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, March 06, 2018

Bob Heller's Philly WBB Small College Report: The D3 Edition

By Bob Heller (@Bob_Heller1)
 Scranton ends Cabrini’s Season in NCAA Second Round
The Cabrini University women’s basketball team saw it best season in program history come to an end Saturday night with a 55-46 loss to Scranton University.
The Cavaliers finished their season with a program best 26-3 record, which included a 24 game winning streak.  Scranton improves to 28-1 on the season and advances to the DIII Sweet 16 to place #5 Bowdoin College.
Meghan Matthews paced the Cavalier offense with a team-high 14 points, including three 3-pointers, while chipping in five rebounds and four steals on the defensive end. Nomi Washington added nine points and five rebounds, while Cassidy Gallagher finished with eight points. 
Cabrini came out hot as Matthews and Washington opened the game with back-to-back triples for the early 6-0 advantage. The Royals quickly evened the score thanks to a pair of free throws and jumper and layup from Bridgette Mann and Emily Sheehan, respectively. Gallagher would answer for the Cavaliers as she drilled the Cavs' third 3-pointer of the quarter to retake the 9-6 lead. A layup from Gaby Jones preceded a tray from Kate Lannon as they Cavs would end the opening stanza with a 14-12 advantage. 

Lannon's three sparked a 12-2 run for Cabrini as they would hold their largest lead of the game, 21-12, with just over seven minutes left in the second quarter.  Scranton would slowly chip away at the Cavs' lead as they rattled off an 8-2 run in response to trim their deficit to just three points. The Cavaliers would hold onto the three point advantage heading into the half leading 25-22. 

Scranton came out of the halftime break and caught fire in the third quarter as they hit 6-of-9 from the field, while holding Cabrini to 3-of-14 from the field to steal the lead heading into the final quarter at 38-32.

A three-point basket on Scranton's first possession of the quarter pushed the Royals' lead to 41-32, but a pair of free throws and a deep trey from Matthews cut the Cavaliers' deficit to just four points with 7:14 remaining. This would be as close as the Cavs would get as Scranton would quickly push their lead back to nine points and coast to the eventual 55-46 win.
TCNJ Edged by RIT in NCAA Second Round

The area’s other Division III team in the tournament; The College of New Jersey also dropped their second round game, falling to Rochester Institute of Technology 79-76.
The Lions finished their season with a 22-7 record, their highest win total since the 2008-09 season.  This year’s NCAA Tournament appearance was also the Lions first since that 08-09 season.
Kate O’Leary led four TCNJ players in double figures with 15 points.  Shannon Devitt and Samantha Famulare had 14 points apiece while Jen Byrne chipped in 13.  Devitt led the team with 12 rebounds to post her 14th double-double of the season. Charlotte Schum dished out ten assists along with scoring eight points.
The first quarter featured five lead changes and two ties as both teams battled back and forth.,  O’Leary’s three-point field goal in the waning seconds of the quarter put the Lions on top 19-15 heading into the second quarter.
Nikki Schott opened the second quarter with a basket to boost TCNJ’s lead to six 21-15 before a 7-2 flourish by RIT closed the gap to one, 23-22 at the 6:58 mark.  The Lions then built up a double digit lead, outscoring the Tigers 21-10 the rest of the period to take a 44-32 lead at halftime.  Famulare started the run with a three-point field goal and the Lions finished with eight straight points, capped by O’Leary’s drive to the basket for a layup-and one in the final seconds, giving TCNJ the double-digit advantage at the break.
The Lions increased their lead to 16 (53-37) in the third quarter on a Famulare layup at the 5:30 mark when the Tigers began to chip away at the Lions lead.  RIT used a 13-1 run over the next 1:39 to close within four 54-50, using the long ball as one of their primary offensive tools (3-3 from 3pt. range).  TCNJ settled down and pushed the lead back up to eight by the end of the period, outscoring the tigers 9-5 to take a 63-55 advantage into the final quarter.
Schum’s three-ball in the opening minute of the fourth quarter gave TCNJ a nine point advantage 66-57 before RIT’s Jessica Glaz sank two straight from deep and Cori Okada added a layup for an 8-0 Tiger run to make the score 66-65.   Okada’s three-ball at the 4:07 mark tied the game at 68-68 and after a TCNJ turnover put the Tigers ahead 70-68 with 3:28 remaining.  Nicole Shatksy’s three-ball put the Tigers back on top 71-70 and the lead would change hands three more times with Okada’s three-point FG with 41 seconds left putting RIT back on top for good, 77-74.  Both teams would add a basket in the final seconds to make final score 79-76.
Okada led RIT with 25 points and six assists while Glaz added 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
TCNJ Wins First Round NCAA Tournament Game
In the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championships, The College of New Jersey defeated Hilbert College by a final score of 61-42.
Devitt led all players with 21 points and 15 rebounds.  On the defensive end, she added three blocked shots and two steals.  Lauren Barlow added 14 points.  Schum added eight assists and five steals.
A 15-2 run by the Lions broke a 19-19 second quarter tie and gave TCNJ momentum heading into the locker room at the break. Devitt scored 11 of the 15 points during the run, and capped her efforts with a traditional three-point play with seven seconds left to make the score 34-21 at halftime.
Devitt continued her strong play in the third quarter, hitting back-to-back layups to open the scoring and give the Lions a 41-21 lead.  Hilbert would come no closer than 14 points the rest of the way as the Lions maintained control.
TCNJ recorded 21 assists on their 26 baskets and outscored Hilbert 38-18 in the paint.
Cabrini Opens NCAA Tournament with a Win
Cabrini won their opening NCAA Division III tournament game for just the second time in program history as they defeated Brooklyn College 65-52.
The win was the Cavaliers first NCAA tournament win since defeating Moravian College 76-61 in 2014.  
Kate Lannon led the Cavs offense with 18 points, 13 of them in the second half.  Nomi Washington finished with 17 points, 13 of them in the first half. Meghan Matthews notched her sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The two teams produced little offense in the first quarter with neither team holding more than a three-point lead.  The score was tied at 10-10 after the first period.
Cabrini exploded with a 25-8 second quarter effort to take a 35-18 lead at halftime.  The Cavs defense held Brooklyn to just three field goals in the period while their offense produced runs of 10-0 and 10-2 over the ten minutes of action.
The Bulldogs cut the lead down to eight in the third quarter, 41-33 before the Cavs closed out the period with a 12-2 flourish to go back up by 15 53-35 heading into the final ten minutes of play.
Cassidy Gallagher’s three-point field goal to open the fourth quarter gave Cabrini their largest lead of the game 56-35.  The Bulldogs did make a run as the quarter progressed; cutting the lead to 11 points, 61-50 with 2:35 remaining but this would be as close as they would come as the Cavs allowed just one more Bulldog FG the rest of the way to finish the game with the 65-52 win.
Rutgers-Camden Ends Season with ECAC Tournament Loss
Rutgers-Camden earned a bid to the ECAC Division III Championship and traveled to Maryland to take on Stevenson University for their first round game.  The Mustangs used a 14-0 run in the first quarter to take control of the game and end the Scarlet Raptors season with a 68-51 win.
Rutgers-Camden finishes their season with a 14-12 mark.
Gabby Greene finished the game with 19 points to complete her stellar junior season.  Greene broke the programs all-time record for three-point field goals during the season and with her four against Stevenson, finished the year with 207 for her career.  Greene also has 951 career points and should be set to reach the 1,000-point plateau next season.
Michelle Obasi finished the game with ten points and concluded her collegiate career as the eighth all-time leading scorer in program history with 1,193. Ariel Robinson added eight points and Shane Holmes six.
A pair of three-pointers from Greene staked the Scarlet Raptors to an early 11-8 lead before Stevenson rattled off the next 14 points to take control of the game and lead 22-11.  Two free throws from Obasi with 16 seconds left broke the Mustang run and made the score 22-13 at the end of the period.
Stevenson increased their lead to 32-15 with 6:15 remaining in the second quarter before a 10-2 Rutgers-Camden run cut the deficit to 34-25. Five different Scarlet Raptors had two points apiece in that run.
The Mustangs built their lead to as high as 20 points in the third quarter, taking a 49-29 lead with 4:12left in the period before the Raptors started to chip away at the deficit, scoring the final nine points of the quarter to trail 49-38 heading into the final period. Greene’s three point field goal; in the fourth quarter closed the gap to eight, 59-51 but this would be as close as they would come as the Mustangs finished the game with a 9-0 run to seal the win.


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