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, January 12, 2018

The Guru Report: Local Sweep With Rallies By Villanova and Delaware Along with Easy Ivy Wins by Penn and Princeton

By Mel Greenberg (@womhoopsguru)

PHILADELPHIA — It was a clean four-game sweep for the Guru local teams on the Friday night card with Penn coming off last week’s Princeton loss here in The Palestra to handle Cornell on the front end of the first Ivy back-to-back weekend while the Tigers an hour away up north did likewise to Columbia.

Further up from Princeton in New Jersey, Villanova rallied in the second half to take a key Big East triumph at Seton Hall, while even a bit further north on in Hempstead, N.Y., on Long Island, Delaware captured a win at Hofstra in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Fast Start Carries Penn Over Cornell

Extensive detail not really required for Penn, which jumped to a 22-8 first quarter attack on Cornell to continue way in front to absorb a 13-0 run by the Big Red in the third quarter before finishing with a 68-48 win to go to 7-5 overall on the season and 1-1 in the Ivy League.

Unlike six days ago, Penn coach Mike McLaughlin was all smiles with the performance of his Quakers consisting of freshman center Eleah Parker double doubling with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Lauren Whitlatch also scoring in double figures with 11 points paced by three of the home team’s nine 3-balls, and well rounded games by senior Michelle Nwokedi with nine points, seven rebounds, seven rebounds, six blocked shots and a steal while Anna Ross ran an effective backcourt operation with six points, six assists and a pairs of steals.

“I love what we did tonight,” McLaughlin said. “I said to them in the locker room, the team came out ready to play, we set the tone the way we want to play tonight and carry over to play tomorrow.”

He took accountability for the team slipping on the Cornell run as he was giving everyone a chance to get some time.

Samantha Clement had a career high 23 points for Cornell (4-10, 0-1 Ivy), but everyone else was held in check and early in the third quarter, Penn reached its largest lead of the night at 33 points.

Elodie Furey, a freshman from Episcopal Academy and Villanova, the suburb, whose father Kevin played for Saint Joseph’s, had her second homecoming in her early collegiate career, playing 15 minutes for Cornell, which earlier this season lost up the street at Drexel in a non-conference matchup.

Dylan Higgins, also a reserve, is from Episcopal and the sophomore lives in Bala Cynwyd.

Penn comes right back here Saturday, again in an earlier start, this time at 4:30 p.m., hosting Columbia before the men play the Lions.

This is the second season that Penn’s men and women are playing a few doubleheaders other than the former traditional one against Princeton, as the schedule being adjusted for the four-team Ivy tournament fields, which began last year and again will return to the Palestra in mid-March.

After this weekend, the Ivy business gets parked until the end of the month but between now and then there’s still a piece of the local Big Five title to pursue, visiting Villanova next Wednesday at 7, and then Temple the following Wednesday.

The non-conference slate wraps with a game here against Division III Gwynedd Mercy before the chase for a third straight Ivy regular season title and second straight Ivy tourney title resumes the rest of the way.

Villanova Rallies Over Seton Hall

After being dropped out of the Associated Press women’s poll by a few points following a six-way run, the Wildcats are making a case for a quick return.

Following Wednesday 60-58 win at Georgetown, coach Harry Perretta’s squad overcame a vastly improved Seton Hall squad at the Pirates’ Walsh Gym in South Orange, N.J., to emerge with a 67-59 Big East victory.

Down nine at the half, Villanova (14-2, 4-2 Big East) roared over the home team in the final 10 minutes 29-17 to run an impressive road record to 8-1.

Kelly Jekot scored 21 for the Wildcats, including 10 in the final period, preventing Seton Hall (10-8, 2-5) from making good on a career-high 28 points to go with 13 rebounds from former Temple star Donnaizha Fountain, who transferred and is playing with graduate eligibility. 

The Pirates’ Shadeen Samuels also had a career high with 20 points.

The Wildcats’ Mary Gedaka scored 16 and grabbed eight rebounds while Jannah Tucker scored 11, including three of ‘Nova’s eight 3-balls. Adrianna Hahn had eight points and seven rebounds.

Villanova is 40-22 all-time against Seton Hall. 

Next up is another road stop for Villanova in the New York Metro area visiting Saint John’s on the Island Sunday at 2 p.m.

Princeton Downs Columbia

The Tigers ran their current win streak to six after beating the Lions 69-47 at home in Jadwin Gym following last week’s triumph at Penn to improve to 12-3 overall and 2-0 in the Ancient Eight.

Sophomore sensation Bella Alarie had 18 points and a season-best 13 rebounds for Princeton (12-3, 2-0 Ivy) while Gabrielle Rush and Abby Meyers each scored 11, and Carlie Littlefield scored 10.

The Tigers were able to dominate despite a big night of 29 points from Camille Zimmerman of Columbia (6-10, 0-1), which opened Ivy play.

Princeton, also is involved with the same doubleheader sets as Penn this weekend, so the Tigers on Saturday will host Cornell at 4:30 p.m.

Delaware Tops Hofstra

The Blue Hens rallied in the second half to win at Hofstra 58-51 in a CAA game at the host Pride’s Mack Sports Complex in Hempstead, N.Y.

A 17-9 third quarter enabled Delaware (10-5, 3-1 CAA) to take a third straight conference win following last month’s opening loss at Drexel.

Nicole Enabosi had her 11th double double with 12 points and 15 rebounds while Abby Gonzales and Bailey Kargo each scored nine while Samone DeFreese grabbed 11 rebounds.

Ashunae Durant had 12 points and 14 rebounds for Hofstra (8-8, 2-3).

“This group is really learning how to win,” said first year coach Natasha Adair. “This was a tough road win against a hot Hofstra team. We were very disciplined in the second half and at no point did I see uncertainty in our eyes.”

Delaware now heads home to host Towson in a CAA battle Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

Looking Ahead

Besides Saturday’s Ivy set involving Princeton and Penn hosting Cornell and Columbia, respectively, both at 4:30 p.m., Temple takes to the road in an American Conference game at Cincinnati.

La Salle is hosting Saint Bonaventure at 1 p.m. in an Atlantic 10 game while Saint Joseph’s is making an A-10 visit to Massachusetts in Amherst at 2 p.m.

Rutgers will try to get back on the winning track hosting Minnesota in a Big 10 game at 2 p.m.

On Sunday besides the Nova and Delaware games mentioned, Drexel fresh off its comeback at William & Mary will host UNCW in a CAA game at 2 p.m. in the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

The Sea Gulls are under former Old Dominion coach Karen Barefoot, who has on her staff former longtime coach Tina Martin.

Penn State hosts Wisconsin in a Big Ten game at 2 p.m.

And that’s the report.


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