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, February 20, 2018

Bob Heller’s Philly WBB Small College Report: The Weekend Roundup

Note: A special playoff edition will be following this rather quickly.

By Bob Heller (@Bob_Heller1)


 The Division III regular season wrapped up on Saturday and each of the conferences with area teams competing finalized their playoff brackets and will open the postseason this week.  

Meanwhile there’s another week of regular season action for area Division II as several programs prepare for what hopes to be a long post-season run.

Special playoff reports will be forthcoming as playoffs are now underway in the D-III conferences and the D-II’s will start next week.  Stay tuned……and now - here’s our weekend wrap-up.

Cabrini Keeps Winning...Earns Top Seed in CSAC

We’ll start our report with the Division III Colonial State Athletic Conference (CSAC) where four of the six area programs wrapped up the regular season Saturday.

Cabrini University extended their winning streak to 21 games with an impressive 77-38 win over Clark Summit University.  The Blue and White finished the regular season with a perfect 16-0 record in conference play (their best since 2014-15) and are now 23-2 on the season.  

A trio of Cavs tallied double digit points, led by Kate Skalski's 18 points.  Sabrina Hackendorn and Kate Lannon finished with 10 points each, with Lannon chipping in four boards as well. Nomi Washington added nine points and four rebounds, while Caroline Price finished with a game high six assists. 

The Cavaliers led wire-to-wire, jumping out to a 17-4 lead in the first quarter and extending it to 22 by halftime 35-13.  A 24-point effort in the third quarter coupled with 18 more in the fourth extended their lead to as many as 44 points in the final three minutes of play.  Clark Summit scored the final five points to make the end result a 77-38 win.

With the win the Cavaliers secured home court advantage in the upcoming CSAC Tournament and a bye into the semifinal round. On Wednesday, Cabrini will host the lowest remaining seed after the quarterfinal round.

Gwynedd Mercy Wins Regular Season Finale…Earns Bye in CSAC Playoffs

Second-seed Gwynedd Mercy University also won the regular season finale, defeating Centenary, 78-48 on Senior Day for the Griffins.

The Griffins, who hold down the #2 seed for the CSAC Tournament, improved to 17-8 overall and 14-2 in league play.  They will host a semi-final playoff game on Wednesday.

Senior Bianca Adams led the Griffins with 16 points while Susan Bossler added 11.  Chyanne Fine grabbed a game-high ten rebounds.  A total of 12 different players scored for the Griffins.

Gwynedd Mercy led from the opening tap to the final buzzer, jumping out to a 19-9 lead in the first quarter and expanding the lead to 12, 33-21 at the half and 52-36 heading into the final quarter.  

The Griffins started the fourth quarter with a 14-1 run to put the game out of reach, outscoring Centenary 26-12 in the period for the 30-point win.

Neumann Finishes Regular Season with Win…Will Host a Home Playoff Game

The CSAC’s #3 seed also had an easy time on Saturday, defeating Cairn University, 74-31.

Neumann wraps up the regular season with an 18-7 overall mark and a 13-3 CSAC record.   The Knights will be the No. 3 seed in the CSAC postseason and hosted No. 6 Rosemont on Monday evening. 

Nafisa Saunders scored 20 points for the Knights. Minika Glenn netted 17 and Kristen Denoncour added 10. Shauntel Williams handedout six assists.  Kendra Stum led the Highlanders with 15 points while Victoria Stum added seven points and eight rebounds.


The Knights didn’t waste time and jumped out to an early 11-2 lead. Neumann held Cairn to just four points in the first quarter and it held a 28-4 lead at the first break. Neumann continued to build its lead in the second quarter and took a 44-17 advantage into halftime.

 The second half was no different than the first and the Knights cruised their way to the regular season finale win.

CSAC End-of-Season Awards Announced

The Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) has announced its 2017-18 women’s basketball end of season awards, as voted upon by the league’s 12 head coaches. These awards include Player, Defensive and Rookie of the Year as well as Coach of the Year.

The 2017-18 Player of the Year is Neumann University junior guard Nafisa Saunders. This marks the third straight year a Neumann player has won this award, as the Knights have now boasted the Player of the Year for the sixth time in school history.

 Saunders leads the CSAC in scoring with 18.6 points per game, while converting a conference-high 163 field goals and 134 free throws. She holds the CSAC mark this year for most points in a game, scoring 37 points in a win over Marywood on January 31. One week later, she scored 36 points in a win over Rosemont College. In that game, she made 22-of-25 foul shots. She was the CSAC Player of the Week back on January 15. 

The 2017-18 Defensive Player of the Year hails from Cabrini University in junior forward Nomi Washington. She  is the first Cabrini player to win this award, as this is the second year the Defensive Player of the Year has been awarded.

 A two-time Player of the Week selection by the CSAC, Washington is tied for the CSAC lead in steals, averaging three per contest. She leads a defensive unit that allows just 54.9 points per game and holds opponents to just 33.9 percent from the field. Cabrini also holds a 6.4 rebounding margin. She leads the team with 75 steals on the year and is the team’s third leading rebounder with 5.8 per contest.

The 2017-18 Coach of the Year is Kate Pearson from Cabrini University. 

Pearson was previously honored by her peers during the 2012-13 season and the 2014-15 season.

 This year, she led Cabrini to a perfect 16-0 mark and a 23-2 overall record. Heading into the post-season, the Cavs are riding a 21-game winning streak with their last loss coming back on November 29 against The University of Scranton. She currently has a 177-78 career mark at Cabrini. She joins former Cabrini coach Dan Welde as a three-time CSAC Coach of the Year award winner.

Area players joining Saunders and Washington on the CSAC first team were Cabrini forward Meghan Matthews and Rosemont guard Jasmyn Parker.

Four area players earned on of the five slots on the All-CSAC Second Team:  Olivia Roseman and Juliana Hoisington of Gwynedd Mercy, Ke’alohilani Naone-Carter of Rosemont and Theresa Kearney of Immaculata. Kate Lannon of Cabrini and Ayanna Thompson of Rosemont were honorable mention All-CSAC selections.

Ursinus Grabs Final Playoff Spot…Haverford Earns Bye

Shifting over to the Centennial Conference, Ursinus College dropped their regular season finale to Gettysburg, 76-60 but got a little help as they backed into the fifth and final playoff spot as #25 Muhlenberg College defeated McDaniel and Dickinson defeated Washington College. 

 The McDaniel loss and Dickinson win created a three-way tie with the Fords with all teams sporting a 10-10 conference record.  The Bears captured the tie breaker by virtue of a 3-1 combined record against the Green Terror and Red Devils.

Lydia Konstanzer led the Bears with 22 points, scoring 18 of them in the second half.  Aliyah Stephens added 15 while Rachel Guy chipped in nine.

Gettysburg made ten of its first 11 shots and jumped out to a 23-9 lead, forcing the Fords to play from behind.  The Bears scored the last seven points of the first quarter and used an 11-4 run to open the second as they closed within four 27-23 before  Gettysburg pulled away at the half to lead 40-31.

Ursinus was never able to get closer than eight the rest of the way.  

The Bears will play fourth seed Johns Hopkins on the road Tuesday in the first round of the Centennial Conference playoffs with the winner traveling to top seed Gettysburg on Friday for the semi-finals

Third seed Haverford will play at Muhlenberg on Friday in the other semi final game.


USciences Clinches Second Straight CACC South Title

Moving into the Division II ranks, The University of the Sciences clinched their second straight Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) South Division title with a 71-50 win at Nyack College, coupled with a 69-59 loss by Jefferson at CACC North leader Caldwell University

The Devils, ranked #12 in the D2SIDA media poll and #18 in the WBCA coaches poll, extended their winning streak to a program record 18 games while improving to 25-2 overall and 17-1 in league play, their best mark since the league went to a 19-game conference schedule in 2009-10. 

 Their 18-game winning streak is tied for the third longest streak in the country.

Sarah Abbonizio and Alex Thomas led the Devils with 15 points apiece as both players moved up on the USciences’ all time scoring list.  

Thomas moved into 11th place with 1,228 career points and needs just two more points to move into the top ten, passing 2011 CACC Player of the Year Caitlin Shaw’s 1,229.

 Abbonizio moved into 13thplace with 1,189 career points passing former graduate assistant and All-CACC guard Jessica Sylvester’s 1,181.

USciences led throughout except for a 90 second span in the first quarter when the game was tied at 6-6.  The Devils extended their lead to double digits by halftime 29-19 and would extend the lead as the second half progressed.  A 23-14 fourth quarter put the game out of reach.

The Devils have one more game remaining on the regular season schedule, a Saturday contest at Chestnut Hill College.  In December the Griffins handed the Devils their only CACC loss of the season.

Jefferson and Chestnut Hill Battle for Seeding…and a Home Playoff Game

Jefferson and Chestnut Hill are still battling for the #2 seed in the CACC South as both teams have two conference games left. 

 The #2 seed will host a home playoff game on February 27 while the #3 seed travels to the #2 seed in the north (currently Bloomfield College).  The Rams play Goldey-Beacom on Wednesday and Holy Family on Saturday.  The Griffins play Holy Family on Wednesday before their highly anticipated rematch with the Devils on Saturday.

The Rams (#7 NCAA East Region poll) led 24-14 over Caldwell (#5 NCAA East Region poll) after one quarter but the Cougars slowly whittled away the deficit, cutting the lead to four at the break, 36-32.  

Caldwell opened the third quarter with a 7-1 flourish to take a 39-37 lead, extending the margin to six by the end of the period, 50-44.  The Rams closed within two 50-48 early in the fourth quarter but a 10-2 run by the Cougars put the Rams in a ten-point hole 60-50 with 4:36 to go.   Jefferson got as close as five but the Cougars scored the final five points of the game.

Jessica Kaminski led the Rams with 16 points.

Chestnut Hill, meanwhile broke the century mark with a 103-66 win over Felician College to improve to 13-4 in league play and 17-9 overall.  The Griffins 17 wins are the most by the program since joining the NCAA Division II ranks.

Five players reached double figures for the Griffins led by Shannon Glenn’s20 points.  Vicky Tumasz added 17 while Cassie Sebold and Rachael Millan both scored 16 coming off the bench.  Jaeda Wildgoose chipped in 12 points.

Glenn’s three-pointer just 1:03 into the game gave the Griffins an n early lead and they never looked back, outscoring the Golden Falcons 34-10 in the opening quarter and outscored Felician in each quarter thereafter to cruise to the victory.


Holy Family Locks down a Playoff Spot

Holy Family meanwhile is locked into the #4 seed in the CACC South and will travel to the top seed in the North division for their first round playoff game.

The Tigers came up short at Concordia College on Saturday, falling 72-65.  The loss drops their record to 10-15 overall and 9-8 in league play.

Casey Schweitzer led the Tigers with 16 points while Alexis Hoefstaedter added 14.  Casey Thomas chipped in 11 points.

West Chester Wins Key PSAC East Contest

Over in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), the top two teams in the PSAC East squared off as East Stroudsburg hosted West Chester University on Saturday.  The two teams battled back and forth the entire game before the Golden Rams held off a late run by the Warriors and hung on for the 83-81 win.

The win extends WCU’s winning streak to 16 games as they improve to 21-4 and 18-3 in PSAC contests.  The Golden Rams will be the top seed in the PSAC East come playoff time.

Porscha Speller netted 25 points in the win while Mia Hopkins recorded her tenth double-double of the season with 18 points and ten rebounds.  Lexi Bruno added 15 points.

ESU jumped out to a 24-11 lead in the opening quarter and led 37-30 at the break.  The Golden Rams battled back in the third quarter to take a slim lead on two occasions before heading into the final period tied at 56-56.

An 11-3 run by the Golden Rams to open the fourth quarter gave WCU an eight point lead.  

The Golden Rams still led by eight 77-69 with 2:33 left when the warriors mounted an 11-4 run to close within one at 81-80 in the final minute. 

 Bruno’s two free throws with 12 seconds left made the score 83-80beofre the Warriors picked up a point on a free throw with two seconds left to provide the final margin of two.


Lincoln Drops a Pair...Finishes Regular Season on Road

Lincoln over in the CIAA has dropped two straight, losing a non conference tilt to Bloomfield College 66-64 and a road game against the top CIAA team in the league and in the region, Virginia Union, falling 85-78 to the Panthers on Saturday.

The Lions are 15-9 overall and 9-5 in league play with two more contest left – on the road at Chowan University and Virginia State University.  Lincoln is currently sitting in the #4 seed position in the CIAA north.

Michelle Fitzgerald led the Lions with 16 points and nine rebounds.  Shecquan Bailey added 13 points while DeeDee Irwin chipped in ten in the loss to Bloomfield.

Against Union, Teira Pendleton scored 25 points while Ashley Paynes-Hightower knocked down a career high 14 points.  Shahra Madison had nine points and ten rebounds.


Season Finales for All Four MAC Squads

Finally in the Division III Mid-Atlantic Commonwealth conference, both area teams won their season finale as Arcadia University defeated Hood College 49-45 and Widener University defeated Alvernia 58-53.  Both teams were eliminated from playoff contention last week.

Madison Ireland led Widener (12-13, 6-10 MAC) with 20 points in the win.  Allison Gallagher chipped in 12.

Taylor Dunn and Camille Menns both recorded double-doubles in the Knights’ win over Hood.  

Dunn had 12 points and 12 rebounds while Menns had 11 points and ten boards.  Arcadia finished the season with an 11-14 overall record and a 6-10 league mark.

In The MAC Freedom, both area teams also concluded their season on Saturday as Eastern University recorded an 81-68 win over Wilkes University and Delaware Valley University fell to DeSales 75-45.

Taylor Price led the Eagles (6-19, 3-11 MACF) with 20 points and 13 rebounds in her final game in an Eastern uniform.  Amanda Riiff added 15 points while Regie Robinson chipped in 13.  Riiff had three three-pointers on the day finishing her career with 160, third most in program history.

Danielle Skedzielewski was the lone Aggies player to reach double figures in the loss to DeSales with 22 points.  DelVal finishes the season with a 7-18 overall mark and 4-10 league record.  The Aggies will return their entire roster for next season.


Special playoff reports will be forthcoming as playoffs are now underway in the D-III conferences and the D-II’s will start next week.  Stay tuned……