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.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Guru Report: Temple Edges Saint Joes; Villanova Stays Unbeaten; Arcadia Wins First-Ever Over DeSales

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — It was not the Guru’s intentions to pre-theme Wednesday’s local Division I card as comeback night, especially since of the seven teams in action, six went up against each other, and two of games being the second and third overall Big Five City Series matches on the slate.

Yet that is what occurred from here in Temple’s McGonigle Hall where another of a multitude of cliffhangers between the two schools had the host Owls emerge in the final seconds with a 69-66 triumph at Saint Joseph’s.

A few miles up Broad Street and a few blocks over on Olney Ave. at Tom Gola Arena, La Salle, which had two rallies in regulation and overtime to prevail over Penn at the Palestra last season, shook off a big Quakers start again to take a 66-59 victory.

An hour to the North Villanova took its newly minuted Top 25 ranking, the Wildcats’ first in 13 seasons in the Associated Press women’s poll, and came back on Ivy power Princeton to win 62-59 over the Tigers in Jadwin Gym.

And Delaware after taking the long bus ride to Olean, N.Y., finally didn’t let a close one get away and topped host St. Bonaventure 53-52 in a game between the visiting Blue Hens of the Colonial Athletic Association and Bonnie of the Atlantic 10.

There was also some interesting D2 and D3 local games that came drifting in while nationally in what has become the annual father-and-son coaching rivalry between Matt Insell with Mississippi and his Women’s Hall of Fame dad Rick Insell of Middle Tennessee, the youngert Insell gained his first win on dad, 65-56 at home in Oxford, Miss.

No. 3 Notre Dame didn’t let Sunday’s upset of then No. 3 South Carolina, the defending NCAA champs go to the Irish’s heads, nor did Muffett McGraw’s group get caught looking ahead to Sunday’s Jimmy V showdown at No. 1 Connecticut as they romped over host No. 22 Michigan, 83-63 in Ann Arbor.

There were some other interesting games as well, but first the local report.

Temple Edges Saint Joseph’s To Stay Perfect in Big Five Title Defense

Excepting last year’s season and Big 5 opening blowout by Temple on Hawk Hill, it has been down to the wire most of the last two decades.

At the outset, it seemed this one would be another exception to the traditional battles but in favor of Saint Joseph’s as the revenge-minded Hawks took a nine-point lead early in the second quarter.

But Temple (5-2, 2-0 Big Five) ended up knocking the Hawks (5-1, 0-1) from the unbeaten list as junior guard Deja Reynolds provided insurance with a pair of foul shots with seven seconds left and then blocked Sarah Veilleux’ desperation three to try to force overtime as regulation time expired.

“Obviously, we’re super excited at what just happened,” Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said afterwards with her team bouncing back from Saturday’s loss her to Mississippi. The Owls are currently in a seven-game home stand with five left, including Saturday’s visit from Harvard and the last of the string being South Carolina on Dec. 21 next door in the Liacouras Center.

“Every time we play St. Joe’s, it’s always a battle from start to finish, and they got off early and we just kept fighting,” Cardoza said. “Our main goal was to try to limit as much as possible Sarah (Veilleux) and Alyssa (Monaghan). First, they’re both great shooters and we had to do that as much as possible. 

“The fact they only had one three (overall), cause coming into the game, they as a team they were shooting 50 percent from the three point line. Defensively, I thought we did a really good job following the game plan and not giving their best players the touches they wanted and the shots they wanted.

“Even within the score I thought it could have been more if we didn’t give up a lot of second shot opportunities and 50-50 balls. But that was my perception. Maybe it was good our guys were involved in that type of game, because in a Big Five game that it what it was like,.” Cardoza continued.

“And then DeJa coming into the game, that was key because we needed her every minute out there and every single thing that she did. Deja brings a different speed, especially against a team like Saint Joe’s. Offensively, she did a good job defensively, but just going down the other end and knocking buckets and being confident in everything she did.”

Cardoza said being able to increase the tempo was also a key.

Tanaya Atkinson continued to be a force for the Owls with another double double, this time with 24 points and 13 rebounds, while freshman Mia Davis also double doubled with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Cardoza praised freshman Emani Mayo’s work, defensively, though the stats were not indicative at first glance.

Reynolds, shooting 4-for-5, 3-for-5 on the line and connecting on her only 3-ball attempt, had a  career-high 12 points.

Some fine Hawks performance went for naught with Amanda Fiorvanti, enjoying an extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA off her earlier transfer from Virginia, getting a career-high 22 points and nine rebounds, and a pair of blocks; Adashia Franklyn, whose mother Marilyn Stephens is one of Temple’s two all-time players — the other being WNBA All-Star Candice Dupree - had 12 points and eight rebounds; Veilleux had 12 points, and Chelsea Woods had eight points and 11 rebounds.

Temple had 15 turnovers but most came early. If one were looking for sore points in the stats contributing to the Hawks’ loss, 19-for-31 from the line matched Temple but the Hawks had five more chances, and Temple had 50-40 rebounding advantage. With newcomer Desiree Oliver getting seven points off the bench, the Owls’ depth differential scoring versus the Hawks was 24-4.

“I feel like we’re growing defensively,” said Cardoza when asked if the Owls had eliminated some of Saturday’s problems leading to the loss to Old Miss.

The score was tied 10 times and the lead changed hands 11 times.

Once Temple got back into it, neither team had more than a three-point lead in the third period.

Temple had a seven-point lead with 2:06 left in regulation but the Hawks ran off six straight points to reduce the deficit at a point, 65-64 with 41 seconds left.

Woods’ layup put Saint Joseph’s in front 66-65 with 19 seconds left to extend the run to 9-0 but Atkinson then countered three seconds later.

The Hawks took time out then with 10 seconds left Woods turned the ball over just when it seemed they might score. After Temple inbounded, and then there was a scramble and it was thought there might be a tie-up, which would have given the Hawks possession.

But after a conference by officials, though there had not been a signal observed, a foul was called on Monaghan with seven seconds left, sending Monaghan to the line to finish with the game’s final points.

Temple next hosts Harvard, one of the Ivy powers, at 2 p.m. Saturday while Saint Joseph’s heads to Villanova Sunday at 1 p.m. In what will be the Wildcats’ first Big Five game of the season.

Temple hosts Villanova Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. on a Sunday. The Owls’ last Big Five game will be at Penn on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. at The Palestra.

La Salle Stays Alive in Big Five Race Rallying Over Penn

Following a 2-0 sweep on the weekend to win Lehigh’s holiday tournament in Bethlehem, La Salle stayed alive in the Big Five hunt by rallying from a 23-10 deficit at the end of the first quarter at home to beat Penn 66-59 in what was the Quakers’ first City Series game of the season.

All four local Penn (2-3, 0-1 Big 5) games this season are away from The Palestra.

A 22-12 explosion in the second quarter cut the Penn lead to 35-32 at the half. Though Penn was still in the game, their lead vanished for good late in the third on Shaquanna Edwards’ three-pointer.

She finished with a career-high 20 points, shooting 8-for-10 from the field and dishing six assists for the Explorers (4-3, 1-1). Adrena Miller had 12 points while Amy Griffin and Shalina Miller each scored 10.

La Salle hit four straight foul shots in the final minute to secure the win on a night the Explorers shot 55.6 percent from the field. They also hit 80 percent of their foul shots, both season highs.

Ashanti Freeland had nine rebounds for the winners, who edged the Quakers 34-32 on the boards.

Penn, which had been the one doing the rallying in the Quakers’ previous game from an 18-point deficit in the third period to top Missouri State for third place in the Junkanoo Jam tourney in the Bahamas to take third place, shot 33,8 percent from the field in this one and wasted a defensive effort forcing 24 Explorers turnovers to to take a goose egg 13-0 advantage in points in transition.

Michelle Nowkedi, the reigning Ivy player of the year, had 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks, while EleahParker had 11 points and six rebounds, Ashley Russell had 12 points, and Anna Ross scored nine.

In the second half the Quakers could only muster 27 percent from the field while La Salle shot 60 percent.

The Explorers move on to a road visit Saturday in the Midwest playing Wisconsin while Penn is off until Dec. 9, Saturday afternoon, when No. 3 Notre Dame makes a Palestra visit at 1 p.m.

Villanova Stays Unbeaten With Rally at Princeton

The Wildcats are showing last year’s dynamic road run in the WNIT to the national semifinals at the close of the season was no fluke.

Villanova already has two of those wins repeated this season, beating James Madison last week in a neutral site game on the way to winning Vermont’s tournament, and now overcoming Ivy power Princeton 62-59 Wednesday night at the Tigers’ Jadwin Gym.

On Monday the Wildcats (6-0) cracked the Associated Press rankings at No. 25, helped by an earlier home upset of then-No. 11 Duke, to make the weekly list for the first time since the front end of the 2004-05 season. The next day they landed at No. 24 in the coaches’ poll, though the drought in that one was much shorter.

Though Villanova had taken control in the second quarter, the Wildcats had a slim 53-51 advantage with just 7:05 left in the game before extending the differential with a 9-2 run that began with an exchange of baskets.

The two teams then went scoreless for nearly a minute and a half before Princeton got four straight foul shots from Tigers super sophomore Bella Alarie, who finished with 29 points and nine rebounds while shooting 10-for-13 from the field, including 3-for-3 on three-ball attempts and a perfect 6-for-6 from the line.

With a five-point lead and 2:02 left in regulation, the margin got reduced by two more on Abby Meyers’ put back with 40 seconds left.

Villanova missed a shot with 10 seconds left and Princeton (3-2), whose other loss was at home to Georgia Tech, had a chance to tie.

But Gabrielle Rush’s attempt from beyond the arc was blocked by Bridget Herlihy and the game ended.

Alex Louin scored 16 points for Villanova, while Adrianna Hahn scored scored 15 and Mary Gedaka scored 12. Herlihy had a career-high eight points while Megan Quinn had seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Princeton’s Meyers and Leslie Robinson, the niece of former President Obama, each scored 10 points.

Villanova is off until Sunday when the Wildcats make their Big Five debut at home at 1 p.m. hosting Saint Joseph’s.

Princeton hosts Delaware 5 p.m. Saturday in a game being televised on NBCSN-Philadelphia as well as the Ivy Network.

Delaware Edges Saint Bonaventure on the Road

In recent games the Blue Hens had lost at home to Boston U. In overtime and the opener of Saint Joseph’s tournament to Saint Peter’s in double overtime before finally quickly regrouping Sunday in the third place game on Hawk Hill and powering past Eastern Illinois.

Wednesday night, after the long bus ride to Olean, N.Y., near Niagara Falls, Delaware was back on the tightrope playing St. Bonaventure of the Atlantic 10 and this time the CAA rep won a close one, edging the Bonnies 53-52 as reigning CAA player of the week Nicole Enabosi roadblocked the home team’s opportunity to deal the visitors another disappointment.

Just 90 seconds remained in regulation and Delaware (4-3) trailed by three when Bailey Kargo got things closer with a pair of foul shots and then Samone DeFreese scored on a lay-up with 23 seconds left to give the Blue Hens the lead.

Enabosi with her fifth double double of the season had 15 points and 12 rebounds while Abby Gonzales had 12 points.

The Bonnies (4-4) were topped by Mariah Ruff, who had 17 points, aided by five 3-balls.

“What a phenomenal finish,” said first-year coach Natasha Adair, formerly with Georgetown. “And that’s the key word, finish. We’ve been harping on finishing and our two overtime games prepared us for this game because we weren’t as tight in the waning moments.

“We were more focused, locked in and had key defensive possessions where we had huge stops on the road against a tough A-10 team,” she continued. “We’re growing by leaps and bounds and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort shown. If I could highlight everyone, I would, because everyone had an impact tonight.”

Noted DeFreese, “We’ve been in this same position in two of the last three games with double overtime and overtime and we didn’t want to be put in that position again. We wanted to come out with the win in regulation. Having five games away from home is definitely tough and we needed this one.”

Delaware next heads to its traditional non-conference rivalry with Princeton Saturday, as noted in the Nova blurb, at the Tigers’ Jadwin Gym.

Lehigh Joins the Comeback Theme Beating Mount St, Mary’s

The Mountain Hawks, having dropped their own tournament title game to La Salle Sunday, returned to Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pa., to take a battle from Mount St. Mary’s 75-71 in a game that featured 15 lead changes and 24 combined three-pointers.

Lehigh (5-3), which has two of the setbacks to La Salle and Villanova, besides the season opener at Minnesota, got career highs from seniors Bernadette Devaney and Quinci Mann with 20 points each and each also connected with six 3-balls.

Devaney shot 6-for-9 from the field, all treys coming on eight attempts from beyond the arc while Mann was 7-for-11 from the field and 6-for-9 on three-ball attempts. Gena Grundhoffer had 12 points.

The Mountaineers remained winless at 0-for-6.

Lehigh next visits Sacred Heart on Sunday.

Philly Small College WBB Notables: Arcadia Rids Lifetime Goose Egg From DeSales

Division III Arcadia got one opponent off the frustration list with a first-ever win over DeSales, beating the Bulldogs 66-61 at home in Glenside, Pa., in the suburbs.

Sydney Syr had her first double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Camille Menns had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

The Knights (3-2) enabled coach Rose Katz-Gobeli to get her first win ever over both her alma mater and former head coach. DeSales is also 3-2.

Taylor Dunn added 13 points while Taylor Fritz had a career-high 10 points.

Next up is the tipoff opener for the MAC Commonwealth schedule playing at Albright Saturday afternoon.

Holy Family Routs Salem 78-58.

The Lions (1-6) got their first win of the season as Casey Thomas and Jada Smith each scored double doubles at home in Northeast Philadelphia in the non-conference game with Thomas posting 20 points and 13 rebounds while Smith had 18 points and 10 rebounds against Salem (2-5) in the non-conference game.

It was the first meeting between the two schools.

Holy Family opens play in the D2 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference at home Saturday against USciences. Prior to the tip, the 2007-08 women’s team, which was coached by Penn’s Mike McLaughlin, will be inducted into conference’s hall of fame as part of the 2017-18 induction class.

Rowan Wins Local Rivalry Over Rutgers-Camden

In a New Jersey Athletic Conference game, Rowan at home topped Rutgers-Camden 77-66 as Profs improved to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the NJAC while the Scarlet Raptors dropped to 3-3 and 0-2.

Dominque Peters had game and career highs of 20 points for the home team while Summer Crilley had 10 points and 11 rebounds. April Szymczyk had 18 points.

Fatimah Williams and Michelle Obasi each scored 15 points for Rutgers-Camden, Obasi also collected 10 rebounds, and Gabby Greene scored 14 points.

Nationally Speaking: Other than the Mississippi and Notre Dame wins mentioned above, No. 16 Stanford (5-3) made 11 treys across the second half to win at home in non-conference 88-66 over San Francisco (2-4). The Cardinal’s Brittany McPhee, the leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, missed her fourth straight game with a right-foot injury. 

No. 13 Florida State escaped upset-minded Iowa 94-93 as Shakayla Thomas with 31 points and 10 rebounds, and Imani Wright with 26 points helped keep the Seminoles (7-0) stay unbeaten in non-conference play. Megan Gustafson had 34 points and nine rebounds for the Hawkeyes (7-1) who dropped their first in the game played in Iowa City.

Wisconsin, which next hosts La Salle, Saturday, edged host Pittsburgh 58-57 as the Badgers (4-3)  stopped a fourth quarter rally by the Panthers (5-2).

Notre Dame won its game over Michigan with a 15-2 run at the outset of the fourth quarter. Arike Ogunbowaie had 32 points while Jackie Young had had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Irish (7-0), who visit Penn, Dec. 9. Hallie Thome had 24 for the Wolverines (4-2) who visit Long Island-Brooklyn Saturday.

   Minnesota lost its first game of the season as the Gophers (7-1) fell to host North Carolina 88-83. The Tar Heels (4-2) got 21 points from Taylor Koenen while Janelle Bailey had 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Gadiva Hubbard had 25 points for Minnesota.

And that is the report.






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