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, January 23, 2017

Guru's Overniter: Drexel and Villanova Gain Easy Wins

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA – Drexel doesn’t usually make quick work of Hofstra and vice versa in their long-running wars in the Colonial Athletic Association.

But Sunday afternoon was the exception to that depiction as the Dragons handled the Pride 65-43 here in Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center. The 22-point differential was the widest in nine years without regard to the winning team, though Drexel grabbed that previous one, also, in 2008 by a score of 59-30.

The game began some 15 minutes late caused by orders to clear the building within the hour of the opening tip because of what became a false fire alarm.

The win kept coach Denise Dillon’s team (14-4, 5-2 CAA) right on the heels of the conference leaders, moving back into a second place tie with defending champion and preseason favorite James Madison, which was upset a second time by Towson, this time with the score being 60-55 at home in Harrisonburg, Va.

The Dukes (12-6, 5-2) had just handed Elon their first CAA loss Friday night, getting the victory on the road in North Carolina. But now the Phoenix are back all alone atop the conference standings after escaping William & Mary 60-58.

Both Drexel losses in the CAA are to Elon (14-5, 6-1) but had William & Mary pulled the upset and caused a three-way tie for first, the Dragons would be in the projected third-seeded slot for the conference tournament for the moment.

Second place will get untied quickly on the weekend ahead because Drexel on Friday night will travel to JMU, which will be the host for the CAA tourney.

Meanwhile, a far as the stars of Sunday’s game for Drexel, there were an array with hot shooting hands.

Sarah Curran had 17 points and seven rebounds and excited the crowd shooting 7-for-12 from the field, including 3-for-4 on three-point attempts.

Meghan Creighton lit the DAC on 4-of-8 attempts, including 3-for-6 on attempted treys for 11 points and freshman Bailey Greenberg was 5-for-9 with a pair of foul shots to pick up 12 points.

Sara Woods helped from the bench, shooting 4-for-6, and picked up nine points, and reserve Tereza Kracikova added seven points. Kelsi Lidge keyed the defensive stand with six turnovers and the Dragons also forced 23 turnovers and picked up a 22-8 advantage from them while yielding eight to the Hofstra (8-9, 1-5).

Drexel’s bench, a big factor, outscored the Pride reserves 24-7.

Krystal Luciano was the only Hofstra player in double figures, scoring 19 points and connecting on 4-of-12 connected treys while the rest of Hofstra was 1-for-11 from beyond the arc.
Ashunae Durant was held to 8 points, below her 15.6 scoring average though defensively she was right at her number grabbing 11 rebounds.

“Just the presence our players had on her,” Drexel coach Denise Dillon said of stopping one of Hofstra’s top players. “We put Bailey on her from the beginning. The one thing I am impressed with that kid, she’s always rebounding the basketball. She had an off night offensively but she does not stop and she’s relentless on those boards.”

“Defensively, we were disruptive and that showed with (Hofstra’s) 43 points,” Dillon said.

Her only dismay was over Hofstra’s 22-7 advantage on the offensive glass.

Hofstra was through here at the end of last month, beating Saint Joseph’s of the Atlantic Ten and seemingly coming together for conference play.

“Drexel does what Drexel does here,” said Hofstra veteran coach Krista Kilburn Stevesky. “I mean they shoot in the 40s at 45 percent – they shot 53 percent in the fourth quarter. I thought we had a lot of defensive possessions where we got stops and we had a lot of wasted possessions on the offensive end.

“We had 23 turnovers to a team that’s very efficient. They don’t turn the ball over very much and then they capitalize on your turnovers and your mistakes.”

Drexel heads to JMU Friday, site of this season’s CAA tournament now that the event is going from a neutral venue back to the individual schools, followed by Drexel hosting next year and Delaware the following year.

Besides snapping the second-place deadlock the Dragons will be seeing to up the record overall to 15-4, which after 19 games would be a first in the program’s history. After the JMU game, Drexel will be back here on Sunday hosting Northeastern.

In JMU’s loss, which ended a home streak of six straight wins, Towson (11-7, 4-3) closed out the Dukes with a 17-3 run and connected on six free throws in the final minute.

Precious Hall, the preseason player of the year,  had 20 points for James Madison, which used a 19-0 run across the first two periods to take an 11-point lead. The Tigers countered with an 11-2 advantage to cut the score early in the third period.

The last team to sweep JMU in a season was Delaware in 2013.

The Blue Hens (10-8, 4-3 CAA) won their third straight Sunday, beating Charleston 71-66 in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

Nicole Enabosi had 23 points, shooting 8-for-9 from the field and connecting on all seven foul shooting attempts for Delaware () and also grabbing 12 rebounds to make it her fifth straight game with a double double.

Erika Brown scored a season-high 26 points, shooting 9-for-12 from the field for the Blue Hens, who finally broke from a tight game in the fourth and final period outscoring the opposition 11-2 to go on to an 11-point lead.

Breanna Bolden had 23 points and nine rebounds for Charleston (5-13, 2-5).

"This was a pure team victory today," said Delaware coach Tina Martin. “Everyone played exceptionally well and we executed the game plan. We did what we needed to do to win this game. Every game is big in this league and all of the teams are closely matched.

Delaware next plays at William & Mary Friday night at William & Mary and then on to Towson on Sunday afternoon.

In the Elon game, Lauren Brown scored her 1,000th point for the Phoenix and hit two foul shots with 1.4 seconds remaining allowing Elon to edge William & Mary 60-58 on the road in Williamsburg, Va., and go back alone into first place in the CAA after James Madison fell to Towson.

Brown, Malaya Johnson, and Shay Burnett each scored 10 points for the winning Phoenix (`4-5, 6-1 CAA)

Abby Rendle had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Tribe (13-4, 3-3).

Elon next heads to New England visiting Norheastern Friday and Hofstra Sunday.

Villanova Cruises Over Xavier

The Wildcats had a much easier time Sunday beating the Musketeers 72-47 in Cincinnati in a Big East game at the Cintas Center than on Friday night’s overtime win at Butler at the finish.

Freshman Mary Gedaka continued her outstanding play for Villanova (11-9, 6-3 Big East), which won its fifth straight, scoring 18 points to top three other teammates who also scored in double figures. She also grabbed eight rebounds.

Xavier fell to 10-10 and 2-7 in the Big East.

Freshman Kelly Jekot had 13 points, Alex Louin scored 11, and Megan Quinn had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Jannah Tucker had nine points off the bench for the Wildcats in her first game back after missing several with an injury.

Villanova outscored Xavier in each quarter setting the pace at the outset with a 20-6 advantage.

Gedaka has 60 points and 34 rebounds in her last four games while Quinn has 35 points and 26 rebounds in her last three.

The Wildcats next head to  Georgetown Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest in the nation’s capital.

Rutgers Fades at No. 3 Maryland

The Scarlet Knights reduced a 20-point deficit which grew after a close first half to under 10 points but were held off by the Terrapins 80-71 in a Big Ten game at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Md.

Shrita Parker had 19 points, one below her career high, for Rutgers (6-15, 3-5 Big Ten), while Jazlynd Rollins had a career-high 15 points and Aliyah Jeune had 13 points.

Brionna Jones had 13 points and 11 rebounds while freshman Destiny Slocum had 11 points and 11 assists for the Terrapins (19-1, 7-0), whose only loss was to top-raned Connecticut at home last month.

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 19 for Maryland, which is alone atop the Big Ten standings, and Kaila Charles scored 16.

Rutgers is off until Sunday when Northwestern visits at 2 p.m. At the game, the 1982 AIAW champions and 1987 Atlantic 10 champions, two of the program’s greatest teams,will be honored at halftime.

Looking Ahead

Penn State is at Indiana Monday night looking for a split in their season series in the Big Ten while the big game nationally is the SEC first-place showdown between No. 4 Mississippi State and host No. 5 South Carolina.

On Wednesday Temple is at Penn in The Palestra going for a sweep and outright win of the Big 5 otherwise the Owls, who have won 11 straight overall games will have to share the City Series title with Villanova at 3-1.

La Salle hosts Massachusetts at noon that day in an Atlantic Ten game while Saint Joseph’s plays at Rhode Island at 11 a.m., also in the conference.

On Thursday, Rider hosts Manhattan at 7 p.m. in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

We’ll do the rest later in the week.



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