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, January 15, 2018

The Guru Report: Drexel and Delaware Grab Wins to Stay Locked in Second in the CAA While Big East Villanova Falls at St. John’s

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — Drexel cruised to an easy 68-42 win over UNCW here at the Dragons’ Daskalakis Athletic Center Sunday afternoon while down the road Delaware edged Towson 51-49 at the Blue Hens’ Bob Carpenter Center in Newark in a pair of games in the Colonial Athletic Association to stay tied for second a game behind James Madison, which has yet to lose in conference play.

In two other games involving the Guru locals in a light Sunday schedule Villanova fell short in Big East game in New York, losing at St. John’s 70-64, while in a Big Ten game at Wisconsin, Penn State topped the Badgers 69-62.

In other games of note around the country, No. 9 South Carolina, playing at home without A’ja Wilson after an injury in her last game, fell to No. 6 Tennessee 86-70, and Mike Siroky has that one all covered in his weekly SEC Report as he also does Georgia taking down No. 17 Texas A&M 92-84 in overtime a few days after the Aggies had handed Tennessee with its first loss.

Elsewhere, No. 2 Notre Dame recovered off its trashing earlier in the week from No. 3 Louisville to beat visiting Boston College 89-60 in the Atlantic Coast Conference while other results from the conference showed Pittsburgh beating visiting Georgia Tech 68-62, North Carolina State edging Syracuse at home 60-56, Miami beating host Clemson 72-60, Florida State routing visiting Virginia Tech 107-62, and No. 16 Duke beating visiting Virginia 55-48,

Host Dayton topped Saint Louis 101-76 in a battle of two Atlantic 10 frontrunners, while host South Florida topped in-state rival UCF 62-45 in The American, and in the Big 12 No. 5 Baylor handled host Oklahoma 74-52.

Drexel Goes Virtually Wire-to-Wire Beating UNCW

The Dragons welcomed back two former CAA notables in new UNCW coach Karen Barefoot, who had coached Old Dominion, which left the conference for C-USA several years ago, and Tina Martin, the longtime Delaware coach who stepped down in the offseason and then became a member of Barefoot’s staff,

But after the pre-game sociality was put aside Drexel coach Denise Dillon’s group allowed a brief 3-2 lead at the outset by the Seahawks (7-10, 0-6 CAA) and then dashed to a 20-10 advantage at the end of the quarter and stayed in control the rest of the way.

The Dragons (12-5, 4-1) had come off the road after a pulsating comeback 65-58 win in overtime at William & Mary Tuesday night and now will be gone until after a weekend road trip at Northeastern Friday and Hofstra Sunday returning to host defending CAA tournament champion Elon Friday Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.

“Once again our defense set the tone,” said Dillon of the group forcing 25 turnovers. “We made some changes to show some zone and the team showed man and the team worked well out there together.

“We just wanted to make sure our reserves understand the intensity of playing defense with every possession.”

Kelsi Lidge had a game-high 18 points for Drexel while Sara Woods off 5-for-7 from the field scored 12 points and had three steals, Bailey Greenberg scored 11, shooting 5-for-9, and Aubrey Brown was 3-for-5 scoring nine points and grabbing eight rebounds, while Hannah Nilhill dealt three assists and also had three steals.

Sharing the ball well, Drexel had 18 assists on the Dragons’ 28 field goals.

“All of love sharing the ball and finding the open man,” Brown said.

No one on UNCW scored in double figures — Lacey Suggs, the Seahawks’ leading scorer was held to three points, 11 below her average. The top UNCW leader was Chinyere Bell with nine points and eight rebounds while Jenny DeGraff, a former Penn State player, had seven points and seven rebounds.

Delaware Edges Towson

The Blue Hens kept pace with Drexel tied for second with the Dragons at 4-1 in the CAA, a game behind JMU after escaping with a 51-49 home win over Towson.

Delaware (11-5 overall) has won four straight since dropping the CAA opener at Drexel.

In Sunday’s game, Towson held a one-point lead with 13 seconds left in regulation before Abby Gonzales took a pass from Nicole Enabosi and fired a three-pointer.

Enabosi soon thereafter sealed the outcome with a pair of foul shots. She recorded her 12th double double of the season with 14 points, a total matched by Gonzales, and also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Samone DeFreese collected 11 rebounds.

Towson (7-10, 2-4 CAA) got 15 points and 13 rebounds from Mary Cuevas while Danielle Durjan grabbed 15 points and five rebounds.

“This is a gutty group and this is a group that plays together,” said Delaware first-year coach Natasha Adair. “They don’t care who gets the credit. They trust one another.”

Gonzales acknowledged the pressure cooker of the tightly contested action, saying, “It was a draining game, bugt at the same time, it’s so rewarding at the end, especially to get the ‘W.’

“The first couple of games didn’t go our way, but we learned from our mistakes and how to come back in those last minute possessions.”

Delaware next weekend heads to UNCW on Friday and Elon on Sunday.

Fast Finish Carries Penn State Over Wisconsin

The Lady Lions surged from a 52-52 deadlock at Wisconsin with seven minutes left in regulation to pour down 10 straight points and hold on for a 69-62 win in the Big Ten over the Badgers at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Coach Coquese Washington’s group never trailed but did get caught in the tie before pulling away for the road win.

Penn State (11-8, 2-4 Big Ten) connected from beyond the arc for 12 three-pointers, one less than a season high of 13 against Kansas State.

All but one of the Lady Lions’ total came from the starting five, led by Amari Carter, who scored 21 points, and Jaida Travascio-Green, who scored 20. Carter had a career high with five triplets.

Travascio-Green went long range with six 3-pointers, one less than against Drexel in the season-opening weekend.

Siyeh Frazier added 12 points to the Penn State total while Teniya Page scored 11.

Cayla Morris had a team-high 17 points for Wisconsin (7-12, 0-6), which is still looking for its first conference win of the season.

The Lady Lions head home to the Bryce Jordan Center for Thursday night’s 7 p. m. tip off against Rutgers, which they nearly upset in their first meeting back in Piscataway, N.J., earlier this month.

Villanova Falls at Saint John’s

The Wildcats came up short at St. John’s, losing 70-64 in a Big East game in Carneseca Arena at Queens, N.Y., that cost Villanova completing a key three-game road sweep in the conference.

The host Red Storm improved to 12-7 overall and 5-3 in the conference, while Villanova, which fell out of the AP women’s poll a week ago after a seven-week stay, fell to 14-3 overall and 4-3 in the Big East.

Following a late rally that drew the Wildcats close, the Red Storm closed out the game for a win by making 7 of 8 free throws in the final minutes.

Kelly Jekot had 16 points for Villanova while Mary Gedaka had 15 points and eight rebounds. Alex Louin and Jannah Tucker each had 11 points.

Alisha Kebbe and Maya Singleton each scored 16 points while Tiana Englad scored 12 for St. John’s and Singleton also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Wildcats take a brief excursion outside the conference to finish their Big Five business hosting Penn at 7 Wednesday night at the Jake Nevin Field House.

A win will give Villanova the Big Five title outright with a 4-0 sweep. A Quakers win, which would be an extreme rarity in that portion of the City Series round robin means that if Penn also wins at Temple the following Wednesday, for the second time it would get a piece of the title otherwise the Owls will share the crown with Villanova.

The Wildcats then return to conference play Friday night hosting frontrunning DePaul at 7 and then hosting defending champion Marquette at noon Sunday.

And that’s the Guru report.


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