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.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The Guru Report/Notebook: Scaife Hits Rutgers (Career) Scoring Penthouse in Win Over Virginia

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

How long before the Rutgers musicians start playing Back in the Highlife Again?

Maybe by the middle of next week after the Scarlet Knights host their Garden State rivals of Seton Hall Friday afternoon followed by a visit from Princeton a week from Wednesday.

If not, the Big 10 slate is not that far away on the horizon.

But for now, excepting one hiccup against Washington State down in Florida over Thanksgiving, the grin and bear it attitude until this current season arrives endured by Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer 12 months ago is holding up to her outlook.

The latest indication in what was the only game on the Guru slate Monday night is a win over Virginia 52-43 at home in the early phase of a long eight-game stand at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

Tuesday, by the way, also has one game — Saint Joseph’s at Towson as the Hawks try quickly to bounce back from Villanova’s whipping. The Guru as of time posting this is a probable to be on the scene.

The Rutgers win, meanwhile, brought the mark to 8-2 — two more than the entire forlorn 2016-17 non-run — the other setback this time to date being a competitive loss at the start of the Florida tourney to defending NCAA champion South Carolina.

The centerpiece in the renaissance is Tyler Scaife — a key reason for the carnage last season because of her being sidelined with a heart ailment besides the slew of transfers who had to wait until their NCAA eligibility became active.

Apparently Rutgers officials shared the belief things would improve, having recently given Stringer a three-year extension.

She is now 15 triumphs away from the 1,000-win club that UConn’s Geno Auriemma, now at 998, is likely to join on Dec. 19 when the Huskies host Oklahoma at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville. 

The late Tennessee legend Pat Summitt and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer are the only two other women’s coaches over that career total.

Meanwhile Scaife — who appears ready to be referred to as a first round WNBA prospect — continued to be Rutgers’ version of the Roaring ‘20s — having scored 22 against the Cavaliers (4-6). It’s the fifth time this season she has visited the 20-point milestone.

And this one lifted her into the penthouse of Rutgers all-timers — now fourth on the program scoring list with 1,812 points, just 61 short of passing Philadelphian Kahleah Copper, a recent grad (2016) now playing in the WNBA.

Stasha Carey, a redshirt junior, had nine points and nine rebounds and Rutgers took care of the basketball with a season-low nine turnovers.

Virginia got 14 points from Jocelyn Willoughby and 13 from J’Kyra Brown while Felicia Aiyeotan grabbed 11 rebounds.

Villanova Places Fifth in First NCAA RPI and Moves up to 22 in AP Women’s Poll

Since there was only one game, the Guru is combining his notebook stuff on this post. Bob Heller has the weekly Philly Smalls.

And we begin with how about those Wildcats. 

While the Guru never starts really glancing at RPI numbers until the end of the month - when those figures are likely to stabilize as the non-conference component — since the NCAA released its first public RPI short form Monday, the appearance of Villanova (7-0) being fifth is worthy of some notation.

Back in 2003 coach Harry Perretta’s troops started high in simulations — the NCAA didn’t make theirs public — and stayed high all season — best ever back then for a Big 5 women’s team.

On target for a great seed in the tournament, they eventually made the projection one better, ending UConn’s then-record 70-game win streak to claim the Big Five title, earn a No. 2 seed and advance to the elite eight, where the run ended in Knoxville against host Tennessee.

The NCAA report does not show strength-of-schedule numbers but the various simulations soon to appear will.

For now, here is the how the Guru’s group fares but remember there will be drastic changes in listings off the schedule — No. 3 Notre Dame visits Penn this Saturday, No. 5 South Carolina visits Temple, Dec. 21, along with the American home-and-home with UConn and South Florida, and there’s Sunday’s visit to the Owls from ‘Nova, as some examples.

So here’s the list:

NCAA RPI Rankings for the Guru Locals

5. Villanova

24. Princeton

29. Rutgers

46. Drexel

52. Saint Joseph’s

75. Penn State

79. La Salle

97. Delaware. - eight inside Top 100

104. Temple

241. Penn

173. Lehigh

266. Lafayette

298. Rider

Outsiders RPI on Local Schedules — Quick Drill So Not Mentioning Our Teams

UConn. 1

Notre Dame 2

Villanova 5 (Big five opponent)

South Carolina 7

St. John’s 10

West Virginia 11

South Florida 15

Michigan 16

Ohio State 18

Syracuse 20

Purdue 21

Princeton 24

Washington St. 28

Rutgers 29

Duke 33

Maryland 34

Butler 40

Mississippi 44

Drexel 46

Yale 51

Saint Joseph’s 52

Minnesota 54

Virginia Tech 57

Xavier 61

Dayton 62

UCF 63

NC State 64

George Mason 67

Michigan State 72

Penn State 75

La Salle 79

Wisconsin 82

Elon 83

Brown 87

Wake Forest 89

Providence 92

Marquette 93

DePaul 95

Fordham 96

Delaware 97

Seton Hall 98

Creighton 100

That’s the report for now.




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