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.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Philly WBB Hoops: The Big Five Will Battle Each Other Right From Opening Night

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

As we move closer to the season's opening tipoff on Nov. 11, it's time to first look ahead at the annual Big Five local round-robin of 10 women’s basketball games to decide the City Series champion.

With Penn now a threat to cause trouble and contend in its own right – the Quakers tied with Saint Joseph’s and Villanova two seasons ago at 3-1 for their first-ever piece of local honors – the final result is likely to come later.

Most times it takes a sweep of 4-0 by any of the schools on the local schedule to capture the title outright but last season Villanova achieved the distinction when Saint Joseph’s lost its final game at La Salle, the one between the two schools that also has Atlantic 10 implications attached.

In the old days before much conference movement, the bulk of the schedule was at the back end, but now seven of the 10 games will be played before 2017 arrives.

And right off the bat on opening night for the entire nation, Temple will be at Saint Joseph’s in a 7 p.m. tipoff, the same time by the way that Penn State will open at Drexel in a key non-conference game.

The Owls and the Hawks used to do battle off season momentum late on the schedule, many times with the title at stake, when both were in the Atlantic 10. But now that Temple is in the American Athletic Conference, this game has become a season opener.

Temple will get right back on the horse at home Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. In McGonigle Hall against La Salle, another game that used to come late with the Explorers also in the Atlantic 10.

The Hawks will know their likely City Series fate early with the Temple visit, a trip to Penn at The Palestra on Nov. 22 and a visit from Villanova Dec. 3

Penn will get to play all four games at home this season, Temple will be on the road for three, as will La Salle, while Saint. Joseph’s will be home for three Big Five games and Villanova will split at 2-2 in terms of home and way.

Below is the City Series slate and the Guru, who only needs one time start to complete his overall operational grid, will return in a few days with a discussion of key dates and local/national competition.  


Nov. 11 Temple at Saint Joseph’s, 7 p.m.
Nov. 14 La Salle at Temple, 5 p.m., McGonigle Hall
Nov. 22 Saint Joseph’s at Penn, 7 p.m.
Nov. 30 La Salle at Villanova, 7 p.m.
Dec. 3 Villanova at Saint Joseph’s, 4 p.m.
Dec. 7 La Salle at Penn, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 10 Temple at Villanova, 1 p.m.
Jan. 18 Villanova at Penn, 7 p.m.
Jan. 25 Temple at Penn, 7 p.m.
Feb. 12 La Salle at Saint Joseph’s, 2 p.m.


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