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, January 25, 2018

Postgame Scout: Penn Women Earns Their Way to Big Five Co-Championship

Guru’s note: Postgame Scout was on the scene to report the strategy as Penn and Temple battled for a piece of the Big Five title.

By Postgame Scout

PHILADELPHIA — The best of Big Five basketball was on full display Wednesday night as the Penn Quakers traveled across town to the McGonigle Hall to battle the Temple Owls for a share of the Big Five Title.


The tone was set early. 

Penn’s Ashley Russell smoothly stroked the ball and drained a 3.  Temple’s scoring ace Tanaya Atkinson grabbed the ball and drove to the hoop only to have her forward progress abruptly halted by Penn’s dynamic forwards Eleah Parker and Michelle Nwokedi.  


Penn had the lead and did not relinquish it for the remaining 39 minutes and 30 seconds.  


Penn’s 2-2-1 zonpress slowed down the Owls transition game forcing Temple to play in the half court.  

 The Quakers’ defense denied Temple all access to the paint as Penn’s strong and skilled post blocked 7 shots. 

Without dribble penetration the Owls at times were stagnate and the Quakers forced 16 turnover.


Temple did cut Penn’s lead to 8 when the Owls Coach Tonya Cardoza moved Tanaya Atkinson inside. 

This forced Penn to focus on Atkinson’s cutting through the paint, freeing up Desiree Oliver to hit her 3s.  


As the game progressed, Temple seemed offensively out of sync.  They passed the ball in the opposite direction of their baseline movement.  This made Penn’s zone defense more effective.


Penn was poised against Temple’s pressure defense.  

The Owls could not disrupt Penn’s offensive flow.  The Quakers pounded the ball inside scoring 40 of their 74 points in the paint, while their designated 3 point shooters took full advantage of Temple’s collapsing defense.


Speaking of designated 3 point shooters, Penn’s Ashley Russell scored 19 points while shooting 61.5% from the floor and 75% from 3.  She grabbed 9 rebounds and was in the middle of most plays on both ends of the floor.


The Quakers had 20 assists with just 9 turnovers making this a very efficient offensive performance. 


Penn controlled the tempo of this game from the opening stanza.  

They were poised and determined running their sets despite Temple’s ball pressure.  

They deserve to be Big Five co-champions.