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-2 Edition

By Bob Heller (@Bob_Heller1)

The regular season has come to an end in the Division II ranks as six of the area seven programs will move on to compete in their conference post-season championship tournament.

  Before those games commence, we’ll look back at last week’s regular season finales and get a quick glimpse of who will be playing who.

Chestnut Hill Snaps USciences Win Streak

The University of the Sciences, who clinched their second consecutive CACC South Division title a week ago, had their record setting 18-game winning streak snapped at the hands of Chestnut Hill College on Saturday, losing on the Griffins home court, 80-77.

The Griffins, who appear to have the Devils number, swept the season series with the win.  

The Devils will still have the number one overall seed for the upcoming CACC playoffs with a 17-2 conference mark and a 25-3 overall record. 

 They will host a quarterfinal playoff game against Felician College (#4 North) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

Chestnut Hill meanwhile will travel to face the #2 seed in the north Caldwell University on Wednesday as well. 

 Caldwell defeated the Griffins 80-68 in their only meeting this year.

Chestnut Hill led against USciences for nearly the entire game except for one possession where the Devils held a 10-9 advantage in the first quarter.  

The Griffins followed with seven straight points  and took a 21-15 lead at the end of the first quarter and increased their lead to 12, 46-34 by halftime.

The Griffins opened the third quarter with a 10-3 run to take their biggest lead at 56-37 before the Devils began to claw their way back into the game. 

 A 14-0 uprising by Sciences closed the gap to five 56-51 with 1:54 left in the quarter.  

Irisa Ye pulled the Devils within two 59-57 with a traditional three-point play with eight seconds left.  Jaeda Wildgoose added a layup with just two ticks on the clock to put the Griffins up four 61-57 heading into the final stanza.

A 10-3 flourish by the Griffins to open the fourth quarter again extended the Chestnut Hill lead to double figures 71-60 just three minutes in.  

The Devils scored ten straight points over the next two minutes to pull within one 71-70 following a Sarah Abbonizio layup with 5:02 left. 

 Baskets by Wildgoose and Mary Trossi upped the Griffins lead to five as the Devils struggled to remain close.  

Ye brought the Devils back within one basket, 76-74 with a layup with 1:04 left.  

Trossi added a basket and Cassie Sebold was then fouled and promptly made both free throws with 15 seconds left to give the Griffins and 80-74 lead.  

 Jess Huber made a three-pointer in the final seconds to round out the scoring.

Ye led the Devils with a career-high 18 points while Abbonizio chipped in 16.  Alex Thomas added 12 points and Huber ten to round out the Devils players in double figures.

Wildgoose led six Griffins on double figures with 23 points.  Trossi added 14 while Vicky Tumasz chipped in 13. 

 Cailey Gibson, Shannon Glenn and Sebold had 10 points apiece.   All six players saw at least 23 minutes of playing time on the floor with four of the six logging at least 34 minutes of action.

Jefferson Wins Regular Season Finale Over Holy Family

In the other CACC matchup between playoff bound teams,  Jefferson University  defeated Holy Family University 62-50 to finish the regular season with two straight wins and a 16-3 conference mark and 24-4 overall record.  

 Holy Family finishes the regular season with a 9-10 conference mark and a 10-17 overall record.

Jefferson will be the #2 seed in the south and will host #3 north Dominican College on Wednesday in the CACC quarterfinal round. 

 Holy Family, the #4 seed from the south will travel to play #1 north seed Bloomfield College on Wednesday.  Both games are at 7:00 p.m.

The Rams scored the first nine points before the Tigers got on the board via an Anjalai Hayes layup with 4:41 left.  

Jefferson pushed the lead to 17-9 by the end of the first quarter and 31-24 by halftime.

The Tigers roared back in the third quarter, taking a 36-35 lead with 2:34 left  following two straight three-pointers from Naiyana Sabb. 

  Caitlyn Cunningham countered with a three-ball to put the Rams back on top.  

Hayes tied the game at 38-38 with two free throws before Alynna Williams sank a three-pointer and Kaminski made two free throws to give the Rams a 43-40 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Rams outscored the Tigers 19-10 in the fourth quarter with Holy Family only coming as close as three in the final six minutes of the game.

Kaminski led three Ram players in double figures with 16 points.  Erin Maher and Rachel Day had ten points apiece.   Sabb was the lone Tiger to reach double figures with 13 points.

West Chester Extends Win Streak to 17 Games

West Chester University closed out their regular season schedule with their 17th straight win, a 79-65 decision over Shippensburg University.

The Golden Rams finish the regular season with a 19-3 record in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) games and a 22-4 mark overall.

  West Chester will be the #1 seed in the PSAC east and will host Kutztown, which knocked off Bloomsburg 73-60 at home Monday night. It was the Bears’ first playoff win in three seasons.

Kutztown has won a school-record 13 home games and the Bear’s overall 18 are their best since 2010.

The quarterfinal game will be at WCU’s Hollinger Field House on Wednesday, February 28 at 5:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, West Chester led Shippensburg wire-to-wire scoring the first nine points and opening up a 21-10 lead after one quarter. 

 The two teams exchanged baskets for much of the second quarter until the Rams produced a 9-2 run to close out the period and take a 42-26 lead at halftime.

The Raiders fought back in the third quarter, holding the Rams to just six points over the first seven minutes and cutting West chester’s lead to five 54-49 with a 23-12 effort in the period. 

 The Golden Rams opened the final quarter with a 12-4 flourish to extend the lead to double figures and never looked back settling in for the 14-point win.

Porscha Speller led four West Chester players in double figures with 18 points. Camden Boehner, Mia Hopkins and Lexi Bruno added 16 points apiece.

Lincoln Secures #3 seed for CIAA Tournament

Meanwhile in Virginia, Lincoln University entered their season finale against Virginia State tied with the Trojans and Chowan University for second place in the north division with a 5-4 division  mark.

  A win plus a Chowan loss would give the lions the #2 seed and a bye in the upcoming Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Tournament.   

A loss and Lincoln could finish as low as the #4 seed.  

Lincoln fought hard but the Trojans came away with a 64-56 win. 

 The loss placed the Lions in a three-way tie for the #3 seed with Chowan who lost to Virginia Union and Bowie State who defeated Elizabeth City State.

  All three teams finished with  5-5 division records.  Lincoln finished the regular season with a .16-10 mark.

Through conference tie-break procedures, the Lions earned the #3 seed by virtue of their 3-1 head-to-head record against the other two teams. 

 They will play Livingstone College (#6 seed in South) on Tuesday at 12:10 p.m. in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Lincoln’s Brianna Logan broke the school’s single season assist mark with four assists in the game, giving her 113 for the season.  She also holds the single game mark with 12 set earlier this season.

The Trojans scored the final five points of the first quarter after the Spencer three and pushed their lead to double digits 26-15 before settling in for a nine point lead at the half, 31-22.

Virginia State extended their lead to as high as 16 points late in the third quarter and Lincoln trailed 55-42 heading into the final stanza. 

 VSU led by 15 when the Lions started to surge, scoring nine straight points with Logan scoring six of the nine and close within six 59-53 with 2:23 left. 

 After a VSU basket, Logan added a traditional three-point play to pull the lions within five with just under a minute remaining.  

VSU's Aja Robertson made three of four free throws in the final 48 seconds to seal the win for the Trojans.

Logan finished the game with 11 points while Michelle Fitzgerald notched her eighth double-double of the season with 20 points and ten rebounds.
Cheyney Ends Season with a Loss

In Cheyney’s season finale, Briana Hedgepeth scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Wolves ended their season with a 63-55 loss to Mansfield University.

Cheyney finished the season with a 6-22 record and a 4-18 mark in PSAC games.

Mansfield used a 22-4 run over the first two quarters to erase an early 4-3 Cheyney lead and go up by 17 25-8 with 7:46 left to play in the second quarter and a 30-19 mark by halftime.

The Mountaineers led 42-30 heading to the fourth and 46-37 at the 8:19 mark, when the Wolves went on a 10-1 run and pull within a single point.

 Takayla Ellis and Hedgepeth made layups and Gianni Hill connected from downtown and then found Drazana Vulic for a basket to make it a 47-46 contest with 3:56 to play. 

 Two Mansfield baskets pushed the lead back to five before Hedgepeth again made it a one point game 54-53 at the 2:40 mark.  

Mansfield finished the game on a 9-2 run to secure the win.

Ellis finished the game with 13 points and Yasmine Dorrelan and Hill had ten points apiece.

CACC and PSAC Quarterfinal highlights will be out later in the week as the Division II Championship season commences.