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.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Guru's Overniter: St. Joseph's Falls at Fordham While Penn, Rider, and Villanova Visit the Metro Area Next

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Venturing up to New York City, which actually got an accumulation of the white stuff, the Saint Joseph’s women’s basketball team found things slow going at Fordham in the Bronx Thursday  night and got mired down in a 44-39  loss to the Rams in an Atlantic 10 game at Rose Hill Gym.

The setback produced a split in one of the limited two-game series the Hawks (11-13, 8-4 Atlantic 10) play in the conference and it was costly in several ways.

For one, coach Cindy Griffin’s squad would have finally gotten to .500 and in position to get enough above it to be considered for an at-large bid to the WNIT.

It also knocked the Hawks a peg down from the crowd fighting just behind front-running Dayton. The top two teams get byes in the newly reconfigured conference tournament format and then several next in line get home games in the first round before the rest of the event moves back to Richmond, Va.

Fordham (17-9, 8-4) with the win moved into a three-way tie with the Hawks and La Salle, which visits Hawk Hill and Hagan Arena Sunday at 2 p.m.

 The La Salle/St. Joe game will also count in the final Big 5 standings in which Sunday’s  winner will be third and the loser fourth behind Temple, which finished with a perfect 4-0 mark in the local round robin.

But at this juncture, it’s the conference race to the league tourney that’s key and La Salle, which lost to the Hawks last month at home, needs a win to move closer in landing a WNIT at-large bid.

In the Hawks’ game at Fordham, the Rams’ 9-0 run near the end of the second quarter or first half, take your pick, gave them a grip on the action to hold tight the rest of the way.

Adashia Franklyn had 15 points and seven rebounds for Saint Joseph’s, while Chelsea Woods had eight points and nine rebounds.

Fordham, obviously, wasn’t an offensive force either, but did enough to make the home folks happy shooting 15-of-17 from the foul line while G’mrice Davis had 15 points and 16 rebounds.

Saint Louis, whom the Hawks recently beat on the road, and George Washington are tied for second, two games behind Dayton and one ahead of the Saint Joseph’s-La Salle-Fordham deadlock.

National Scene: A Calm Night Among the Notables

The Saint Joseph’s game was the only one of the Guru’s locals in action so let’s take a look at the nationally-ranked teams within conferences to view their night.

But first, because there is a local impact moving forward, Quinnipiac romped over visiting  Maris 79-57 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to move a half-game above the tie with Rider, who will be after a two-game sweep of Iona Friday night after beating the Gaels 85-65 at home Jan. 2.

As for national teams in conferences, down in the SEC, No. 6 South Carolina won over visiting Auburn 60-41 at home in Columbia as A’ja Wilson scored 17 points and Alaina Coates scored 16 points.  No. 24 Tennessee, back in the rankings, held off Missouri 77-66, as the Lady Vols pulled away in the final quarter in Knoxville and Diamond DeShields scored 22 points.No. 4 Mississippi State routed visiting Vanderbilt 86-41 as Victoria Vivans scored 21 points.

In the Atlantic Coast Conference, No. 5 Florida State, highest ranking ever for the Seminoles, romped over Wake Forest 102-60 at home in Tallahassee, as Shakayla Thomas in 20 minutes of play scored 23 points. No. 12 Louisville went on the road and kept things miserable for former ranked team Virginia tech in Blacksburg with an 88-70 victory as Asia Durr scored 30 points.

It was a little closer elsewhere in the ACC, notably in Atlanta where No. 17 North Carolina State nipped host Georgia Tech 75-67 in overtime with the Wolf Pack being led to victory by Dominque Wilson, who scored 23 points, and Chelsea Nelson, who scored 17.  No. 16 Miami at home held off Virginia 63-52 as Adrienne Motley and Jessica Thomas each scored 15 points for the Hurricanes, who struggled at the foul line in the final quarter making just 9 of 19 foul shooting attempts.

In the Big 10, No. 3 Maryland at home in College Park blitzed Illinois, 84-59, as the Terrapins (24-1, 12-0) stayed off to their best start ever with Shatori Walker-Kimbrough leading the way with 29 points.

Looking Ahead

While Saint Joseph’s didn’t have much fun in the big city, two other Big 5 teams visit the area Friday night for key conference games.

Penn will attempt to stay unbeaten in the Ivy League meeting an improved Columbia squad at 7 p.m. On Upper Broadway, holding a two-game lead. Princeton, trailing Penn by two games, visits Cornell and Saturday they switch with Penn moving on to Central New York and Princeton appearing in the first meeting with the Lions since former Tigers assistant Meghan Griffith became head coach at her alma mater.

In another key Ivy game, Harvard, now two games behind Penn following a lost weekend in the south losing to the Quakers and Princeton, will try to hold an upper hand toward qualifying for one of the four berths in the new league tournament when it hosts Brown, which is also in contention. Dartmouth hosts Yale in a meeting between the basement teams before Saurday’s switch sending Yale to Harvard and Brown to Dartmouth.

The other Big 5 team in the metro area will be Villanova, which will be looking for a two-game sweep in the Big East series, when the Wildcats visit St. John’s on Long Island in Jamaica.

Drexel will be home hosting William & Mary with a chance to break out of the fourth place tie with Delaware, considering the Blue Hens will be visiting second place James Madison. First-place Elon hosts Northeastern.

On Sunday, Drexel hosts UNCW at 1 p.m. and Delaware hosts Hofstra. James Madison can move into a tie with Elon, hosting the Phoenix, depending on Friday’s outcomes, with a chance to sweep the season series.

On Saturday for the locals, Temple tries to make it three straight as the re-charged Owls visit East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference. In the Big Ten, Rutgers visits Minnesota in Minneapolis while Penn State hosts Purdue in State College.

Also on Saturday, Lafayette College hosts Navy in the Patriot League after snapping a 22-game losing streak on the season, winning at Holy Cross Wednesday night.

Connecticut hosts SMU looking for the Huskies’ 99th straight win prior to Monday’s 9 p.m. Visit from South Carolina in Storrs.

Villanova finishes its Big East Metro area visit Sunday playing at Seton Hall.

Rider hosts Canisius at 1 p.m. trying to stay at or nor the top of the MAAC, pending Friday's results.

And that’s the wrap.



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