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.
By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru
NEWARK, Del. – Besides being quite the night for the New England Patriots in football, it was quite the afternoon on Super Sunday for most of the local teams in action.
Down here where two longtime area rivals have gone at it twice and sometimes thrice annually within the confines of the Colonial Athletic Association schedule, Drexel shook off a disastrous Friday night loss at Charleston to blitz Delaware in the first half and go on to a 54-44 victory here at the Blue Hens’ Bob Carpenter Center and return to a third-place tie with their opponent.
Down in the deep South, Temple shook off two straight losses in the last week to ranked league foes, including No. 1 UConn, and flexed the muscle the Owls had shown on a 12-game win streak prior to the setbacks to thrash host Tulane 76-50 in an American Athletic Conference game in New Orleans.
Saint Joseph’s out on the road in the Midwest slipped past host St. Louis 66-63 and forced a three-way tie for second with the host Billikens and George Washington in the Atlantic 10 two games behind Dayton.
Villanova at home in the Pavilion recovered from Friday’s home loss to Creighton and beat Providence 61-43.
And in the Big Ten, Penn State traveled to Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., and pulled a stunning 74-58 upset.
Nationally, for the second time in a month Tennessee got to the later stages of a week that had begun with the Lady Vols pulling upsets only to be upset themselves and ruin chances to return to the AP weekly poll.
Mike Siroky has all the SEC action in his weekly roundup.
Let’s begin where we traveled down to Delaware, where on Friday night, the Blue Hens had reached a six-game win streak.
The final score is indicative of the second half where the Dragons (16-6, 7-4 CAA) had nine turnovers and scored just 15 points but score-wise Drexel had done enough damage in the first 20 minutes to secure the result, outscoring Delaware 39-22.
Sarah Curran is now among the top 10 of all time scorers in Drexel history after collecting 20 points, eight in the second half, to reach 1,464, which places her ninth in front of 1,450 from Cat Scanlon (2002-06) and 1,453 from Narissa Suber (2004-08).
The win was the third straight and the second part of the CAA’s version of the border war arrives in two weeks at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19.
Meghan Creighton became the all-time workhorse for the Dragons, playing 4,347 minutes, though the record became hers after being tied with Suber prior to the opening tip.
She also made her 131st appearance, all starts by the way, and that’s good for second now, but just one behind Fiona Flanagan, a former teammate.
The Dragons gained a large separation from Delaware (13-9, 7-4) in the second quarter building on a four-point lead at the outset and outscoring the Blue Hens, 23-10.
Though only scoring six points in the third, Delaware scored only nine, making the Blue Hens 13-9 final period not nearly enough to rally for the win.
Using their three-point shooting ability, the Dragons nailed nine to just a pair from the Blue Hens, who did visit the line much more shooting 12-for-18 to just Drexel’s 5-for-6.
Nicole Enabosi was the only Delaware player in double figures and it was a double double at that with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
“We’ve been so good defensively lately, but today our defensive rotation was not as quick as it’s been and we didn’t react as well as we have been,” said veteran Delaware coach Tina Martin.
“We didn’t do a good job of reading plays and we had our own offensive struggles and Drexel is a great team with great senior leadership.”
Delaware this coming weekend heads to James Madison Friday and returns to host Hofstra on Sunday, while Drexel will be back in the Daskalakis Athletic Center, hosting William & Mary Friday at 7 p.m. in the first of two meetings with the Tribe and then hosts UNCW Sunday at 1 p.m.
Second-place James Madison, which is two games in front of the Drexel/Delaware knot as well as the defending champion and preseason favorite, stayed a game behind Elon, beating Northeastern 67-49 on the road in Boston.
Precious Hall collected another load of points, this time 29 for the Dukes (16-6, 9-2), who in the all-time series with the Huskies (7-16, 3-8) are now 20-1.
JMU hosts Delaware Friday and then a showdown looms at the top with Elon visiting Sunday.
The Phoenix (18-5, 10-1 CAA) stayed on top ahead of James Madison by beating host UNCW 66-56 as Shay Burnett scored 23 points, including the 1,000th of her career.
“Shay is our Swiss Army knife,” Elon coach Charlotte Smith said. “She does a whole lot of things for us. She can score, she makes everybody better because she passes the ball really well and she rebounds.
“We find different ways to put nails in the coffin even if we don’t have the home crowd with us.”
Elon hosts Northeastern Friday before heading to James Madison, which beat the Phoenix on the road and then quickly lost the tie at the top by getting upset a second time by Towson.
Saint Joseph’s Slips Past St. Louis and Climbs Another Step in the Atlantic 10
The streaking Hawks made it four straight, stopping a rally by host Saint Louis in Chaifetz Arena and gaining a 66-63 victory to move into a second-place tie with the Billikens (18-6, 8-3 A-10) and George Washington, that snapped a deadlock with La Salle Saturday in Philadelphia.
Amanda Fioravanti had a career-high 21 points for Saint Joseph’s (11-12, 8-3), which after a horrific start on the front end of the season lies just a game below .500 with a chance at worst to land a berth in the WNIT.
But considering the Hawks nearly upset front running Dayton (16-7, 10-1), which won against Saturday, anything is possible in the conference tourney in Richmond next month.
The Hawks on Thursday go to Fordham, a game behind the threesome tied with La Salle for fifth, and then hosts the Explorers Sunday at 2 p.m., in a game that also is the final Big 5 meeting of the season in the City Series, already won by Temple.
George Washington, this week, goes to Rhode Island Wednesday and then hosts Dayton Sunday. Saint Louis on Wednesday hosts VCU and then visits St. Bonaventure on Saturday.
Fioravanti also had eight rebounds for the Hawks at Saint Louis, while Chelsea Woods scored 15 points. Jackie Kemph had 17 points for the Billikens.
Temple Routes Tulane
The Owls moved into a tie for second, but holding the third conference seed, with No. 20 South Florida, and opened a two-game lead on the Green Wave by beating them 76-50 Sunday in New Orleans and also hold the same standings lead in the American Athletic Conference on Cincinnati, which is tied with Tulane.
South Florida was upset Sunday night by host Memphis 62-57 dropping the Bulls (18-4, 7-2 AAC) into a tie with the Owls, but owning a victory over them for the second seed position.
Donnaizha Fountain hit two career marks for Temple (17-5, 7-2) in Sunday’s win, scoring 26 points and grabbing seven steals, while also collecting eight rebounds.
After letting Tulane 15-8, 6-4) score 26 points in the first period, the Owls clamped down yielding just 24 the rest of the way, including three in the third period.
Tanaya Atkinson had 20 points and 10 rebounds while Alliya Butts had 21 points and four assists.
Fountain had 24 of her points in the first half.
Temple next hosts Tulsa at noon Wednesday in the Liacouras Center in the annual “school day” game and then travels to East Carolina on Saturday.
At the top of the conference, after hanging No. 96 on Temple at the Liacouras Center Wednesday night, unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Connecticut (22-0, 10-0) extended its NCAA-record win streak to 97 beating Tulsa 96-50 on campus in Gampel Pavilion in Storrs.
Napheesa Collier had 24 points and nine rebounds for the four-time defending NCAA champion Huskies while senior Saniya Chong had 17 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds.
UConn has won 124 straight games against teams not ranked.
The entire starting five scored in double figures as Katie Lou Samuelson got 16 points, Kia Nurse scored 14, and Gabby Williams had 10.
The Huskies have won 185 straight games against teams with losing records, last losing to one of them occurring in 1993 by a Villanova squad that was 7-8. They have won 300 of their last 301 games against unranked opponents, the sole loss being to St. John’s 57-56 on a last second shot on Feb. 18, 2012.
Since the formation of the American Athletic Conference after the breakup of the old Big East, UConn is 73-0 overall and 64-0 in the regular season.
The Huskies next on Tuesday visit Cincinnati, coached by former assistant Jamelle Elliott, and then host SMU on Saturday, which should bring them to 99 straight heading into next Monday’s showdown when No. 4 South Carolina visits.
Villanova Uses Balanced Attack to Beat Providence
The Wildcats bounced back from Friday’s home lost to Creighton on Sunday staying home in the Pavilion to handle Providence 61-43 and get a sweep in their Big East series with the Friars (10-14, 2-11 Big East).
Villanova (12-11, 7-5) avoided slipping under .500 with the win, with an eye to postseason play.
Alex Louin had 14 points and nine rebounds while Jannah Tucker had 11 points, and Mary Gedaka and Samantha Wilkes each scored 11 for the Wildcats.
Yoyo Nogic had 13 of her game-high 17 points for the Friars in the first half.
Villanova, 6-2 in its last eight games, heads to St. John’s Friday night.
Elsewhere in the Big East in two games of note, St. John’s upset Marquette 82-72 on the road in Milwaukee as Andrayah Adams had a career-high 27 points for the Red Storm (16-8, 8-5 Big East).
Natisha Hiedeman had 19 points for Marquette (17-7, 8-5).
First-place DePaul overwhelmed Seton Hall in the second half for an 86-60 win at home in Chicago in McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Brooke Schulte had 22 points for the 17th-ranked Blue Demons (20-5, 12-1 Big East), who have won 14 of their last 15 games. The visiting Pirates fell to 11-13 overall and 4-9 in the conference.
Marquette, St. John’s and Villanova are tied for third in the conference, four games behind DePaul and three behind Creighton.
Penn State Upsets Northwestern
The Lady Lions came up with a nice win in the Big Ten, beating host Northwestern 74-58 in Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.
Teniya Page, one of five players in double figures, had 18 points and eight assists for Penn State (15-8, 5-6 Big Ten), while Kaliyah Mitchell and J. Travasco-Green each scored 12 points, Peyton Whitted had 11, and Sierra Moore scored 10.
Nia Coffey had 28 points and 17 rebounds for Northwestern (17-6, 6-4).
The Lady Lions next return home to host Minnesota Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
The National Look: Tennessee Upset at Georgia
Poised to return to the AP women’s poll after an upset win at No. 4 South Carolina last Monday, Tennessee’s nine-week absence may be longer after the Lady Vols lost Sunday at Georgia 81-78 in double overtime in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens.
It’s the second time in recent weeks Tennessee posted a great win on a Monday night – the previous was over Notre Dame – and then got upset later in the week.
If the Lady Vols don’t get voted in on Monday, it will be the longest in-season absence for Tennessee in the 41-year history of the rankings and counting last season’s dropout following an appearance lasting several decades, the combined 14 no-shows will match the same number the late Pat Summitt had in her entire career dating from the start of the poll in November, 1976, until she stepped down after the 2012 season because of her battle with alzheimer’s disease.
The loss wasted a performance from Diamond DeShields, who scored 34 points for Tennessee (15-8, 6-4 SEC) in the conference matchup. Mercedes Russell had 24 points and 17 rebounds.
Caliya Robinson had 28 points for Georgia (12-11, 4-6).
Alaina Coates had a career-high 19 rebounds to go with 18 points, four assists, and a pair of steals for No. 4 South Carolina in a 79-49 conference win at Arkansas in Fayetteville.
A’ja Wilson had 18 points for the Gamecocks (20-2, 10-1 SEC).
Duke now has 25 straight wins over Virginia after beating the host Cavaliers 70-51 in Charlottesville at the John Paul Jones Arena.
No. 3 Maryland routed host Indiana 92-56 in a Big Ten game in Bloomington as Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 23 points for the Terrapins (23-1, 11-0 Big Ten), Brionna Jones had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and freshman Destiny Slocum scored 18 points).