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 20, 2017

The Guru Report: Saint Joseph’s and Temple Win on the Road While Rutgers Still Unbeaten After Home Opener

(Guru note: The Villanova upset of No. 11 Duke is covered separately under this post).

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Overall the Guru’s women’s basketball locals had quite the day Sunday to make it overall quite the weekend with just 10 days into the current season.

Besides Villanova’s upset of No. 11 Duke at Jake Nevin Field House, which is filed separately under this report, Saint Joseph’s completed its opening road sweep winning at Colonial Athletic Association favorite James Madison, 73-66, while Temple rallied on its first road stop of the season to win at Iona, 59-54, and Rutgers routed Wake Forest 65-51 in its home opener.

A year ago, the entire way was a path of misery for Rutgers in the worst season ever for Hall of Fame Coach C. Vivian Stringer, while Villanova and Saint Joseph’s never got righted until they reached the conference phases of their respective schedules in the Big East and Atlantic 10 after the New Year.

In two other games to complete the weekend action, tough setbacks were suffered by Delaware, which fell at home in overtime to Boston University 85-79, and Princeton, which was edged at home by Georgia Tech 67-56.

“My that’s certainly a long time, a lot has happened since then,” Saint Joseph’s coach Cindy Griffin said of her team’s 3-0 start for the first time in seven seasons which was reached with the win at the JMU Convocation Center in Harrisonburg, Va.

The Hawks opened a week ago beating Niagara and then won at Patriot League favorite Bucknell on Wednesday before playing the Dukes.

Junior Sarah Veilleux had a career-high 25 points and Chelsea Woods scored 23 as the Hawks dropped JMU to 1-3, which includes a loss to Rutgers with a game at Vermont against Villanova coming Friday and home-and-home games later on in the CAA against Drexel and Delaware.

Saint Joseph’s fell behind 4-0 and then used a 13-2 run to forge ahead.

The Dukes weren’t ready to roll over, using a 9-2 run to tie the game at 15 all but Saint Joseph’s regained the advantage until JMU briefly erased it before the Hawks closed out strong to stay unbeaten.

Saint Joseph’s sizzled from the field, shooting 50.9. Junior Alyssa Monaghan dealt seven assists, grabbed seven rebounds and scored five points.

James Madison’s Kamiah Smalls, a sophomore out of Neumann Goretti in Philadelphia, had 22 points.

Saint Joseph’s will make its first home appearance at Hagan Arena on Saturday playing Eastern Illinois at 2 p.m. in the opener of the Hawk Classic that in the past has been held during Christmas week. Delaware, under new coach Natasha Adair, will meet Saint Peter’s, coached by West Catholic/Rutgers grad Pat Coyle, a former WNBA New York Liberty coach and past Saint Joseph’s assistant during the Jim Foster era,  in the 4 p.m. contest.

The winners and losers will meet for third and the championship on Sunday.

Temple Rallies For Road Win at Iona

Falling behind early, Temple (3-1) regained its shooting touch to blaze away at 50 percent over the final three quarters to down the Gaels (0-2) of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in New Rochelle, N.Y.

The Owls, who scored just seven points in the first quarter, trailed by as many as 11 points before regaining their footing.

Senior Tanaya Atkinson, the reigning sixth player of the year in the American Athletic Conference, kept her double double streak going in all four games after scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds while freshman Emani Mayo has another high early in her Temple career with 15 points.

Two other newcomers, Desiree Oliver and Mia Davis, each scored nine points.

Temple returns to the city, but not at home on Wednesday in a pre-matinee 1 p.m. game at La Salle for the first overall Big Five battle of the season. The Owls then come out of Thanksgiving to play Mississippi back in McGonigle Hall Saturday at 2 p.m.

Rutgers Continues Season Reversal

After opening with three straight road wins at James Madison, Temple, and Charlotte, the Scarlet Knights showed their new look to the home folks in the Louis A. Brown Athletic Center by handling Wake Forest to improve to 4-0.

Tyler Scaife, a WNBA prospect who missed what would have been her final season a year ago due to an injury, had 19 points. The visiting Deacons (2-2) of the Atlantic Coast Conference got a game-high 25 points from Ariel Stephenson.

The Scarlet Knights never trailed and Stringer’s career record at a combination of Cheyney, Iowa, and Rutgers is now 981-390 placing her within 19 of gaining the distinguished 1,000-win milestone.

The late Pat Summitt at Tennessee and Stanford coach Tara VaDerveer have crossed the milestone on the women’s side and Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma is likely to reach it sometime next month.

Rutgers next travels to a tournament in Florida and will open on Friday against defending champion South Carolina.

Delaware and Princeton Suffer Tough Setbacks

Following a win in Natasha Adair’s home debut last week, Delaware’s triumph was short-lived as Boston U. of America East prevailed in overtime at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del.

The loss by the Blue Hens (2-2) ruined a career day from Samone DeFreese who had personal highs of 24 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. Nicole Enabosi had 19 points and tied her career high with 17 rebounds.

Bailey Kargo and Makeda Nicholas scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, and Abby Gonzalez dealt 10 assists.

The last Blue Hens player to reach 10 assists was  Christine (nee Koren) Motta, who had that number at Lafayette at the start of the 1999-2000 season.

 She now works at her alma mater in career development for Blue Hens athletes and is the broadcast analyst on Delaware women’s radio and TV broadcasts.

The Terriers (2-1) were led by Katie Nelson, who had 25 points and seven assists to top three other Boston U. players in double figures.

“This is a game that we should have won as we were in the best position to win,” Adair said. “When it’s winning time, you have to value the ball, make your free throws, rebound and make stops. Down the stretch, and especially in overtime, we were exposed in those areas.”

Delaware next travels to Philadelphia Saturday to open against Saint Peter’s in Saint’s Joseph’s tournament in which the host Hawks play Eastern Illinois in the first round. Winners and losers meet for third and first place Sunday at Hagan Arena.

Meanwhile, at Jadwin Gym in Princeton, the Tigers cut a 16-point deficit to Georgia Tech in the third period to five near the end of the game but the Yellowjackets stopped the rally short to defeat the Ivy team picked second before heading to a tournament in the Bahamas where next they will meet Ivy preseason favorite Penn on Thanksgiving on Thursday.

Sophomore Bella Alarie had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Princeton (2-1), which dropped its first game after wins at home over George Washington and at Seton Hall.

Chanin Scott had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Georgia Tech (4-0), which stayed unbeaten, while Francesca Pan had 13 points, and Elo Edeferioka scored 10.

Princeton next travels south for a single event contest at Davidson.

Nationally Speaking

Besides the Villanova upset of Duke, pulling the win from the unranked level, there were other games of note such as in the near South where Asia Durr scored 26 points to lead No. 5 Louisville (5-0) at home to a 74-61 over No. 10 Oregon (3-1) in the title game of the preseason WNIT in the Cardinal’s Yum Arena.

Louisville’s Myisha Hines-Allen had 17 points and 12 rebounds to earn tournament MVP honors.
Ruthie Hebard had 14 points for the Ducks.

Despite the absence of Katie Lou Samuelson due to a sprained left foot suffered in Friday’s home opener against Cal, top-ranked Connecticut (3-0) still had no trouble at home beating No. 15 Maryland 97-72 in its off-campus second arena in Hartford.

Kia Nurse topped five other teammates who scored in double figures, getting 21 points. Gabby Williams had 15 points and 11 rebounds and also committed 10 turnovers, which does not make it an otherwise odd triple double; Duke transfer Azura Stevenson had 18 points and 12 rebounds and started in place of Samuelson while  Napheesa Collier had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Connecticut next goes to UCLA on Tuesday night.

Kalia Charles had 29 points and 12 rebounds for the Terrapins (2-2), who previously lost at home to defending NCAA champion South Carolina.

UCLA is ranked eighth but likely to move up after beating No. 3 Baylor on Saturday. Maryland hosts Howard on Tuesday night.

No. 6 Notre Dame also has been missing players with injuries but survived a road test visiting No. 18 Oregon State and winning 72-67 as Jackie Young had a career-high 21 points for the Irish (3-0).

Mikayla Pivec had 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Oregon State (2-1). 

South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson had 16 points and 13 rebounds as the Gamecocks (4-0) produced a 94-60 win at home against Wofford (1-2).

Roshunda Johnson had a career-high 29 points for  No. 7 Mississippi State (3-0) at home in Starkville in a 91-56 win over Southern Mississippi (3-1).

Big East preseason favorite Marquette evened its start with a home opening 83-63 win over Loyola of Maryland (1-3) in Milwaukee as Allazia Bockton, the preseason player of the year in the conference, had 19 points for the No. 16 Warriors, who were edged by a point to New Mexico in the season opener.

No. 20 Cal came off its loss at UConn Friday to beat Brown 89-79 in Providence, R.I., as Kristine Anigwe had 28 points and 25 rebounds, a career high, for the Golden Bears (1-1).

Brown (2-1), an Ivy school that is the alma mater of Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb, got a career-high 33 points from Shayna Mehta.

Kelsey Mitchell had 27 points while Stephanie Mavunga had 17 points and 12 rebounds as No. 9 Ohio State topped Washington at home 85-67 in Columbus to go to 4-1.

When the game with the Huskies (1-2) was scheduled, the coach was Mike Neighbors, who had been an assistant to OSU coach Kevin McGuff at Xavier and Washington and then was promoted to head coach at the Pac-12 school when McGuff moved to Midwest.

But in the offseason, Neighbors was hired at Arkansas, his alma mater.

And that’s the report. 


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