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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Princeton's Blake Dietrick Sees Action in Mystics' Win

By Rob Knox @knoxrob1

WASHINGTON --
To keep from being blinded by the bright lights of the WNBA stage, Blake Dietrick has an interesting philosophy.

“The game hasn’t changed,” Dietrick said. “It’s still the same game as it was in college. It’s just faster and everyone is more athletic so you have to take care of the ball better and make quicker decisions.”

The Washington Mystic rookie guard, an undrafted free agent, and 2015 Ivy League Player of the Year out of Princeton is enjoying the experience of a lifetime as she battles to make the opening day roster.

All Dietrick can do is stay ready when her number is called and make the most of her playing time.

She played the entire fourth quarter during Wednesday morning’s 89-63 victory over the Minnesota Lynx at the Verizon Center in a preseason game.

The balanced and high-flying Mystics placed five players in double figures highlighted by Tayler Hill’s 18 points and Natasha Cloud’s 10 markers.

Emma Meesseman and Kara Lawson scored 11 points each and Bria Hartley added 10 points for the Mystics, who closed the third quarter with a 23-1 run.

Dietrick didn’t score or commit a turnover in 10 minutes against the Lynx. She made a 3-pointer in Washington’s first preseason game against Atlanta in 15 minutes of action.

The native of Massachusetts is displaying the same tenacity and savvy she did in helping Princeton enjoy a memorable season in which it won the Ivy League title, won its first 30 games and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Dietrick’s defense was solid against a group of Lynx players hoping to make their star-studded roster.

“I thought I did OK today once I get over my nerves a little bit,” Dietrick said. “Even though I am out there on the court against amazing people, it’s just a matter of playing with confidence.

"Other than that, I thought I took care of the ball. I probably could’ve shot once or twice when I had the opportunities. I just focused on getting my teammates involved and getting them shots they know how to make.”

There were plenty of shots made during a unique analytical scrimmage between the Lynx and Mystics on Tuesday afternoon.

Players from both sides had to get used to playing with different rules and abandon all instincts for 10 minutes.

For example, a mid-range jumper was considered a turnover as players were strongly encouraged to shoot 3-pointers.

The scrimmage’s aim was helping participants understand the value of 3-pointers and points in the paint.

Dietrick was happy to be part of the analytical experiment that was divided into a pair of 10-minute sessions. Mystics owner Ted Leonsis suggested the scrimmage.

“The scrimmage was really cool,” Dietrick said. “You don’t really notice it. There weren’t significant changes, particularly for me since I don’t shoot a midrange shot often.

"I didn’t notice the fact that we weren’t allowed to shoot those shots. It was interesting and it’s exciting to see where the game is going.”

The cool thing about the Mystics is all of their rookies are from outside of the power-five conferences.

Natasha Cloud (Saint Joseph’s), Ally Malott (Dayton) and Kayla Thornton (UTEP) along with Dietrick have been sponges during training camp and learning everything to enhance their games at the pro level.

“It’s been awesome being here and this an amazing team,” Dietrick said. “I probably couldn’t have picked a better group of people to play with.

"Everyone is so helpful and supportive of all the rookies. They’re helping us learn and it’s been a great experience so far. It’s been humbling to play with some of the best women in the world.

"I am just so grateful to be here. I am going to keep working hard every day to help the team grow and be successful.”

The Mystics play their final preseason game Friday morning against the Indiana Fever at 12:00 p.m.


















- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad

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