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.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Guru Report: Saint Joseph’s Wins at the Finish While Rutgers Rights Itself at Wisconsin

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Just four games were on the local D-1 schedule, but three of the Guru locals posted wins and Temple almost rallied all the way to make it a sweep on Wednesday night.

Starting off with Saint Joseph’s, which is beginning to gain traction and play like the Hawks did when they started the season 5-0, Chelsea Woods’ layup with five seconds left in regulation gave the visitors a 64-62 win over host Davidson in an Atlantic 10 game at Belk Arena in North Carolina that completed a 2-0 road sweep after Sunday’s stunning upset of Duquesne in Pittsburgh.

At one point, it didn’t seem Woods’ heroics would be needed with Saint Joseph’s (13-12, 8-5 Atlantic 10) holding a 12-point lead in the second half, but that margin got erased by Davidson and it was tied 62-62 with less than a minute left and the Wildcats had possession.

But Hawks junior Kristalyn Baisden forced a tie-up with 34 seconds remaining in regulation and Saint Joseph’s regained control of its night. Following a timeout, the Hawks chewed up some clock seconds, then got the ball to Woods on the left baseline and she drove through the paint in traffic to connect with the winning basket.

Woods had a game-high 17 points and grabbed six rebounds while dealing two assists. Amanda Fioravanti added 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Adashia Franklyn had 12 points and eight rebounds.

Justine Lyon, who after Woods’ basket, attempted to force overtime but the ball was off the rim. She finished with 18 points.

Saint Joseph’s appears to have gained a home game in the opening round of the A-10 tournament later this month since they have but three games remaining and hold a tie-break with Davidson (10-16, 5-8)  after the win.

The Hawks head home for Saturday’s senior day at Hagan Arena at 1 p.m. hosting La Salle and going for a serie sweep after earlier beating the Explorers at Tom Gola Arena in a matchup that also counted in the final Big 5 standings.

Rutgers Rallies at Wisconsin

After coming up mostly empty through the toughest stretch on the Big 10 schedule, Rutgers took advantage of an easier outing, though it took until the second half when the Scarlet Knights broke free for a 63-50 victory over Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in Madison.

The win by the Scarlet Knights (19-9, 7-7 Big Ten) put them back on a positive path toward the NCAA tournament and now they have a week off before hosting Iowa in a big game next Wednesday at 7 p.m. on senior night. They then will finish out the regular season on the road at Northwestern in Evanston, Ill.

Tyler Scaife did the heavy lifting as she has had to do most of the season, scoring a game-high 25 points against the Badgers (9-18, 2-12) while Stasha Carey had 12 points and former Saint Joseph’s player Kathleen Fitzpatrick came off the bench to score a season-high nine points.

Marsha Howard had 12 points for Wisconsin.

The stalled countdown to Hall of Fame Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer’s 1000th career victory, including previous stops at Cheyney and Iowa, got moving again and with a mark of 996-399 she is four away.

That would target the second game of the Big Ten tournament if Rutgers wins the rest of the way.

Scaife now has 2,154 career points and needs 58 to move into second past WNBA veteran star Cappie Pondexter, who earlier Wednesday was announced as a free-agent signee with the Los Angeles Sparks.

She had been in her native Chicago with the Sky and previously played on the New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury, where she won a pair of championships.

Sue Wicks, a retired WNBA star who played for New York, her hometown, is the all-time Rutgers leader. Scaife is the third of only three Scarlet Knights to score over 2,000 career points.

Penn State rallies over Northwestern

Down 13 points with a minute left in the third period, Penn State caught fire at home in the Bryce Jordan Center in State College and moved to a 67-59 victory by outscoring the Wildcats 35-14 the rest of the way in a Big Ten game.

The win brought the Lady Lions to 15-12 overall and 6-8 in the conference while Northwestern fell to 9-18 and 2-11.

It was the 13th straight win over Northwestern in the series, the longest of any in the 26 seasons of Big Ten membership by Penn State, whose last loss to the Wildcats was in 2008, a decade ago.

Teniya Page had a game-high 22 points for the Lady Lions while Amari Carter had 17 points.

Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Northwestern.

Temple Rally Dies at Wichita State

The Owls, on their first trip to new American Athletic Conference member Wichita State in Kansas, ran into a Shockers team that apparently quickly got over the loss and 124 points it gave up to top-ranked Connecticut on the road last Saturday.

Temple outscored the home team by seven in the final two quarters but the points weren’t enough to snap the current losing streak as the Owls lost 88-81 and fell to 10-15 overall and 2-10 in The American.

Those fans who plan to attend the conference tournament at the usual Mohegan Sun near New London, Conn., next month will get no hotel saver this year with the Owls doomed to play the first day of action.

On the other hand, well, never mind. And never mind, but we must for the record, note the next stop on the road is Sunday at 2 p.m. against Connecticut, but it is early and in a small mileage server, the game is in Hartford at the XL Center and for those who would like a bigger mileage saver, the game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

Though the comment will have no effect on Sunday’s differential, UConn coach Geno Auriemma, in discussing the conference after his unbeaten Huskies handled then-No. 4 Louisville, mentioned that Temple would be a much different team had the injuries to key roster players not occurred.

As for the game Wednesday in the Midwest, Tanaya Atkinson scored 22 points while freshman Emani Mayo scored 15 points and graduate player Mykia Jones also scored 15 for a career high and freshman Mia Davis scored 13.

Temple chopped a 16-point deficit to three before Wichita State (11-16, 6-7) applied the brakes and gained the victory.

There are no D-1 Guru locals on Thursday’s schedule but there will be a report of sorts 24 hours from now to look ahead.

And that’s all there is for this report.


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