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, February 05, 2016

Temple Converts Travel Menace to a Victory

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA –Though it may seem like it, the women’s sports teams in the Temple athletic department are not having a contest to see who has the worst travel experience on road trips.
Several weeks ago the Owls women’s gym team spent more than 24 hours stranded on their bus on a western portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that became stuck in snow during the recent deluge that struck the Eastern part of the country.

The gymnasts, who suffered no ill effects from the ordeal, had to cancel their participation in a meet in Pittsburgh.

Then a weekend later it became the women’s basketball team’s turn to undergo aggravation that was unrelated to weather but involved 14-hours travel each way to play at East Carolina where they still managed to get to their destination and add another victory on their American Athletic Conference portion of the season’s schedule.
Lauren Ferrett, the university’s media liaison for the squad, provided the Guru with details and he obtained permission to reprint her play by play of the ordeal, which now follows

On the way down, the (American Airlines) flight from PHL to Charlotte, got to Charlotte but then … Delay, delay, delay, finally canceled.

So then we looked for other flights, charters, and buses, (also looked for other places to practice but no luck), so we finally got a bus, and then drove to Greenville (switching buses and drivers midway).

On the way back, we were supposed to have a direct flight from Raleigh-Durham at 8:30, but American changed it to a layover in Charlotte and a 7:45 flight.

After the game (no one showered, we just booked it out of there), we got to Raleigh just in time for the flight, and made it to Charlotte.

Once in Charlotte, they told us the plane was in the hanger and once it arrived to the gate they would clean it and get a crew on board.

So instead of leaving at 9:55, we kept getting delayed and delayed and then they change the gate to clear across the airport.

So we got there and then the crew showed up, the plane was there, and then all of a sudden the screen said our departure time is now 2:30 AM, it had been originally changed to 12:30 AM, so we were shocked.

The AA people said it was wrong and they would find out why it said that, and then a few minutes later, they said we were cancelled.

Sooooo, off to a local hotel for a "nap", got there at 1 a.m. and then had to be at the airport at
6 a.m.

 Finally, we got on our flight and after a lengthy baggage delay, got to Temple around 48 hours after we left. 28 hours of "travel," no practice, little sleep, but got that important "W!"
Early in the year coach Tonya Cardoza had much to complain about her young team’s travel on the court contributing to a large amount of turnovers.

But asked about the experience after Wednesday’s matinee in the Liacouras Center in which the Owls dominated SMU, Cardoza had much praise about the way her players handled travel of a different sort.
“I felt our team was really mature in how they handled it,” Cardoza said. “They did not complain. Not one bit.

“We travel 14 hours to get there and once we got to the gym, we had to sit around and wait because of the double overtime (in the men’s game), and, again, they did not complain.
“I commended them on it.  Because they could have easily made excuses or why this or why that, but it just shows a bunch of guys that are maturing. There’s a job in front of you and it doesn’t matter.

“We didn’t eat right. We were eating in the airport. Nobody became angry that we were choosing that. We tried to focus on, `OK, it doesn’t matter the situation, we have still have a game. Let’s go play the basketball game.
“We sat in the airport. We had a film session. We thought about even going over to Charlotte and practicing there – I told them I was going to make them run up and down in the terminal,” Cardoza added with a grin, “but again, things happen and you can’t let things get the best of you and then get a letdown but I thought they were really mature how they handled it and they handled it well.”

Next up is visit Saturday at 2 p.m. also in the Liacouras Center, from nationally-ranked South Florida, the best team in the conference not named UConn, who sits just ahead of the Owls in the standings.
An upset by Temple allows whispers of a potential trip to the NCAA, though at the moment since the Huskies and Bulls are likely to go, a third place finish at worst allows the Owls to land a bid to the WNIT, where they went to the Final Four last year and were just a few plays short of making it to the championship.

The game will be televised on ESPN3 with Dave Leno on the call along with Steffi Sorensen.