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 09, 2017

Guru's Roundup: Drexel, Villanova, Rider Win; Wild Sunday in the Pac-12

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Drexel, Villanova and Rider enjoyed a victorious Sunday but Delaware ran into the current CAA buzzsaw that is Elon.

Meanwhile, nationally, after years of feeling lightly regarded by the rest of the country and in that rest of the country after years of not worth staying up late back here, just send me the final Stanford score, the Pac-12 has been kicking sand, salmon and whatever else from its geographic sectors in everyone else’s face.

But before looking at the nation, let’s take care of the Guru’s local Philly area schools that were in action. Having been at Temple, the Guru has already posted a singular Owls game story below and under that is the weekly Mike Siroky SEC Report.

So moving on, we start with the news from Beantown where Drexel proved coach Denise Dillon’s worries about the ability to bounce back following Friday night’s tough and narrow loss at home to Elon were needless.

In fact the Dragons did what good teams do next time out when having their mojo disrupted – they took it out on the their next opponent both offensively and defensively.

It’s all summed up right in the final score of the game: Drexel 63, Northeastern 33. Furthermore, the Dragons got a little help elsewhere in the Colonial Athletic Association courtesy of host Towson, which upset defending champion and favored James Madison 54-51.

The host and victories Tigers (8-6, 1-2 CAA) broke from a 47-47 tie with five minutes left in the game on a 5-0 run to have just enough cushion to within the Dukes’ move within a point with 15 seconds left. Towson then hit a pair of foul shots and had possession rights on an ensuing jump ball to give JMU (9-5, 2-1) its first CAA setback.

Drexel’s win, improving the Dragons’ overall record to 11-3 and 2-1 in the CAA, enabled them to also stay on the course of their own history, still matching the best-ever start by the 1986-87 squad, which was then in the America East or whatever that conference was called at the time, probably the North Atlantic, if not that. That team finished 20-7 overall and 14-3 in conference.

As for the defense – the question you are asking? – no it was close by three points but didn’t break the low yield defense record for the program and actually matched a similar 33-point allowance against Towson near the end of last season. Drexel stopped a four-game Northeatern (6-9, 2-1) win streak.

The 1,000-point club chapter at Drexel welcomed its 24th member – Jessica Pellechio, who had a game-high 20 points in her 100th career game while her career total, which began at Virginia Tech, is now 1,010 points. She was also a  terror on shooting treys, connecting on 6-of-7 shots from beyond the arc.

It was Pellechio’s 100th career game and the transfer from Virginia Tech has 100 treys for her collegiate career. Sarah Woods, who turned 21 on game day, had 10 rebounds, double her previous high.

Meghan Creighton was 4-for-7 on three-point attempts – the Dragons collected 11 in the game – and finished with 26 points. She crossed the 900-point measurement plateau in the contest.

In Sarah Curran’s 100th game for the Blue and Gold, she scored 11 points, dealt six assists and had four rebounds and four steals.

In the third quarter, on the way to stopping a four-game win streak by the Huskies (6-9, 2-1), the lead grew as wide as 28 points.

Drexel next heads to UNCW Friday night and then gets a rematch with Elon Sunday down in North Carolina.

Board Work Downfall in Delaware Loss

The Blue Hens’ win streak lasted one game as Elon headed home from Friday night’s first-ever win over Delaware in five tries to take a 62-42 victory Sunday in Alumni Gym.

Delaware (7-7, 1-2 CAA) was outrebounded by nearly twice as much as its own ability, yielding 62 to Elon (11-4, 3-0), which took over first in the conference in the wake of JMU’s loss, to just 32 for the Blue Hens.

Delaware’s Nicole Enabosi had 10 points and 10 rebounds while blocking three shots. Sade Chatman also grabbed 10 rebounds to go with her eight points, while Jenifer Rhodes had 17 points for Elon and Shay Burnett, the heroine of Friday’s win at Drexel, had a game-high 15 rebounds.

Drexel coach Tina Martin summed up what needed no recap, though obviously Friday’s good mood did not last.

“Offensive rebounding killed us today. We just didn’t rebound the basketball, plain and simple. Elon is one of the top two basketball teams in this conference and we just did not keep them off the glass; they out muscled us all day.

“We’re struggling, offensively, and took some questionable shots.”

Elon is 5-1 since joining the conference in the series with Delaware, which has never won in Alumni Gym.

Next up is a visit from JMU Friday night.

Hahn’s Hot Again Leading Villanova to Win at Providence

Adrianna Hahn had a game-high 25 points while Alex Louin scored 17 and the Wildcats took the opening game of their brief road trip, a narrow 64-59 win over the Friars (9-7, 1-4 Big East) in a conference game in Rhode Island.

It was the third straight five-point loss and fourth by less than 10 in Big East play for Providence.

Maddie Jolin had a career day for the home team, scoring 22 points, shooting 6-for-7 from the field.

Villanova  (6-8, 2-2) went 9-12 from the foul line in the final 50 seconds to seal the win as Louin, who played all 40 minutes, was 6-for-8, Hahn made both of hers, and Jannah Tucker was 1-for-2.

It was Hahn’s second straight 20-point game and she is 23-for-50 in 3-point shooting her last five games.

Villanova, in a stretch of playing four games in seven days, has now won 22 of its last 27 with Providence and now lead the all-time series 44-26.

The Wildcats get a test next on Tuesday when they visit Creighton at 8 p.m. EST in Omaha, Nebraska. The home team is one of three picked above them in the preseason poll and the Wildcats have lost to the other two in DePaul and Marquette.

Villanova comes home Friday for an 11:30 a.m. game against Seton Hall, a time change for Kids Day from the original 7 p.m. posting.

Rider Edges Siena

This is a game Rider would have normally lost playing bad against a mediocre squad. But this seems to be a different year for the Broncs to date and on Sunday they beat the Saints  62-61 at Alumni Recreation Center, capping a comeback as Stella Johnson, the USBWA national freshman of the week last month, grabbed a steal and scored a layup at the finish.

The win enabled Rider (11-4, 5-1) to stay a game behind Quinnipiac in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Julie Duggan had 19 points and 10 rebounds, her fourth double double for the season. Rider, avenging an overtime loss to Siena (3-12, 2-4) in the MAAC tournament opener last season, scored nine points Sunday in the final 28 seconds.

“I can’t believe that just happened,” Rider coach Lynn Milligan said of the improbable comeback and finish. “We stayed the course. We did some things today that are going to help us.

“We didn’t rebound, today, and we have to clean that up. But there’s no quit in this team. Every huddle, every time there was a timeout, it was all positive, it was confident.

“We had some players step up. I think Julie Duggan played one of the best games of her career, not just this season, but her career.

Lexi Posset’s three-pointer with less than 15 seconds got the Broncs within one and then with four seconds left Johnson stole the inbounds pass and scored on a contest layup for the winning point.

Just to keep a handle on the win, Johnson again stole the next inbounds pass and that was all she wrote for Siena.

Rider next travels to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Thursday night to meet Marist at McCann Arena at 7 p.m.

The National Report: Pac-12 Packing Punch

What a weekend in the Pac-12, which now has the top RPI, has had as many as a conference record seven teams in one week ranked in the Associated Press women’s poll, showing how the group has grown beyond being previously known as Stanford and the Dwarves.

The earlier blog on the weekend gave Friday’s action while Sunday’s was even better.

It was a lost weekend for soon to be no-longer No. 9 UCLA, which first suffered a setback at Washington State, as a freshman scored 33 for the Courgars, and then on Sunday fell at No. 12 Washington at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle.

 A power outage affected the start of the game Sunday before the Bruins had to deal with the power from Washington senior Kelsey Plum, who scored 39 points leading the Huskies to a 82-70 win.

Chantel Osahor had 19 points and 16 rebounds for Washington (16-2, 4-1 Pac-12), which advanced to its first Women’s Final Four last season.

Monique Billings scored 17 points for UCLA (11-4, 2-2).

Washington State (8-8, 3-2 Pac-12) finished making it a sweep weekend for the Cougars at home in Pullman as Alexys Swedlund scored 22 points in a 74-57 win over Southern Cal (10-5, 1-3), which lost its third straight.

It’s the first sweep of the LA schools since 1994-95 for the Cougars, whose Chanelle Molina followed up her 33-point performance against UCLA with 16 points against the Trojans.

The wild action wasn’t limited to the Northwest.

No. 16 Oregon State edged No. 10 Stanford 72-69 in double overtime in a thriller giving the Beavers their first-ever win at Stanford and Maples Pavillion.

 Sydney Wiese scored 26 points for Oregon State (15-1, 4-0 Pac-12), which out of the weekend carnage is now alone in first in the conference. The Beavers were also a surprise team at the Women’s Final Four last season in Indianapolis.

Stanford (13-3, 3-1) and Oregon State were the last two unbeaten teams in Pac-12 play and the Beavers were 1-30 against the Cardinal in previous meetings.

Erica McCall had 25 points and 12 rebounds and her reverse layup at the buzzer forced the second overtime.

Meanwhile Oregon took down No. 20 California 69-66 in Haas Pavilion in Berkeley as the visitors scored 18 points in the final eight seconds as Sabrina Ionescu nailed a three-pointer to give the Ducks (11-5, 1-3 Pac-12) a win over the Bears (13-3, 1-3).

A 13-3 Cal run had put the Bears up 65-59 with less than a minute in regulation. Ionescu hit a shot and then after Cal went 1-2 at the line, Maite Cazorla nailed a three-pointer to bring the Ducks within two points with 12 seconds left.

On the ensuing Cal inbound play, Ruthy Hebard tipped it and Cazorla grabbed it and scored to tie the game with 4.4 seconds left. Oregon fouled but Cal missed both shots at the line and then Ionescu hit the game-winning three-pointer as time expired.

In the other game involving a ranked Pac-12 team, No. 19 Arizona State crushed host Colorado 71-52 on the road in Boulder as Sophie Brunner scored 16 points and Quinn Dornstauder had 13 and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Sun Devils (12-3, 3-1 Pac-12).

Colorado had been previously ranked several weeks ago as was Oregon.

Meanwhile, in the Atlantic 10, Dayton (9-7, 3-1 A-10), which had struggled overall, took down George Washington 50-48 at home at UD Arena, giving the Colonials (10-6, 3-1) their first conference loss of the season. Lexi Martin had 11 points and 12 rebounds, her third straight double double for GW.

Kelley Austria had 19 points for Dayton.

In the Big East, Saint John’s upset Marquette 70-64 at home in Carneesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y., as Jade Walker had a career-high 32 points and Aaliyah Lewis scored 21 for the Red Storm (11-4, 3-1 Big East). Marquette fell to 12-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference.

No. 23 DePaul won its seventh straight, beating host Seton Hall in Walsh Gym 96-65 as Tainta Allen scored a career-high 30 points for the Blue Demons (13-4, 5-0). Jaqui Grant also had a career high with 23 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds. DePaul has been playing without three injured starters, including Jessica January.

The Pirates, who will visit Villanova Friday morning at 11:30, fell to 8-7 overall and 1-3 in the conference.

The SEC had two things of significance with Kentucky losing to Texas A&M and Mississippi State winning at Tennessee, but Mike Siroky has all that covered in two posts below this one.

That’s the overnight.




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