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.

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Guru Report: Marquette Second Period Explosion Keys Golden Eagles’ Romp at Villanova

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

VILLANOVA — One thing that has not changed much in the current Big East era from the original women’s glory days of yesteryear — a a few dominant leaders at the top.

That’s how it went with No. 15 Marquette in the area Friday morning in which a school-day screaming crowd of 1,401 in Finneran Pavilion did not add anything of a home-court advantage as the Golden Eagles accelerated from a competitive first quarter to a 24-0 explosive run in the next and on to a 91-55 victory over Villanova to stay perfect in the conference.

Nor was much of a break provided either by the visitors with Allazia Blockton missing a third straight game with an injury.

All five starters for Marquette (13-3, 4-0 Big East) scored in double figures led by Natisha Hiedeman, who scored 24 points, while Danielle King scored 17, Erika Davenport scored 16 and completed a double double with 11 rebounds, and Amani Wilborn and Selena Lott scored 13 points each.

“They’ve grown up,” said coach Carolyn Kieger. “They come over to me during the game and say, `We’d like to run this or run that,’ and I say, ‘sure, go ahead.’”

In the first period, the Wildcats (10-5, 2-3) gave what became false impressions that it might be an intriguing event, staying with the opposition all ten minutes and trailing just by a mere basket 21-19 heading into the next stanza.

Then boom it was over just like that.

“Talent, experience, you have all that, you’re pretty good,” said Villanova coach Harry Perretta. “I think they’re a cut above everybody in the Big East. 

“The problem with us, is we make a lot of fundamental mistakes. You make fundamental mistakes or turnovers against them and they turn them into points in four or five seconds and they’re extremely talented.”

Marquette had a lopsided 19-6 advantage in points off turnovers and a total wipeout 31-0 on scoring points on a fast break.

Mary Gedaka had 14 points and Kelly Jekot 13 for Villanova, which connected on just a trio of three pointers out of its prime offensive weaponry. Brianna Herlihy came off the bench for a career-high 10 points. 

“They can make shots over your head,” Perretta said of Marquette. “They can do a lot of different things. We’re just not the same team we were last year,” Perretta compared to the edition that made it to the second round of the NCAA before losing to eventual champion Notre Dame.

“We lost to them twice last year, but we were somewhat in the game. Now, we more inexperienced players having to play, we’re not as physical, we lost Alex Louin, so it’s just hard.”

And Friday was just the opening of a rugged stretch that continues Sunday afternoon when DePaul visits.

“That’s why I made sure the starters didn’t play 47 minutes. Sometimes you have to know when a game is over, it’s over. And Wednesday we play Penn at Penn.”

That game is ‘Nova’s last non-conference game and a win gives the ‘Cats the Big Five outright otherwise they will share with the Quakers again at best unless Penn beats Temple at home the following Wednesday which would earn a first-ever outright Big Five for the program.

Back in the Big East surprising Butler, is also unbeaten in the Big East, while DePaul is in the mix with Villanova and several other teams.

“I still think DePaul may be second best, but I picked Butler, Creighton and Providence as my darkhorse teams. You go after No. 2, anybody can win. Anybody all the way through ten,” Perretta said.

The Villanova game was the only one on the entire Guru local D-1 card Friday while on Saturday Temple visits Houston in the American Athletic Association and Penn State hosts Illinois in the Big Ten.

On Sunday, though the slate is pretty full. Besides the ‘Nova game, in the Atlantic 10, St. Bonaventure visits Saint Joseph’s  while Massachusetts visits La Salle at 2 p.m.

Drexel and Delaware meet head on in their first of their home-and-home regional Colonial Athletic Association rivalry down in Newark at the Blue Hen’s Bob Carpenter Center at 2 p.m.

Rider, off to a 2-0 conference start, hosts Siena at 2 p.m. in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game at the Broncs’ Alumni Gym in Lawrenceville, N.J.

And high-flying Rutgers, still unbeaten in the Big Ten with Maryland among the early victims list, visits Nebraska at 3 p.m.




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