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.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Guru Report: Penn and Princeton Jump Over Harvard Into First Place Ivy Deadlock

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — Penn and Princeton are back in first in the Ivies after Friday night’s victories one away from another potential head-to-head tiebreaker for first in the Ivy League.

Here at The Palestra Penn continued to roll, beating Dartmouth 65-47 while a little to the north Princeton knocked Harvard off the top of the Ivy standings with an 80-47 win at the Tigers’ Jadwin Gym to put the Crimson a half game behind the locals here.

On Saturday night, Penn will take its whack at Harvard here at 7 p.m. while Dartmouth, fighting for one of the four spots in the second annual Ivy tourney, visits Princeton at 5 p.m.

Elsewhere Drexel fell out of its first-place tie with James Madison in the Colonial Athletic Association as the Dragons’ eight-game win streak came to an end at Elon 70-58 while JMU topped Northeastern 72-43.

Delaware, fighting for third in the CAA, edged William & Mary 68-59 at home in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

In the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, in an effort to make some headway in the logjam behind Quinnipiac, unbeaten in the MAAC, and Marist, the first part of an attempted weekend home sweep for Rider was successful in Alumni Gym with a 62-52 triumph over St. Peters in Lawrenceville, N.J.

Earlier in the day, in a game that is filed separately by the Guru because of its early start, Villanova rallied to beat St. John’s 69-52 in the Big East at home in Jake Nevin Field House.

Penn and Princeton Gain Ivy Tie

In the game here, the two-time defending Ivy champions handled Dartmouth despite the flu bug running through the Quakers (14-5, 5-1 Ivy) with a show of depth and solid defense in which Penn did not allow any of the Big Green (12-8, 4-3) to score in double figures.

Ashley Russell jumped into the spotlight with a game-high 14 points while she grabbed seven rebounds. Eleah Parker, the freshman sensation, had 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals, while Princess Aghayere had 10 points off the bench and Anna Ross added to her program record total of career assists with six more.

Michelle Nwokedi had six points and six rebounds while blocking three shots.

Annie McKenna had nine points and  Kate Letkewicz scored eight for Dartmouth.

“Offensively, we weren’t in a flow the way we’ve been but the rebounding allowed us to have extra possessions,” said Penn coach Mike McLaughlin. He also credited the Penn depth with spreading the ball and getting some players rest before Harvard comes through Saturday.

The Crimson (13-7, 5-2) will arrive from a pounding from Princeton (15-4, 4-2), which allowed Penn last week to equal the Tigers’ Ivy record by falling at Yale after returning from their annual three-week break due to exams.

In Friday’s game at Jadwin, Princeton held Harvard to the Crimson’s lowest scoring total of the season after they had reached 80 or more points in four straight games.

Princeton’s Gabrielle Rush had a career-high 19 points shooting 6-of-9 from the field and knocking down four 3-pointers. Carlie Littlefield also nailed four from beyond the arc on the way to a career best 18 points.

Leslie Robinson was not far off the mark of a triple double with six points, 12 rebounds, and a career-high eight assists. Bella Alarie, just a sophomore, claimed her 100th career block, which is eighth all-time on the category chart for the program.

Madeline Raster had 13 points for Harvard.

Drexel Streak Ends

Following an upset loss last week, James Madison’s unbeaten string in CAA play was ended and Drexel moved into a tie for the top.

Now the Dukes are back on top alone after beating visiting Northeastern while Drexel was handled in North Carolina 70-58 by defending CAA tourney champs Elon (16-7, 8-4 CAA), who last month fell to a rally in the fourth quarter by the Dragons (18-6, 10-2).

Lexi Mercer had a career-high 14 points, shooting 5-for-8 from the floor, for the host Phoenix while Malaya Johnson had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Shay Burnett grabbed 10 rebounds and Jada Graves had 15 points, shooting 5-of-8 from the floor.

Aubree Brown had 14 points for Drexel and Ana Ferariu scored 10.

Drexel stays on the road to go to UNCW in Wilmington, N.C., on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Delaware topped William & Mary 68-59 as Nicole Enabosi had 17 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and blocked three shots, including her 100th for the Blue Hens (14-8, 7-4 CAA).

Rebecca Lawrence had a career-high 12 points, shooting 6-for-11 from the floor, while Samone DeFreese collected 10 points and six rebounds.

Abby Rendle had 18 points, eight rebounds, and six blocks for William & Mary (15-8, 6-6).

The win was Delaware’s 200th in the CAA. The Blue Hens stay home Sunday to host Hofstra at 2 p.m.

The standings at this hour in terms of records at the top of the CAA, whose tourney is at Drexel next month, are James Madison (11-1), Drexel (10-2), Elon (8-4), Delaware (7-4), Northeastern (7-5), and William & Mary (6-6).

Rider Tops St. Peter’s

The Broncs won their sixth straight against the Peacocks, finishing 62-52, for a sweep of their MAAC rival as Stella Johnson scored 15 points, shooting 4-for-6 from the floor, while Kamila Hoskova and Lexi Stover each scored 13 for Rider (10-14, 7-6 MAAC) and Lea Favre had nine points and 11 rebounds.

St. Peter’s fell to 4-21 overall and 10-13 in the MAAC.

On Sunday Rider closes out its brief homestand hosting Iona at 1 p.m.

The MAAC standings from the top through Rider show Quinnipiac (14-0), Marist (11-2), Siena (8-5), Fairfield (7-5), Rider (7-6), Manhattan (6-6).

Looking Ahead Briefly

Saturday’s action has the two Ivy games already spoken to while Temple hosts UCF at 2 p.m. for an American Athletic Conference game in McGonigle Hall.

In the Atlantic 10, Saint Joseph’s is in Pittsburgh visiting Duquesne at 2:30 p.m. while La Salle will host Richmond at 1 p.m. at the Tom Gola Arena at TruMark Financial Center.

And that’s the report.


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