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, December 29, 2016

Guru's Roundup: La Salle and Drexel Continue Hot Hands

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA – A three-game tour highlighted the Guru’s day Wednesday attending games with accommodating time starts and each different.

Elsewhere among the locals in the PhilahoopsW group, Drexel continued to rise above the rest of the crowd with yet another win to complete a two-game sweep down in Florida while Rutgers and Penn State suffered road setbacks in their Big 10 league schedule season openers.

Meanwhile, heads up being in the middle of it as the USBWA board member for women’s basketball, the announcement of the USBWA 2017 Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award will be announced out of the website in the 5 p.m. Hour Thursday.

In the city and suburbs between noon and shortly before third-game’s conclusion Villanova tipped first opening its Big East portion of the schedule at home at The Pavilion against Marquette with a fabulous individual performance by sophomore Adrianna Hahn that was negated and wiped out in the second half.

 In the third period the Warriors (10-2) double upped the Wildcats 28-14

And that led the way to Marquette holding off the Wildcats and going on to a 77-71 victory that negated sophomore shooting sensation Adrianna Hahn tying an individual Villanova record with nine 3-pointers fueling a career-high 31 points.

Hahn had six of the treys in the first half and shot 9-for-16 from beyond the arc overall for the Wildcats (4-7), who next host former nationally-ranked DePaul at the Pavilion Friday night.

It’s the second trip to town for the Blue Demons, who were upset over in North Philadelphia two weeks ago from Temple.

Alex Louin also had a nice scoring night for Villanova with 22 points off 9-for-14 from the field while Tennessee transfer Jannah Tucker scored 14 points.

Allazia Blockton, a former USBWA freshman of the week winner nationally, had 21 points shooting 10-for-19 from the field, while Erika Davenport had 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Amani Wilborn scored 15 points.

Villanova got to the line just once, connecting on its only foul shot, while Marquette was 12-for-16.

The speedy Warriors dominated the paint, 44-18, and shutout the Wildcats in fastbreak points 24-0, and off the bench outscored Villanova 18-2.

The Warriors snapped Villanova’s four-game win streak in the series.
“We had the score where we wanted it at halftime,” Villanova coach Harry Perretta said. “And then in the second half, it became an offensive game and we really had no chance to win. They score too many points.”

La Salle Win Streak Continues After Stopping UMKC

Some great defense at the finish involving a few steals led to La Salle running its win streak to five and continue an overall 8-1 run for a non-conference win over Mo.-Kansas City 64-59 at the Explorers’ Tom Gola Arena.

The Kangaroos (5-7) are coached by Marsha Frese, the sister of Maryland coach Brenda Frese, who will have her fourth-ranked Terrapins take the floor at the Xfinity Center Thursday night as the last big threat to top-rank Connecticut.

Samantha Waldron was about the only player La Salle (8-4) couldn’t contain, scoring a game-high total of 27 points and being tied from the Explorers side individually off Amy Griffin, who also blasted the nets for 27. Jasmine Alston had 10 points and nine rebounds while Adreana Miller scored 11 points.

“Deja Bullock came in and gave us a tremendous lift (defensively),” La Salle coach Jeff Williams said. “I just read her stats, zero points, zero free throws, zero rebounds, she played 19 minutes of great defense and that’s what got us over down the stretch.

“We struggled. Marsha (Frese) did a great job of scouting us, she knew our plays better than we did. But we got a W, excited about getting to the (Atlantic 10), we go to VCU, tough tempo, tremendous tempo, they push defensively, so we have to be ready. We have to clean up a lot of things,”

Saint Joseph’s Squanders 17-Point Lead

The Hawks hit their first seven shots and soared to a 28-11 lead only to later get shut down 15-4 in the third quarter and and 30-19 in the fourth to lose at home in Hagan Arena 85-72 to Colonial Athletic Association preseason favorite James Madison 85-72.

Lexie Barrier had 22 points for the Dukes (6-4) while Precious Hall, the CAA preseason player of the year, scored 17 points. Freshman Kamiah Smalls, a graduate of Neumann Goretti, celebrated her homecoming scoring 11 points and grabbing eight rebounds, while Aneah Young also scored 11 points, while Tasia Butler scored `5 points.

Neumann Goretti is also the alma mater of Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, drawing him among the crowd of 923.

Smalls made several key plays to help JMU successfully rally.

Ruined on the side of the Hawks (3-9) was a 20-point performance by Adashia Franklyn made moot, while also obliterated were 13 each by Alyssa Monaghan and Kristalyn Baisden.

The Dukes reserves outscored Saint Joseph’s 29-18 as the Hawks wrapped up preseason play losing to their third straight CAA squad on the heels of leads lost at Drexel and at home to Hofstra.

They open play in the Atlantic 10 Saturday at Richmond on New Year’s Eve.

In some ways, the Hawks got routed twice in the same game, giving up the large lead and then getting outplayed again after James Madison caught up with them.

JMU had a huge 46-31 lead in rebounding.

“It was very special, that feeling gave me a boost on my attitude and stuff, knowing they were all here supporting me when I first came out,” Smalls said of the fans she drew from her native city to the game.

“I don’t know exactly what it was, we put a pretty good charge into them at halftime, that’s two games in a row where we allowed a team to score 50 points on us in a half,” said first-year coach Sean O’Reagan of the turnaround in the second half.

O’Reagan was promoted to head coach after longtime mentor Kenny Brooks in the offseason moved a little further south in Virginia to Va. Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference where he now has the squad unbeaten and back in the rankings after a long absence.

“We had a difference vigor. I don’t know the exact pinpoint, maybe it was my halftime speech, I’m just kidding of course.”

O’Reagan said his squad slowed down the Hawks, “I think our man defense helped put the lid on,” so to speak. I always think it’s what you’re doing inside.”

Drexel Run Continues

The Dragons claimed the FIU Holiday Classic crown in Miami as the only of the four teams to complete a sweep in the two-day predetermined matchups after beating Massachusetts 65-47.

The win enabled Drexel (9-2) to go unbeaten in December at 6-0 and the 9-2 start is the best-ever for the Dragons in their first 11 games.

Sarah Curran, likely the tournament MVP, followed up her 29 points in the win over George Mason on Tuesday with 20 against the Minutewomen of the Atlantic 10.

Jessica Pellechio scored 14 points for Drexel. Incidentally, Bailey Greenberg is  this week’s CAA freshman of the week, the second straight week a Drexel player has claimed that honor.

Megan Creighton has now gone five straight games and 178 minutes of playing time without committing a turnover.

Drexel now heads into the start of CAA play Monday, hosting Towson at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.


Penn State and Rutgers Drop Big Ten Openers

The Lady Lions opened conference play at home in the Bryce Jordan Center  and Scarlet Knights opened conference play on the road and each fell as Indiana took an 89-70 win over Penn State while Rutgers continued to struggle, losing 63-50 at Michigan.

Michigan (12-3) used a 17-6 third quarter advantage to down Rutgers (3-11) as Kysre Gondrezick scored a game-high 18 points in her first career start. It’s the first win over the Scarlet Knights in program history for the Wolverines.

Four players scored in double figures for the Wolverines, who forced 17 Rutgers turnovers.

Shrita Parker had 16 points, while Kandiss Barber and Aliyah Jeune each scored 10 for the Scarlet Knights.

In the Penn State game, the loss snapped a six-game win streak and 7-0 home start for the Lady Lions (10-3).

Teniya Page had 26 points, tying tops in the game with Tyra Buss of Indiana (11-3), while Lindsay Spann scored 14 points.

Penn State now travels to Rutgers for a noon-tip at the Rutgers Athletic C enter Saturday on New Year’s Eve.

Meanwhile, Thursday will bring the awaited matchup of top-ranked Connecticut against No. 4 Maryland in the 17,-000-seat soldout Xfinity Center in Colllege Park, Md., where the visiting Huskies bring an 86-game win streak into the Terrapins Arena and with a win would be in position to continue the run straight to the eve of the South Carolina visit in February.

Not likely to see a serious game threat in the American Athletic Conference, that could mean UConn winning 99 straight, breaking their own NCAA record of 90, prior to the Gamecocks visit to Storrs.



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