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 26, 2018

The Guru Report: Rider Rallies Over Winless Iona While Fordham’s Gaitley Gets 600th Win

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y.  — The latest Broncs Tale occurred just minutes from Bronx, N.Y., Thursday night where the Rider women ralied from an early 10-point deficit to defeat host Iona 62-49 here at the Hynes Athletic Center and avoid becoming the Gaels’ first overall victim of the season besides being the initial one in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). 

“I know the record now says they’re 0-20 but they’re really not that bad,” Rider veteran coach Lynn Milligan said afterwards. “Any road game in the MAAC is a rough one, but this one particularly had me a little worried.

“You look at their season and several games were lost in the closing minutes and Billi’s (Chambers) is a good coach. They’re just young.”

Rider (8-12, 5-4 MAAC) is also younger than the “Cinderella season” of a year ago and just recently began to get some traction that was halted with a tough loss in the Broncs’ most recent game, a 68-67 loss to host Marist not far from north of here in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

In that one the Red Foxes had 32 attempts at the foul line while Rider shot a mere 11 by comparison.

In this one Thursday night Iona (0-20, 0-9) surged to an 18-8 lead after one quarter as the visitors shot a paltry 3-for-15 from the field and committed five turnovers.

But Rider clamped down defensively over the next period to outscore the Gaels 20-6 and force eight turnovers to hit the break with a 28-24 lead and the Broncs never yielded the advantage the rest of the way.

By the end of the third quarter Rider was up 51-31 on the way to a third MAAC win on the road.

Rider’s sophomore sensation Stella Johnson just missed a double double scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Freshman Jaiden Morris and senior Kamila Hoskova each scored 13 points.

Aubre Johnson had a career-high nine points and also had eight rebounds and a steal.

“I think we started slow, but we did a much better job defensively and spread the ball around well in the second and third quarters,” Milligan said.

“We lost a really tough game against Marist last time out and we gave them 25 points on the free throw line. Tonight, Iona only had one. We tried to focus on not letting Iona get in the bonus during any of the four quarters.”

Rider returns to Alumni Gym in Lawrenceville, N.J., between Trenton and Princeton, on Saturday for another MAAC game hosting Fairfield at 2 p.m. 

The Broncs beat the Stags 61-45 earlier this month up in Fairfield, Conn.

Local Girl Collects Wins 

Since we are near the Bronx, we will go a little out of order ahead of the Guru’s other local game of the day, to note that former Villanova star Stephanie Gaitley picked up her 600th coaching win Thursday night guiding host Fordham to a 72-48 victory over St. Bonaventure in an Atlantic 10 game at Rose Hill Gymnasium.

Gaitley, who also celebrated her birthday, has also coached at Richmond, Saint Joseph’s, Long Island U., and Monmouth.

Fordham is in the A-10 regular season hunt with a 16-5 overall record and 7-1 in the conference one game behind in the loss column to Dayton and Duquesne.

G’mrice Davis had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Rams while Mary Goulding score 15 points, Bre Cavanaugh scored 14, and Lauren Holden scored 10.

The Bonnies fell to 7-14 overall and 2-6 in the conference.

In her seven seasons at Fordham, Gaitley guided the Rams to the 2014 A-10 tournament title and is the all-time winningest coach, which occurred last season when she topped Kathy Mosolino.

Gaitley, nee Vanderslice and a native of Ocean City, N.J., has two sisters Courtney and Coco who also played Division I ball and during the 1981-82 season Courtney and Gaitley, who played on what was to become Villanova’s AIAW Final Four team, went against Coco’s FDU squad marking the first time in NCAA history three sisters played in the same game.

Fordham next travels to George Mason for an A-10 Sunday tilt in Fairfax, Va.

La Salle Rallies Over VCU

The Explorers edged VCU 62-57 in the Atlantic 10 matinee annual Kids Day game at TruMark Financial Center at Tom Gola Arena using a 14-0 run across the third and fourth quarters to erase an eight-point deficit.

Amy Griffin had 26 points for La Salle (7-13, 2-5 A-10) while Adreanna Miller scored 16 and Sofi Ngwafang scored 10 off the bench.

VCU fell to 4-15 overall and 1-6 in the conference.

La Salle next hosts Saint Joseph’s at 1 p.m. Sunday in the final overall Big Five game as well as the first of two home-and-home A-10 games between the two area schools.

Penn’s win at Temple Wednesday earned a tie at the top for both the Quakers and Villanova at 3-1.
Saint Joseph’s is 0-3 in the City Series while La Salle is 1-2. Temple finished 2-2.

Friday Night Lights

Just three games on the Guru’s local card for Friday with two involving games in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Drexel, currently in second place a game behind unbeaten James Madison in CAA competition will host defending CAA Tourney champ Elon at 7 p.m. at the Dragons’ Daskalakis Athletic Center to kick off homecoming weekend.

The Dragons on Sunday will host Northeastern at 2 p.m.

Delaware on Friday at 7 p.m. will host Northeastern in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark. The Blue Hens, alone in third, on Sunday will host UNCW at 1 p.m., marking the first appearance in Delaware of new Seahawks coach Karen Barefoot, formerly with Old Dominion, and assistant coach Tina Martin, formerly a longtime head coach of the Blue Hens.

Villanova starts the second part of its Big East schedule on the road visiting Xavier Friday at 7 in Cincinnati and then on Sunday heads to Butler at 1 p.m. in Indianapolis.

On Saturday just two games — the Rider game hosting Fairfield previously mentioned while Rutgers tries to get back on the winning track visiting Indiana at 1 p.m. in the Big 10.

Also on Sunday, Temple will try to shed a five-game losing streak when the Owls visit USF art noon on ESPNU in Tampa. 

Penn plays its last non-conference game hosting Division III Gwynedd Mercy at 1 p.m. in The Palestra. Penn State is at Purdue at noon in the Big 10.

And that’s the report.

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