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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

La Salle Snaps Skid Beating Rhode Island With Balanced Attack

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA – The La Salle women broke out of their two-game slide and led wire-to-wire here the entire way at the Explorers’ Tom Gola Arena Monday night to defeat Rhode Island 70-51 in an Atlantic 10 game that was nationally televised on the CBS Sports.

Coach Jeff Williams’ squad offered a balanced attack in extending Rhode Island’s current losing streak to nine straight. Four Explorers (9-6, 2-2 Atlantic 10) scored in double figures led by Amy Griffin, who had 15 points and his both the defending and current top scorer in the league.

Michaya Owens had 14 points off the bench while Ashanti Freeland had 12 points and Liza Mintzer scored 10 for La Salle, which almost had a fifth player in double digits in Andreana Miller’s nine off 3-for-6 attempted 3-pointers.

Jasmine Alston dealt 13 assists, grabbed seven rebounds, and had a pair of steals to tie Jennifer McGowan (1988-93) as the all-time theft leaders with 233 each. Alston leads the league with a 2.6 average per game.

Despite 23 points from Charise Wilson, who is second in the A-10 in scoring behind La Salle’s Griffin, Rhode Island (4-12, 0-4) dropped its ninth straight, overall. Dina Motrechuk was also in double figures scoring for the Rams with 13 points.

The Explorers were also able to control the boards, 43-33.

The win was another sign of progress, perhaps, for the home team, who lead URI 25-6 in the all-time series, but had dropped four of five contests with Rhody off the last two seasons prior to Monday’s game.

La Salle is now one short of doubling its five-game output in the win column last season and will try to achieve that stat stepping out of conference Wednesday night at 7 when the Explorers host Harvard, which has become a third factor in the Ivy race with Penn and Princeton.

Then it’s back to the A-10 on Saturday for the first of two annual games with Saint Joseph’s, this one being here at 1 p.m., but the game counting in the Big 5 records will be the one on Hawk Hill Feb. 12.

Several homecoming visits were part of Rhody's appearance highlighted by interim assistant Dan Durkin, who was a longtime aide to former coach  Rene Portland at Penn State, then became head coach at Duquesne, and then served on the early staffs of Temple’s Tonya Cardoza before becoming an assistant to former Penn State star Susan Robinson-Fruchtl at Providence.

Monday’s game was the only one on the Guru’s PhilahoopsW local women’s slate among the Division I group.
On Tuesday, Rutgers visits Nebraska in the Big 10 and Villanova visits Creighton in the Big East but the one that will draw the nation’s focus is up in Hartford, where top-ranked Connecticut will host No. 20 South Florida in the American Athletic Conference as the Huskies seek to match their all-time NCAA-record win streak of 90.

On Wednesday, besides the Harvard visit to La Salle here, Temple will go for its eighth straight win hosting East Carolina in an AAC game at 7 in McGonigle Hall, Penn State is at No. 3 Maryland in the Big 10, Holy Cross is at Lafayette in the Patriot League, and VCU visits Saint Joseph’s at 11:30 a.m. In the A-10.

No one is listed Thursday and we will wait a few days to get into the weekend slate except to alert that the Seton Hall game at Villanova, originally listed for 7 p.m., will now be played Friday at 11:30 a.m.


Monday is the day that most conferences announce their players and freshmen of the week and some locals were in the mix with Penn’s Michelle Nwokedi being named co-player in the Ivy League while Princeton’s Bella Alarie was the co-freshman of the week.

James Madison’s Kamiah Smalls, a graduate of Neumann-Goretti, was named the Colonial Athletic Association freshman of the week.

Villanova sophomore Adrianna Hahn is the Phillycollegesports.com player of the week picked by yours truly and its publisher Glenn Papazian, with the honor roll for this week consisting of Drexel’s Jessica Pellechio and Sarah Curran, La Salle’s Griffin, Penn’s Nwokedi and Beth Brzozowski, Saint Joseph’s Adashia Franklyn and Kristalyn Baisden, and Temple’s Feyonda Fitzgerald and Tanaya Atkinson.

In the Big 5, Hahn and Fitzgerald were named co-women’s players of the week.

Condolences to Northwestern

Our thoughts are with Northwestern coach Joe McKeown, the Father Judge grad who coaches the Wildcats and formerly coached George Washington, on the sudden passing of sophomore Jordan Hankins, who was found dead in her room Monday afternoon at the Evanston, Ill., campus.

“Jordan was a remarkably dynamic young woman,” McKeown said in a statement. “This is a devastating loss for our basketball family. She brought an unwavering itensity and commitment to everything in her life. We will miss her enormously.”



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