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, December 22, 2017

The Guru Report: Thumper Day for Penn and Delaware

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — It was thumper day for the last two of the Guru’s local teams in action before the holiday break filled with career highs and an impressive throwback stat as Penn rolled over Rhode Island 84-66 here at home Friday afternoon in The Palestra while the other game, also at home, down the road at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del., saw the Blue Hens of Delaware shut down Loyola of Maryland 71-38.

In the game here in which the Quakers evened up their non-conference schedule at 4-4, three players registered double doubles for the first time since 1992.

Senior Michelle Nwokedi,the reigning Ivy player of the year, as well as defensive player, had 12 points and 11 rebounds, newcomer Eleah Parker, who is the current Ivy player of the week, had 12 points and 11 rebounds for her first of her career, and Anna Ross in the backcourt had 11 points and dealt a personal high of 10 assists.

Additionally, Ashley Russell had a career high 17 points, Lauren Whitlatch scored 12, and freshman Katie Kinum, giving bench support, scored nine. Ross and Russell also each had a career high 4 steals.

By the way, the Guru has posted under his roundup posting this early, the new addition Postgame Scout, which will have commentary on the Xs and O’s on this one.

Defensively, Penn forced 23 turnovers, owned the offensive boards with a 17-5 advantage in second-chance points, and showed more depth with a bench differential of 20-4.

The Quakers also connected with 13 treys out of 27 while Rhode Island (2-10) shot 10-of-28 from beyond the arc.

Elemy Colome scored 25, Nicole Jorgensen had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Abby Streeter scored 12.

In all, things are starting to come together nicely for Penn with Parker offering a different dimension filling the post vacancy created by shot-blocking star Sydney Stipanovich’s graduation, and Phoebe Sterba got her feet wet, so to speak, in coming back for a few minutes from a leg injury suffered in March of last season.

“We turned our turnovers into offense, which we haven’t done,” said coach Mike McLaughlin. “We’ve been turning teams over, but we haven’t made them pay. We did that better today — we hit a bunch of threes, which certainly helped. It was a really good team performance.”

Penn led wire to wire rushing to a 47-29 lead at the half.

“We worked hard all week. Behind the scenes, they were shooting the ball, practicing for this one,” McLaughlin said. “I’m glad today we got rewarded for that.”

The Quakers came into this one on the floor for the first time since Dec. 11 after having previously beaten Saint Joseph’s on Hawk Hill for the first time in over a decade.

Penn after the break heads up to North Jersey in Newark for NJIT’s tournament next Thursday playing VCU in the opener, the Quakers’ third straight opponent out of the Atlantic 10, and then on Friday will play either the host Highlanders or Long Beach State.

Then on January 6, Penn as the reigning two-time Ivy champions opens defense of its regular season consecutive titles, hosting Princeton, the usual tipoff on the league schedule.

Like a year ago, the outcome involves less peril with a loss since the Ivies now have a tourney containing the top four teams — Penn won the inaugural championship a year ago and the event will return here this year on the weekend in March just before the NCAA Women’s Selection Show the following Monday night on ESPN.

This year the Ivy tourney for men and women will overlap the Colonial Athletic Association women’s tourney up the street at Drexel, though with the dates and times right now it might be possible to view both involving women’s teams for those that have no singular school to follow.

In a separate note containing news out of here Friday, Penn senior associate athletic director Sherryta Freeman, a former Dartmouth star, has been named the new athletic director at Lafayette.

She had been the sport administrator for football and men’s and women’s basketball and also had a similar role at Temple prior to coming to Penn.

Enabosi Doubles Down to a New Record Leading Delaware Over Loyola of Md.

On the way to Delaware’s lopsided 71-38 triumph that closed out the Blue Hens’ non-conference slate, Nicole Enabosi had 23 points and 20 rebounds setting a Delaware record with her eighth straight double double.

The Blue Hens (7-4) last had a player grab at least 20 rebounds in 1989 when Sharon Wisler owned the stat in a game against Bucknell on March 5, 1989.

The Greyhounds (2-9) from Baltimore had a competitive start with a 15-11 lead at the close of the first quarter only to be outscored 49-17 over the next two.

Justina Mascaro scored 12 points for the home team while Kiersten West had 10 points and a career high eight rebounds.

Loyola’s Izzy Therien scored 12 and Alexis Grey scored 11.

“We came into the game today knowing we didn’t have our starting point guard (Abby Gonzales),” said first-year coach Natasha Adair, previously in a similar position at Georgetown. “We had people step up today, but we also had 22 bench points. It’s always been a group effort.

“Today Nicole was more excited for her teammates and to talk to Justina to get her ready for the game.”

Gonzales was sidelined with a concussion.

The Blue Hens have won 13 straight over Loyola and are 14-1 in the entire series.

Delaware opens its CAA slate on the road next Friday at 4 p.m. visiting its local rival Drexel up the street from The Palestra at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

It’s the first time the longtime local rivals have opened against each other in a conference schedule either in the CAA or back when they belonged to the America East.

“It is unusual,” said Drexel’s Denise Dillon, referencing the past in CAA competition when the teams had their first of two regular season meetings near the end of January.

“But they have been doing rotations and I guess that’s the way it came out.”

Drexel finished its non-conference schedule up the street on Thursday, beating Cornell with a strong fourth quarter 61-39 to improve to 8-4 and stay perfect 8-0 in the all time series with the Big Red (2-8).

Cornell was Drexel’s first opponent when the Dragons became classified Division I in NCAA competition 36 years ago.

Wrapping up this post below is our postgame scout. On Saturday, Mike Siroky will chime in with the final SEC notebook before the break while the Guru in the next few days, having missed roundups due to travel and other activities, will look at the state of things and also on Saturday will post a conversation with the new NCAA vice president of women’s basketball.



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