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, October 29, 2016

Women's Basketball Matchups: Navigating the National/Local Skeds, Part 1

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Some 500 plus lines of games from opening night locally and nationally on Friday, Nov. 11 through the national championship game in Dallas, Texas, at American Airlines Arena on April 2 fill rows on the Guru’s spreadsheet as a nightly guide to his 10 plus 2 local D-1 teams: The Big Five (La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple, Villanova) CAA (Drexel and Delaware), Big Ten (Rutgers and Penn State), Local Ivy No. 2 (Princeton) and the Patriot League duo of Lehigh and Lafayette.

There's also the nationals that get multi-visits: Connecticut and Maryland, George Washington, and several others, and the big other games though not every major TV attraction is listed when the Guru knows he must be elsewhere on the same night.

And not listed but on the off-nights are potential visits to any of the local D-2 and D-3 teams with significant games.

So that said, here’s a look at November in the first installment so you, too, might plan though not all the games on the sheet are addressed here.

Opening Night Friday Nov. 11 – Right off the bat a tough conflict for the neutral fan, Temple will be at Saint Joseph’s in a Big Five game while Penn State, once a huge draw in the city, will visit Drexel. Lafayette, in year No. 2 under Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Theresa Grentz, the former Immaculata great, will be at La Salle, while Rider is in a neighborhood war at Princeton, two old rival coaches (as in longtime) with Chattanooga under Jim Foster at Rutgers under C. Vivian Stringer. Villanova meets Mississippi State in a tournament at Maine, followed the next day with a meeting with either the host team or Purdue.

Sunday, Nov. 13 – Penn, the unanimous preseason choice to repeat as Ivy champs, again meets Duke in an opener, this time in Durham, N.C., after hosting the Devils in last season’s opener, played at The Palestra, in a game which the Quakers nearly pulled an upset.

The same day, Delaware’s first action in hosting George Mason, a former CAA rival now in the Atlantic 10, while George Washington, under new coach Jen Rizzotti, hosts Princeton; and coming right back for more home games, the Hawks of St. Joes host Patriot favorite Bucknell, and Penn State hosts Saint Peter’s, coached by Pat Coyle, the former Rutgers star and WNBA coach of the New York Liberty

Monday, Nov. 14 – Temple hosts La Salle in a second Big Five tilt for the Owls in two games while Rutgers travels to CAA preseason No. 2 pick Elon, coached by Charlotte Smith, the former N.C. State star. Nationally, Dawn Staley’s South Carolina squad travels to Ohio State, four-time defending NCAA champ UConn travels to Florida State, while Texas travels to Stanford.

Wednesday, Nov. 16 – Following a dark slate on Tuesday night on the Guru’s sked, Drexel travels to Vanderbilt, returning a 2015-16 visit, but the Commodores are now under Steph White, the former WNBA Indiana Fever coach. Penn hosts Binghamton in its home opener.

Thursday, Nov. 17 – Baylor visits UConn, the Huskies home opener with a challenge waiting to take on the Bears in the first year following the graduation of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck to the WNBA.

Friday, Nov. 18 – It’s a stop in New York at lunchtime for the Lapchick Character Awards, of which two of the winners are Philadelphia University coach Herb Magee and WNBA Washington Mystics assistant Marianne Stanley, who coached Old Dominion to three national titles and starred at Immaculata.

Saturday, Nov. 19 – For the Guru, a day/night travel doubleheader with Dayton visiting Princeton at noon and then up to Lehigh hosting Sacred Heart. Temple is at Florida and Delaware hosts Saint Bonaventure.

Sunday, Nov. 20 – George Washington visits Villanova while Tennessee is at Penn State. Rutgers is at Virginia, La Salle hosts American, and UConn is at LSU.

Monday, Nov. 21 – Syracuse, the national runnersup in April, visits Drexel in the only local D-1 that day.

Tuesday, Nov. 22 – Another marquee Big Five game has Saint Joseph’s traveling to Penn while Princeton continues its annual nonconference rivalry, visiting Delaware.

Thursday, Nov. 24 – That’s right, after another vacant night, there is a local doubleheader on Thanksgiving Day, originally set for Puerto Rico, but now in Daytona Beach where Villanova meets Troy while Penn State plays Georgia State.

Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday Nov. 26  – The next night in Daytona Beach, Penn State plays Georgetown, a matchup that will be replicated later in the nation’s capital when the Lady Lions visits the Hoyas.

Turkey weekend means invitational tournaments so Delaware plays Michigan State in CSU-Northridge’s tourney, followed by a game against either the hosts or Detroit; Saint Joseph’s, in New Mexico’s tourney, opens against BYU, and then it’s Tulsa or the hosts. In UNCW’s tournament where the game are all predetermined La Salle meets meets Miami, Ohio, and then the hosts, Sun.

Sunday, Nov. 27 – Temple hosts Quinnipiac, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference power, while Drexel visits Patriot favorite Bucknell. Meanwhile in the Hall of Fame Challenge in Springfield, Mass., get this collection of Philly coaches in the four games at the Mass. Mutual Center: Lafayette (Theresa Grentz), vs. Hampton; Saint Peter’s (Pat Coyle) vs. Bowling Green; Chattanooga (Jim Foster) vs. Maine, and the national attraction South Carolina (Dawn Staley) vs. Louisville.

Tuesday, Nov. 29 – After a dark Monday, Jim Foster continues playing against Philly-area coaches in Geno Auriemma, who once served as his assistant at Saint Joseph’. The Chattanooga-UConn game is at the XL Center in Hartford.

Wednesday, Nov. 30 – The month concludes with four games, La Salle visits Villanova in Big Five action; Seton Hall is at Princeton in a Jersey rivalry game; Penn State is at Boston College in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game; and Penn visits Lafayette, a place where the Quakers were upset two years ago.

Looking Ahead to December:

On the first of the month, Temple visits Harvard, Duke is at Rutgers in another ACC/Big Ten Challenge game, DePaul is at UConn on campus in Storrs where. The former Old Big East rivals meet with host Geno Auriemma facing his USA assistant Doug Bruno. South Carolina is at Texas in another big national game for both schools.

Villanova is at Saint Joseph’s in a key Big Five Game, Dec. 3, while Texas travels to play Connecticut on Dec. 4, at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville in the annual Jimmy V and Hall of Fame game.

CAA favorite James Madison, which hosts Tennessee in its Nov. 11 season opener, travels to Rutgers, Dec. 5.

UConn is at Notre Dame on Dec. 7 while Temple is at Villanova on Dec. 10. Tennessee visits Texas on Dec. 11, Seton Hall is at Rutgers Dec. 13 in another Jersey rivalry game, and the same day Niagara, coached by former Saint Joseph’s assistant Jayda Pierce, visits Drexel.

DePaul visits Temple, Dec. 15 and two days later the Owls travel to Rutgers.

On Dec. 18, Saint Joseph’s is at Drexel, while nationally, Stanford is at Tennessee, and UCLA is at South Carolina. The next night, Dec. 19, Ohio State visits UConn.

On Dec. 21, Villanova travels to Duke, while Stanford visits George Washington, and Drexel is at Lafayette. James Madison visits Saint Joseph’s, Dec. 28, UConn is at Maryland, Dec. 29, DePaul visits Villanova in a Big East tilt Dec. 30, while on New Year’s Eve, Penn State is at Rutgers at noon, and Saint Joseph’s opens Atlantic 10 play at Richmond.

And that’s the way it rolls on the front half of 2016-17.


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