty Broderick were inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame, Broderick fessed up to a call at the finish that cost the Cavaliers the crown.

In 1992 out of the West Coast, there was all types of mayhem, when the women had to start at 9 a.m. in the semifinals because the men's and women's were both on the same day televised on CBS.

The first game took long enough because of the parade of fouls that when the doubleheader lapped into the men's start time back East, ESPN didn't have to to lift too many fingers after that to make its move on the women's tourney.

Stanford won it over Virginia at the finish in the second game, taking advantage of the Burge twins missing foul shots.

Few locker rooms in the history of the tournament were the picture of devastation painted live by the Cavaliers afterwards, who stayed in town but vanished from view the rest of the weekend.

It didn't go well either for Staley several months later in the Rockies when the last people were chosen for the Olympic squad to play alongside the USA Dream Team men. So if you want a low point in an otherwise brilliant career, that was it.

But since then, it's been nothing by gold on the court, off the court, and everywhere else, not necessarily all in titles, but in a life well lived.

As a footnote, some say that UVa team really got good when a paerty animal several years ahead of the others finally graduated but went on to a productive life.

No names, go ahead and guess. But Staley once said of that teammate, "Don't look at me. I was always in the library after practice."

The Guru will be back from the sunshine state later Thursday and once again Willbill will be on the scene with his camera eporium.

-- Mel 


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