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, November 13, 2017

The Guru Report: Penn State Rides Block Party To Down Drexel; Rider Falls at Navy; Saint Joseph’s Fells Niagara

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Unlike many in the world of the Power Five conferences, Rider and Drexel are not going to be rebuilt in a day.

The Broncos down here Sunday afternoon fell to host Navy 63-44 to leave the Academy and Alumni Hall still looking for their first victory after two games while among the Guru’s locals up north Drexel fell in its opener on the road at Penn State 84-70 at Bryce Jordan Center as the host Lady Lions also completed a 2-0 weekend launch at home.

But optimism arrived at the outset for Saint Joseph’s, which opened on the road at Niagara and rolled to a 93-69 victory in the Hawks’ opener reversing a similar lopsided encounter on the losing end when Temple prevailed a year ago in what was also a Big Five tilt.

The damage came at the opening of the second quarter when Navy, a 77-70 victor at Marist Friday night, opened with a 14-2 run to stay ahead for good as the Patriot League squad completed a 2-0 sweep of a pair of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference members.

Most of the production on Rider came from Kamila Hoskova as the native of the Czech Republic poured 19 points, shooting 7-for-10 from the field.

Sophomore Lea Favre grabbed 10 rebounds as once again as in the opening loss at home Friday night to Bucknell, foul trouble led to exposure of the Broncs not able to go as deep as last year during their historic run.

Navy on the other hand got a surprise scoring outburst from Sophie Gatzounas, who had a game-high 20 points to go with the 11 rebounds that made up her double double. Fueled by six points on the foul line, Taylor Dunham reached double figures with 13 points and Hannah Fenske scored 10.

“We are disappointed with the result and our response early in the game with taking the first bunch,” observed veteran coach Lynn Milligan. “Our attention to detail on the defensive end was off. Defensively, we weren’t clean today.”

Using a zone in the second half to conserve players in foul trouble, Milligan said, “I liked our effort and rotation in the zone, we just didn’t finish plays.

“We forced 28 turnovers on Friday night and 17 today. We can make some things happen. We just weren’t tight today on our detail and it cost us. Navy has a lot of weapons, so we weren’t focusing on one player, but rather their system.”

It’s operation was obviously pleasing to veteran coach Stefanie Pemper, a former Harvard assistant, after Navy stayed perfect against Rider at 4-0.

“We were a little fortunate – Rider didn’t shoot the ball very well,” Pemper said. “But we took advantage. We had a pretty good scout on them.

“It was incredible to see Sophie play that way. We got three women who could start in that fifth spot and she got the nod. She didn’t play a lot Friday night. She’s come off a first game not doing well and then coming in here and right off the bat made some nice plays, five offensive rebounds is special.”

Rider has a week off before hosting Holy Cross Saturday at 2 p.m. for a third straight game against a Patriot member.

Meanwhile, in the game involving two of the Guru’s local mix against each other, Penn State, which opened Friday night at home beating Siena, blocked 13 shots from Drexel, which had beaten the Lady Lions at home at the start of last season.

Sophomore Jaida Travascio-Green had a career-high 31 points, including another career mark to fuel the surge with seven three-pointers. 

And in the career high department, sophomore De’Janae Boykin scored 14 points and collected 19 rebounds, a first-ever personal double double, while the rebounds were the most since Nikki Greene hauled in 20 against Cal State-Northridge on Nov. 24, 2012.

Junior Jaylen Williams made in a career night with 17 points and sophomore Siyeh Frazier scored 10.

Career marks in the blocks came from Travascio with with five while Williams netted a career high with four.

All total, the Lady Lions’ 13 on the day is one short of the Bryce Jordan Center record and school record.

The winning Lady Lions out-rebounded the Dragons 52-39 and got 16 on the offensive boards.

Eight Drexel turnovers led to 15 points by the home team.

Dragons sophomore Aubree Brown had 16 points while Eline Maesschalck had had 12 points all courtesy of four treys.

Drexel had 20 points come from the reserves  but a 12-0 Penn State run to the half helped get the game firmly in the Lady Lions’ hands. Bailey Greenberg had 11 points and six rebounds.

Sarah Woods scored eight for the visitors in her first career start.

Penn State next heads to Marshall on Wednesday while Drexel next returns for its home opener Thursday night at 7 in the Daskalakis Athletic Center hosting La Salle in a Philly Six game.

But while Drexel and Rider looked to better scoring, Saint Joseph’s, which has struggled in recent seasons, shot 61.4 percent from the floor against Niagara, including 75 percent from behind the arc.

Alyssa Monaghan joined the career day parade with a best-ever 23 points, including 7-for-7 from 3-point land, matching a Hawks’ record for accuracy, and 8-for-8 overall. Megan Compain was 7-for-7 on treys against Rhode Island, January 25, 1997.

Junior Kristalyn Baisden had 19 points and Sarah Veilleux had 14 while Adaisha Franklyn had 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Avery Marz, who made her Saint Joseph’s debut after being sidelined two seasons due to a stroke, had three points and two rebounds.

The Hawks next travel to Bucknell on  Wednesday at 6.

On Monday night, Temple will host Rutgers at 7 in McGonigle Hall after both opened the season victorious Friday night, the Owls at home beating Delaware State while the Scarlet Knights on the road beat James Madison.

This game is a good test on both sides.

La Salle, which won big Friday at Lafayette, is at American in the nation’s capital, while Delaware takes a second shot at getting new coach Natasha Adair her first win with the Blue Hens when they visit Hartford.

Noteworthy was the scene at South Carolina, where the defending NCAA champs did their final celebratory rituals with the banner being hung on a weekend that coach Dawn Staley invited a slew of her former Temple players, including WNBA All-Star Candice Dupree, down to be part of the moment and each was given a replica of the NCAA trophy with inscriptions for each thanking them for helping getting her coaching career launched in her native Philadelphia in 2000-01.

Undoubtedly many of them will be at the Liacouras Center on Dec. 21 when the Gamecocks visit as Staley goes against her former Virginia teammate and longtime friend Tonya Cardoza.

South Carolina has a major test Monday night traveling to Maryland.

Meanwhile, nationally, the UConn one-game losing streak, which occurred in the NCAA semifinals on the buzzer- beater from Mississippi State’s Morgan William, to snap the record 111-game win streak, ended Sunday in an array of fireworks in Columbus, Ohio, the locale of this season’s Final Four at the end of March.

The Huskies in the Final Four venue of Nationwide Arena pummeled Stanford, rolling to a 49-10 halftime lead and finishing 78-53 as Crystal Dangerfield scored 24 points, including connecting on 5-of-7 three-pointers, and Katie Lou Samuelson scored 21.

It was a second straight rout of the Cardinal following the loss Friday night to Ohio State. But the Buckeyes, despite a rally forcing overtime, were unable to get a weekend sweep, falling to Louisville in a fun-filled game 95-90 as Asia Durr set a school record for the Cardinals scoring 47 to shatter Angel McCoughtry’s mark.

Durr had 13 of Louisville’s 15 overtime points.

Kelsey Mitchell scored 26 for Ohio State.

Dartmouth beat Boston College 68-57 at home while George Washington after losing at Princeton dropped its home opener, losing to South Dakota State, 97-88 at the Smith Center in Washington, D.C.

Seton Hall won at Wake Forest, 67-57, as former Temple star Donnaizha Fountain, using her fifth year of eligibility with the Pirates had 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Duke, which visits Villanova Sunday, beat Grand Canyon 74-61.

Oregon beat Drake 110-77 as Sabrina Ionescu, a sophomore, had 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists for her fifth career double double that was the second round of the Preseason WNIT.

The Pac-12 record is six, set by former Stanford and WNBA star Nicole Powell, now coaching Grand Canyon, which has moved to Division 1.

The NCAA mark is seven set by former Penn State star Suzie McConnell-Serio, now coaching Pittsburgh, and Louella Tomlinson of St. Mary’s in California.

And that’s the report for Sunday. We’ll be at Temple for the Rutgers contest Monday night. 



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