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 27, 2018

Bob Heller’s Philly WBB Small College Report: The D-3 Edition With Conference Tourneys

By Bob Heller (@Bob_Heller1)

Three conference championships, four area school participating. 

This combination made for an exciting Championship weekend for the Philadelphia Area Division III schools as conference championships were decided in the Colonial State Athletic Conference (CSAC); Centennial conference; and the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).

We will start with the CSAC Championship on Saturday, featuring the top two teams in the CSAC South Division - Cabrini University and Neumann University.

Cabrini Captures CSAC Title with win over Neumann

The Cabrini women’s basketball team claimed their fifth CSAC title in the last six years, defeating Neumann, 71-64 and thus earning their tenth NCAA Tournament bid in program history.

Sabrina Hackendorn led the Cav with 17 points and was named the MVP of the game.  

Megan Matthews had 15 points and 12 rebounds while Lexi Edwards and Nomi Washington tallied 12 points apiece.  Kate Lannon chipped in ten.

Nafisa Saunders led the Knights with 28 points while Minika Glenn chipped in 19 points and ten rebounds.

Neither team would get much of an advantage on the other throughout the first quarter with the blue-and-white holding an 11-9 lead at the end of the period.   The Cavs ripped off a 15-5 run to take a double digit lead 26-14 before the Knights closed out the half with five straight points to pull within nine, 31-22 at the break.

The Knights came out strong in the third quarter, outscoring the Cavaliers 28-18 and recaptured the lead 40-39 heading into the final stanza.  Neumann used a 12-2 run to close out the quarter.  Saunders had six of the 12 points during the run.

The Knights extended their lead to four 53-49 in the opening minute of the quarter but the Cavaliers charged back with an 8-0 run to lead 57-53 at the 7:26 mark. 

 Neumann would cut the Cabrini lead down to two but that would be as close as they would get with Cabrini making three of four from the line in the final 32 seconds to seal the win.

The Cavaliers are now 25-2 overall and have won 23 straight.  Neumann is 20-8 but did not receive an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Neumann and Cabrini win Semi-Final Games to Reach Championship

Neumann reached the championship game with a 73-64 win over #2 seed Gwynedd Mercy University on Wednesday in Gwynedd Valley, Pa.

Saunders netted 27 points to lead the Knights while Shauntel Williams added 15 points. Kristen Denoncour grabbed 10 rebounds and netted nine points.

Susan Bossler led four players in double figures for the Griffins, scoring 17 points while also grabbing 12 rebounds.  Bianca Adams added 14 points while Julianna Hoisington chipped in 11.  Chyanne Fine rounded out the double figures scorers with ten points.

The Griffins held a slim 15-12 lead after one period before the Knights exploded for a 24-7 second quarter to take a 36-22 lead at the break.  

Glenn’s layup at the 6:33 mark gave the Knights the lead and triggered a 12-0 run to put Neumann in control.

Gwynedd Mercy clawed their way back into the game and a minute before the end of the third quarter tied the score at 45. A jumper by Neumann’s Lauren Legler before the buzzer gave the Knights a 49-47 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Knights opened the final quarter on an 8-2 run for a 57-49 advantage. 

With less than two minutes left in regulation, the difference was just three points, 64-61 Neumann. 

Back-to-back baskets by Williams and Saunders put the Knights back up by seven. The Griffins hit a three-pointer with 36 seconds on the clock, but Saunders responded right back with a layup. Saunders went 3-for-4 from the line in the final 10 seconds to seal the win and sent Neumann to the Championship game.

Cabrini meanwhile needed a strong fourth quarter to overtake Marywood University and advance to the championship game with a 76-66 win over the Pacers.

Washington recorded a game high 23 points and five steals to lead the Cavs, while Matthews finished with 17 points, seven boards and two steals.

Erika Bistran led Marywood with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

The Pacers took the early lead and secured a 19-15 advantage after one period of play.  Marywood forged ahead 27-18 until the Cavs responded with an 11-1 run to end the half and take a slim 29-28 lead with Matthews making two straight buckets to end the quarter.

The two teams swapped baskets for much of the third quarter until the Pacers ran off an 8-2 flourish to close out the half and take a 57-49 lead into the final stanza.  

Cabrini clawed their way back into the game as the fourth quarter went on with Matthews‘ two free throws knotting the score at 63-63.

  Cabrini then ran off eight straight points to cap a 21-6 flourish and take a 71-63 lead with a minute to play. The Cavs hit 7-of-8 free throw attempts inside the final minute, and 16-of-18 in the fourth quarter overall to cap the 76-66 comeback.

Haverford Falls to Gettysburg in Centennial Title Game

Over in the Centennial Conference, Haverford College reached the championship game against top seed Gettysburg College on Saturday. 

 Both teams battled through the hard fought contest and when the dust settled Gettysburg claimed their second conference title with a 44-35 win.

Sierra Berkel led the Fords with 11 points and seven rebounds. Samantha Wetzel posted five points, seven boards, and four blocks, while Macy Goldbach chipped in eight points. 

With her four-block effort on Saturday night, Wetzel passed Heidi Snyder of McDaniel for the Centennial Conference all-time career blocks record with 272 career rejections.

Tournament MVP Emily Gibbons led Gettysburg with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Gibbons staked Gettysburg to an early lead scoring the first nine points of the game before Haverford came back with an 8-3 run to close within four at 12-8. 

 Gettysburg finished the quarter scoring five of the last eight points to lead by six, 17-11.

Baskets by Goldbach and Berkel opened the second quarter and brought the Fords within two 17-15.  Gettysburg countered with a 7-0 run to push their lead to nine at 24-15 before settling in for the 25-18 lead at the break.

The Fords shaved three points off the lead in the third quarter, outscoring Gettysburg 11-8 to trail 33-29 after three periods. 

Haverford’s defense held Gettysburg to just two points over the first five minutes of the final quarter while their offense rallied to tie the game at 35-35 with Goldbach hitting the game tying three-pointer at the 5:06 mark.

Following several scoreless possessions by both teams, Ashley Gehrin hit a three-pointer for a 38-35 lead for Gettysburg with 2:04 to go. 

A Haverford turnover gave Kendra Meredith a layup for a 40-35 lead, forcing the Fords to foul to keep pace offensively. Meredith hit four free throws down the stretch to seal the title for Gettysburg.

The Fords, at 21-6, did get at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Haverford Upsets Muhlenberg to Reach Championship Game

Earlier in the week, the Fords knocked off defending champion and nationally ranked Muhlenberg College 60-47 to reach the title game.

Wetzel turned in a spectacular performance, notching her 11th double-double of the season with 21 points and ten rebounds.  

Included amongst her 21 points was the 1,000th point of her career, coming on a layup with 7:16 to go in the game.  

She becomes the eighth player in program history to reach the 1,000 point plateau, joining teammate Berkel who reached earlier this season.  Berkel also recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

\Haverford took control early, jumping out to an 8-0 lead en route to a 20-9 first quarter advantage.  Muhlenberg pulled within six in the second quarter before the Fords again pushed the lead to double digits, taking a 34-20 lead with 2:34 left in the quarter.  

 Muhlenberg finished the quarter with an 8-4 run to close within eight 36-28 at the break.

Neither team produced much offense in the third quarter with the fords maintaining their eight point lead 43-35 heading into the final ten minutes of action.   Wetzel’s 1,000th point layup gave the Fords a double-digit lead at 49-39. 

 Two free throws from Goldbach pushed the lead to 54-41 with 2:18 left.  

Muhlenberg would come no closer than nine points the rest of the way as Haverford would advance with the 60-47 win.  

Ursinus Falls in Playoff Opener

Ursinus College meanwhile dropped their first round game to Johns Hopkins, 62-56.

Lydia Konstanzer led the way for the Bears with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Aliyah Stephens added 14 points.

Ursinus scored the first nine points of the game and led 24-20 at the end of the opening quarter.   Hopkins closed within two at the break 37-35.

The fifth seeded Bears opened up an eight point lead in the third quarter, 48-40 on a Stephen’s layup with just 2:28 to go in the third quarter before the Bears offense went cold.

\Hopkins went on a 9-0 run to take the lead back early in the fourth quarter before Konstanzer ended the Bears’ scoring draught with a layup with 6:03 left to give her team a 50-49 lead.

  A 9-2 run by the Blue Jays put Hopkins ahead to stay at 58-52 with 2:35 left in the game.

Ursinus finished the season at 13-13.

Montclair State Wins Sixth Straight NJAC Title with Victory over TCNJ

In New Jersey, the NJAC Championship on Friday night featured the top two teams in the league during the regular season, Montclair State University and The College of New Jersey. 

  Montclair claimed its sixth consecutive title with a 58-51 win over the Lions.

NJAC Player of the Year Katie Sire led the Red Hawks with 25 points and 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Shannon Devitt, the NJAC Rookie of the Year also recorded a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds to pace the Lions.  Jen Byrne added 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Byrne scored the first basket of the game to give the Lions the early lead before the Red hawks countered with a 12-3 flourish to take a 12-5 lead.  TCNJ scored five of the final seven points of the period to trail 14-10 at the end of the quarter.

The Red Hawks pushed the lead as high as eight in the second quarter with the Lions remaining close behind, cutting the deficit to three on several occasions before a Red Hawk free throw in the waning seconds made it a four-point game at the break 28-24.

Devitt’s layup with 20 seconds to go in the third tied the score at 42-42. 

Samantha Famulare later tied the score again at 49-49 with 5:05 left in the game with a pair of free throws.  The Red Hawks however closed the game out with a 9-2 run to take home the title.

TCNJ at 21-6 was happy by Monday, however, earning an at-large bid.

Penn State Abington Falls in NEAC Semi-Final

Penn State Abington meanwhile reached the Northeast Athletic Conference (NEAC) semi- finals with an upset win over top seed Lancaster Bible College 67-54 before bowing out to SUNY Poly in the semi-final on Saturday 58-56.

In the semi-final contest, senior Symantha Marrero had a big day in her final game for Abington, scoring 21 points while Shayna Rodriguez added 18.   Grace Dewey pulled down 17 rebounds.

Seven ties and 12 lead changes highlighted the game, with neither team pulling away from the other for much of the first half.  

 The Nittany Lions did put some distance between themselves and the Wildcats as the second quarter wound down, using a 11-2 spurt to close out the quarter and take a 36-28 lead at the break.

Marrero’s three-ball early in the third gave the Nittany Lions their biggest lead of the game at 41-30 before the Wildcats clawed their way back with a 13-4 flourish the cut Abington’s lead to two 45-43 entering the final period.

The Wildcats scored the first ten points of the fourth quarter to take a 53-45 lead before Rodriguez broke the drought with a basket at the 5:07 mark, triggering a 9-0 Nittany Lion run to reclaim the lead at 54-53 with 2:36 left. 

 The lead changed hands three times in the final minutes with Paige Gallo’s basket  with 23 seconds left giving the Wildcats a 57-56 lead. SUNY Polytechnic added a free throw to go up by two as Abington had one last shot to tie or win. 

 Rodriguez’s shot however was off the mark as the Wildcats hung on to win.

The Nittany Lions finish the season at 14-12.

Next Up:  Who is playing where in the NCAA Division III Tournament along with a Division II regular season  wrap and playoff preview.


Post a Comment

<< Home