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, January 21, 2017

Guru Report: Stirring Road Rally Carries Villanova Past Butler in Overtime

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

It was sweeps night among the Guru’s local group on Friday highlighted by a tremendous rally from a 22-point deficit in the third quarter to give Villanova a 70-69 victory in overtime at Butler in the Big East in Indianapolis in the fabled Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Drexel got back on the winning side at home in the Daskalakis Athletic Center beating Charleston in the Colonial Athletic Association 70-57 while Delaware also took a CAA win, beating Northeastern 65-53.

Also in a first-place showdown things got knotted up as defending champion and preseason pick James Madison hit Elon with its first loss, beating the Phoenix, 76-70.

Incidentally, the Guru was not at any game because of attending a center city farewell party for Inquirer departing sports editor John Quinn, who, by the way, is tuned in knowledge wise to the women’s game.

So this report is drawn off all the reports via email, wires, and  school website postings from the various teams of interest.

Furthermore, because of traveling back from Jersey City Thursday night, the Guru did not get to file, but will here, the Rider win, coach Lynn Milligan’s 100th, over Saint Peter’s in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference he attended, and the Penn State win in the Big Ten in which Lindsey Spann scored her 1000th career point.

He will be back on the case Saturday afternoon when Temple hosts Memphis in an American Athletic Conference game in Monigle Hall going for the Owls’ 11th straight win.

Now, moving on to the Wildcats’ win, their fourth straight overall, and coming just two days after taking the Big 5 contest against Penn in the Palestra.

Out in the Midwest, Butler (5-14, 2-6 Big East), opened a 10-0 lead that expanded four more to a 19-5 advantage at the end of the first period. The two teams played dead even across the next two, each scoring 14 points in the second and 10 in the third, leaving Villanova (10-9, 5-3) in an anemic total of 29 points for the game.

And then the Wildcats, as they did in several games early in the season, exploded in the final quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 30-16 to even it all up.

Credit the Butler account for the Guru rewrite since Nova being on the road, the Guru did not yet see the Wildcats’ post as of 15 minutes ago (it’s 2:13 a.m.).

After previous exchanges of foul shots inside six seconds, Villanova’s Alex Louin, who may be nominated for a sports emmy for the play, was near mid-court and felt a bump and sent the ball in the air with two seconds on the clock.
The official ruled it an act of shooting, giving the former Mount St. Joseph’s star three shots on the foul line and Louin connected on all three to force the extra period.

In the five-minute overtime, Butler scored first but Villanova’s Grace Stant countered with a triple to give the Wildcats their first lead.

Then ‘Nova freshman Mary Gedaka, who starred in the win over Saint John’s at home last Sunday, scored on a layup to extend the differential by three points.

Megan Quinn, one of the stars in win over Penn, nailed a trey to put Villanova ahead by four points with 36 seconds left in the overtime.

Tori Schickle of Butler, who had a game-high 28 points and 20 rebounds, had eight points in the overtime but the Wildcats would prevail connecting foul shots in the closing minute.

Gedaka hit what became the game-winner with a foul shot with seven seconds remaining for a four-point advantage, enough to sustain Sydney Buck’s trey as time expired.

Villanova rode this one the Wildcats had thrived in other games this season, going to multiple connecting 3-pointers route, which in this one produced 11.

Gedaka, the daughter of former Villanova great Lisa Angelotti, agains off the bench, had a standout game with 20 points while Louin’s foul shooting helped her to collect 16 points while grabbing 10 rebounds for a double double. Quinn had 12 rebounds.

Adrianna Hahn, who exploded in the second half in the win over Penn, was held down in this one, also, for a longer stretch, but rose to score eight points late and finish with nine.

It’s probably one of the bigger comebacks in ‘Nova women’s history – the Guru recalls a game in which Providence eons ago had a lead in the 20s and then rallied with Sue Glenning hitting a three to win the game.

Stant connected on four of the treys and reached 14 points for Villanova, which is now 7-1 in the series with Butler.

With Saint John’s losing to Creighton, the Wildcats are alone in fourth in the Big East, a game behind Marquette, which travels to league leader and 19th-ranked DePaul (16-4, 8-0) Saturday night in Chicago.

The Wildcats next head to Cincinnati to play Xavier in the Cintas Center Sunday  at 5 p.m.

Drexel and Delaware Take CAA Wins

The Dragons used a balanced attack and got fortified help from their bench to get past Charleston 70-57 in the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

Though close throughout, Drexel (13-4, 4-2) led all the way and though Sarah Curran was the only player in double figures with 10 points, seven others scored seven or more points.

Sara Woods, off the bench, tied her career high with eight points, while Tereza Kracikova did likewise with seven points. Woods also matched a milestone with five steals.

Overall, the Dragons swiped 12 steals and clamped down defensively, forcing a season-high 28 turnovers.

Meghan Creighton, who had nine points off 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc, reached her 500th career assist and is one player best of all time in the category, needing to top the 584 in the books from Barbara Yost.

Jessica Pellechio also hit a trio of threes to score nine points.

All seven of freshman Bailey Greenberg’s seven points came in the first quarter.

The Cougars (5-12, 2-4)  got 21 points and 13 rebounds from Breanna Bolden.

Drexel will stay home for Sunday’s conference visit from Hofstra.

Meanwhile, Delaware made it two straight wins, beating Northeastern 65-53 at home in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, where possibly the Blue Hens could see more in the stands from famed alum Joseph Biden, now that his vice presidential days have ended.

He made several appearances to the Bob during the Elena Delle Donne era, including the second round win over North Carolina in the 2012 NCAA tournament that sent coach Tina Martin’s team on to the Sweet 16 against Kentucky at Connecticut.

In Friday’s game, Sade Chatman had a career high for Delaware (9-8, 3-3)  while Nicole Enabosi had her fourth straight double double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

Francesca Sally had 14 points for Northeastern (6-12, 2-4).

“I feel really good about where everybody’s focus is right now,” said Martin, who picked up her 400th career win, all at Delaware, on Sunday.

“Our defense was outstanding tonight, especially in the first half. If we keep playing team defense like this, it will take us a long way. Defense helps the offensive end as well.

“We’re really playing like a team right now and that shows in everything we’re doing. We have to keep this rolling as there’s still a long way to go in the season.”

Enabosi is the first sophomore since Christina Rible (1999-00) to register at least four straight games with a double double – that’s what the notes from Delaware say, friends, so EDD didn’t exactly do it all, just most of the heavy lifting.

Charleston heads down from Friday’s loss at Drexel to play the Blue Hens Sunday at 2 p.m.

Elsewhere in the CAA, in the JMU-Elon showdown, redshirt senior Precious Hall made the rode trip less weary in scoring 41 points to give the visitors the win and hand Elon its first conference loss of the season in the game played in North Carolina.

The two teams are tied for first at 5-1 with Elon one more overall win (13-5) better than the Dukes (12-5). Drexel, with two losses, both to Elon, is a game behind the leaders, having to still play JMU home-and-home.

Until the third period, there had been eight ties and nine lead changes in the game.

Elon had won nine straight overall.

JMU goes home Sunday to greet Towson, which upset the Dukes two weeks ago in Maryland.

Rider Smokes Saint Peter’s for Milligan's 100th

On Thursday night, the Broncs took the short ride from their Lawrenceville campus up to Jersey City in the Garden State and bounced back off last Saturday’s tough loss at home to Fairfield to down Saint Peter’s 56-43.

Rider’s Robin Perkins had a game-high 24 points in the MAAC game played at the Yanitelli Center.

The Broncs (13-5, 7-2 MAAC) are perfect on the road this season, an achievement that gets tested Saturday afternoon when they visit league leader Quinnipiac in the second part of the home-and-home series.

Quinnipiac’s loss the other night means Rider can move into a first place tie in the MAAC and split the two games in the regular season series.

“I think we bounced back pretty well,” Rider coach Lynn Milligan said. “Another road win in the MAAC, we’ll take it.

“I thought our defensive intensity was good, we forced multiple shot-clock violations and did a good job with switches to keep their players out of their comfort areas.”

Julie Duggan had 10 points, her seventh straight game scoring in double figures.

Freshman guard Safie Tolusso of Switzerland came off the bench to score eight points.

Milligan gained her 100th win with the program where she is in her 10th season.

Talah Hughes was the only opponent player in double figures, scoring 12 points for the Peacocks (3-15, 2-7), who had won two straight at home.

Sammy Lochner, in 38 minutes, scored seven points, dealt six assists, and made both foul shots for Saint Peter’s. She is the daughter of former La Salle women’s coach and current Delaware assistant Tom Lochner.

Penn State Roars Past Nebraska

In the other game in the Guru’s group in action Thursday, the Lady Lions downed Nebraska 86-69 at home in a Big Ten game played in the Bryce Jordan Center as junior Lyndsey Spann reached her 1,000th career point, joining the 36th in the program who have hit that milestone.

Spann had 14 on the night for Penn State (13-6, 3-4 Big Ten), while Teniya Page had a team-high 18 points and scored her 800th career point as a sophomore.

Peyton Whitted was also in double figures for the home team with 14 points.

It’s the second straight game and third time this season that the Penn State bench contributed 30 or more points.

Jessica Shepard had 20 point and 12 rebounds for Nebraska (5-14, 1-6).

Next up is a Monday trip to play Indiana in Bloomington on the Big Ten. TV network with a chance to get revenge for the 89-70 setback dealt by the Hoosiers earlier this season in Happy Valley.

The Wild Pac-12 West

Friday night means the a strong dose of the rankapalooza conference aka The Pac-12, is in action and this week No. 10 Stanford topped visiting Arizona 73-46 while No. 18 Arizona State on the road beat California 54-45, and No. 11 Oregon State beat visiting Utah 70-44.

It’s also travel partner week so No. 8 Washington is off until Sunday, playing Washington State while going for a sweep this week No. 13 UCLA hosts Southern Cal, whom the Bruins already beat several days ago.

In the Stanford game, the countdown continued as Tara VanDerveer, a Hall of Famer,  got closer  with career win No. 996 to joining the late Tennessee legend Pat Summitt with 1,000 victories.

The Cardinal beat Arizona 73-46 as Karlie Samuelson, the older sister of UConn star Katie Lou, had four treys and 15 points in the win over the Wildcats (11-7, 2-5 Pac-12).

“The reason she makes them is she practices them a lot,” VanDerveer said of Samuelson’s long-range ability, which was demonstrated before the morning shootaround when she made a shot from half-court. “Karlie this year is more than 3-point shooting. She has a complete game. She’s working hard on the defensive end.”

Brittany McPhee and Erica McCall each scored 13 points for Stanford (), which has beaten Arizona 15 straight times at home in Maples Pavilion. Overall its 29-1 in the last 30 in the series in terms of Cardinal victories.

Next up Sunday is a visit from 18th ranked Arizona State, whom Stanford (16-3, 6-1)  beat 64-57 at Temple in the desert last month to open the Pac-12 season.

The Sun Devils won at their first stop in the Bay Area Friday night, beating Cal 54-45 in the Golden Bears’ Haas Pavilion in Berkeley in a Pac-12 game that had nine lead changes and nine ties.

Asha Thomas had 13 points for Cal (14-5, 2-5 Pac-12), which had been in the rankings several weeks ago. Kristine Anigwe had 15 rebounds and blocked three shots.

Sophie Brunner had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Arizona State (14-4, 5-2).

Cal is now 1-2 against ranked teams, including a sweep from the Sun Devils. The previous win stopped the Golden Bears’ 13-game win streak with Arizona State emerging in double overtime 72-62.

“Arizona State is one of the toughest teams we face all year,” said Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb. “I thought we were really good for 36 minutes but not good enough … We will be better every single day, starting with Sunday and going from there.”

In the only other Pac-12 games on the books involving ranked teams in the conference, No. 11 Oregon State handled visiting Utah 70-44 at home in Gill Coliseum in Corvalis.

Marie Gulich had 14 points off 7-for-10 shooting from the field and 11 rebounds while Sydney Wiese was 5-for-7 shooting 3-pointers to collect 17 points and deal six assists for the Beavers (17-2, 6-1 Pac-12).

Emily Potter had 12 points and Wendy Anae scored 11 for Utah (13-5, 2-5).

“We knew the key tonight was going to be loosening up their defense,” said Oregon State coach Scott Rueck. “For part of the first half, it was tough to get good looks, but then we started to settle in. I loved the way our team moved the ball, saw the floor and made shots. Overall it was a great performance and a great win.”

Looking Ahead

Besides Temple-Memphis State and Rider-Quinnipiac on Saturday, Saint Joseph’s travels to Dayton, looking for a fifth straight win and a chance to move up in the Atlantic 10 standings. Also in the A-10, La Salle travels to Davidson.

In the Patriot League, the nearby rivals upstate hook up with Lehigh traveling to Lafayette in Easton, Pa., for the 90th game in the long-running series, with Lehigh having won 15 of the last 19.

But it’s been a tough year for both schools, which arrive at the game with a combined 28-game losing streak. Lehigh has lost 10 straight, the longest in 22 years, while Lafayette has lost all 18 since an opening night win at La Salle.

Both have had tough losses. On Wednesday night at home in Bethlehem, Pa., the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh fell 66-64 to Navy after rallying from an 18-point deficit, only to have an inbound pass stolen in the final seconds that resulted in Navy hitting a three-pointer from near mid-court as time expired.

Lafayette had a loss in triple overtime at Army and lost a lead at Colgate.

On Sunday, besides the CAA games mentioned, as well as the Villanova-Xavier game, Rutgers is at No. 3 Maryland in the Big Ten.

No. 1 UConn, which is coming to Temple, Feb. 1 at the Liacouras Center, hosts Tulane, going for win No. 93 to extend its recently acquired NCAA win streak record from the 90 straight the Huskies previously owned.


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