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, November 17, 2017

Guru’s Local Report: Drexel Blasts LaSalle while Temple, Rutgers, Princeton and Delaware Claim Victories

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — Since two locals in the Guru’s mix had to play each other technically it was an impressive clean sweep Thursday night across the board beginning with the Philly Six collision right here at Drexel where the Dragons’ took their home opener in the Daskalakis Athletic Center by crushing La Salle 79-54 to go even up at 1-1 while the Explorers dropped to 1-2.

While Drexel bounced back from their season-opening loss on Sunday at Penn State, Temple recovered from the Owls’ Monday night loss to Rutgers by handling Wagner 70-36 still at home in McGonigle Hall to improve to 2-1.

Delaware coach Natasha Adair, formerly with Georgetown, followed up her first road win earlier in the week by guiding the Blue Hens to a 72-56 over American U. In front of the home folks in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, and in the first of the triad clashes in New Jersey, Princeton edged Seton Hall 85-83 on the road at Walsh Gym in South Orange.

Both schools have yet to play the nu-look Rutgers squad who are now 3-0 all gained on the road after beating Charlotte 77-54. The Scarlet Knights make their home debut Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Louis A. Brown Athletic Center hosting Wake Forest.

Back here the game began looking like it might be a cliff hanger that was originally foreseen until Drexel exploded on a 27-7 outburst in the second quarter and continued with a 28-15 onslaught in the third.

By the time they were done the Dragons had a contingent of five players score in double figures which was the first time in four seasons they offered that kind of balanced attack 

“Great win at home to start the season off here is very promising,” said coach Denise Dillon. “We showed up ready to play, we did what was needed to be done at each end of the floor and played each possession like it was the last.

“I said to them, ‘Let’s keep taking steps forward and show what you’re capable of on a consistent basis,’” Dillon said with an eye to Saturday’s next game here at 2 p.m. when Patriot League favorite Bucknell (1-1) visits. “Do not go backwards on a short turnaround Saturday.

“I was just pleased that we kept the foot on the gas,” Dillon responded when asked if the differential was a surprise to her. “We continued to get the stops we needed. I felt we played smart, aggressive defense, we forced the clock to continue to run, just coming up with crucial rebounds.

“The shots were falling but it wasn’t as much the shots were falling as we were getting good looks around the basket.”

It was the first meeting between the two schools in five seasons and the win reduced La Salle’s advantage in the series to 16-8 after Drexel won its fourth straight against the Explorers.

“This was a stat you don’t see often with us,” Dillon said, “We had 42 points and we were getting layups and when we weren’t getting layups we were dumping it off. So I was pleased with team basketball, ball movement.

Drexel forced 28 turnovers leading to a lopsided 41-7 in points in transition.

“This team is a good defense team,” Dillon said of her squad.

Ana Ferariu had a game-high 14 points for Drexel, coming in off the bench, while Sarah Woods scored 13 points, freshman Hannah Nihill out of Cardinal O’Hara had 12 points, dealt five assists, and grabbed three steals, and Bailey Greenberg and Aubree Brown each scored 11 points, with Brown dishing six assists.

Veteran Kelsi Lidge scored only four points but dealt eight assists, grabbed five steals, and also collected six rebounds to match Ferariu’s team high.

“We really bought into team offense,” Lidge said of the separation in the second quarter. “It was driving, kicking, finding that open person, being able to pass the ball whenever you see a person.”

Dillon praised the debut of her freshman point guard in Nihill.

“She did what she’s capable of doing, we can talk about our defense creating our offense, she’s capable of that.”

Shalina Miller had 12 points for La Salle while Shaquana Edwards scored 11. Top Atlantic 10 scorer Amy Griffin was held to nine points, well below her season average of 20 in her first two games, while she grabbed nine rebounds.

La Salle next hosts Temple in a pre-Thanksgiving matinee next Wednesday at 1 p.m. in the season’s first of 10 Big Five games. The Owls are the defending City Series champs, having gone 4-0 in the 2016-17 round robin.

Temple returned to the high-powered scoring of their season opener last Friday at home against Delaware State.

“I thought we did a good job in the first quarter setting the tone and holding them to seven points,” Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said of the Owls’ defense against Wagner. “That was really important for us. We tried to play a lot of people and focus on the defensive end.

“I’m happy we did a better job of not giving up easy buckets. It’s important for us to have a defensive mentality. What we’re going to do this year is if you’re not giving maximum effort on the defensive side, there’s going to be somebody, because we’re deep.”

Eight different Temple players scored led by Tanaya Atkinson, who had 24 points while freshman Desiree Oliver scored 18. Atkinson also pulled down 10 rebounds for her third straight double double.

Temple grabbed 14 steals and forced 28 turnovers, which were a three-season high in terms of games not forced into double overtimes.

Next up is the first road trip of the season Sunday with a visit to Iona of the Metro Atlantic Collegiate Conference (MAAC).

In the Rutgers win Tyler Scaife had 18 points against the 49ers and Jazlynd scored 13 with a career-high five assists coming off the bench. Caitlin Jennings had nine points and nine rebounds.

Octavia Wilson scored 21 points, 15 from the free throw line, for Charlotte (1-2), while Amaya Wilson had 15 points.

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer is a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame and her number from 1,000 career wins is now 20. The Scarlet Knights, who finally play at home Sunday, hosting Wake Forest at 6:30 p.m., are averaging 34 points in their first three games.

Princeton (2-0), which opened at home last Friday beating George Washington, got double doubles from Bella Alarie and first-ever from Tia Weledji, who had 16 points and collected a personal high 10 rebounds. Alarie had a game-high 22 points and collected 12 rebounds.

Leslie Robinson scored 16 points, Gabrielle Rush scored 16 points including the game-winner with two fouls shots with 16 seconds left, Carlie Littlefield scored 13.

Seton Hall, which dropped its first contest after a pair of wins, got 21 points from Donnaizha Fountain, the graduate transfer from Temple, who was named the Big East first player of the week of the season on Monday.

Princeton next hosts Georgia Tech at 1 p.m. Sunday, returning home to Jadwin Gym.

In the other game on the slate among the Guru locals, Delaware (2-1) rode a 26-13 third quarter domination to its win over American ().

Nicole Enabosi got 25 points for the Blue Hens, Bailey Kargo scored 15, and Samone DeFreese scored 13.

“This is Delaware women’s basketball,” Adair said afterwards. “You saw us really amp it up on the defensive end and that’s how we’re going to score,” she said of the third quarter attack. “We have to be able to get stops and then we’re able to execute.

“This is why I came. This is fun,” she said of making the move from Georgetown in the Big East.

Adair had been an assistant at Wake Forest and was a finalist in the Temple search that landed Cardoza after Dawn Staley had left the Owls to build South Carolina into an eventual NCAA champion last April.

She then was hired at Charleston in the CAA, of which Delaware and Drexel are members, and then returned to Georgetown where she once had been an assistant.

The Blue Hens will remain at the Bob Carpenter Center to host Boston University Sunday at 2 p.m. before heading on the short trip to town here next weekend where they will meet Saint Peters in Saint Joseph’s tournament on Saturday while the Hawks will host Eastern Illinois at Michael Hagan Arena.

The third place and championship will be Sunday.

On Friday just one local is on the slate with Villanova hosting Lehigh at 5 p.m. in Allentown at the PPL Center before the Wildcats men play the second game of a doubleheader.

Coach Harry Perretta’s squad will then scamper back to town here to host nationally-ranked Duke on Sunday.

And that’s the report.





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