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, March 14, 2019

CAA WBB Tourney: Academic Star Sets Scoring Marks in Hofstra Upset of Defending Champs

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

NEWARK, del. — Defending champion Elon, reduced after graduations of last season to the eighth seed in the Colonial Athletic Association women’s basketball tournament, nearly successfully outsmarted ninth-seeded Hofstra on the closing play of the first of an opening-round doubleheader Wednesday afternoon,  but it was a Pride player with all the smarts who ultimately was responsible for short-circuiting the Phoenix reign over the 10-team league to two seasons.

In a building known as the place where WNBA Washington Mystics professional Elena Delle Donne was a scoring demon for the University of Delaware here in the Bob Carpenter Center, Hofstra senior Boogie Brozoski accepted her conference individual award as the academic excellence honoree and then became the quiet one to be watched for the next 40 minutes as she eclipsed Delle Done’s facility record and pulverized a slew of others besides collecting her 1,000th career point in leading the Pride to a 77-75 victory and a spot in Thursday’s opening game at noon in the quarterfinals against top-seeded James Madison.

Brozoski finished with 42 points, shooting 13-for-42 from the field, including 4-of-9 three-pointers and also was a perfect 12-for-12 from the line. When the day began, she was 38 points away from reaching her 1,000th point plateu.

And besides dealing four assists, to show she can also play some defense, the native of Long Island, N.Y., who transferred home from Michigan, had four steals and a blocked shot.

In gaining her career high, she also broke a 15-year-old CAA tournament scoring record as well as a 30-year-old Hofstra record. The Delle Donne record of 41 here was seven years old set in January of 2012 against Hofstra.

Though Hofstra (10-21) lost twice to Elon 77-64 at home and last week 55-52 on the road, the Pride paced by Brozoski bolted to a 16-point lead midway through the second quarter. 

But ultimately as the Phoenix (9-21) then chipped away the rest of the game, every one of her total was needed in a game that ended with Emily Maupin’s attempted game-winning three-pointer bouncing off the rim as time expired.

There’s a bit of irony in that finish in that Elon’s coach is former North Carolina star Charlotte Smith, whose three-pointer downing Louisiana Tech in an NCAA title game was one of the all-time signature plays in the history of the women’s tournament until Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale’s two buzzer-beaters last April against Connecticut and Mississippi State gave the Irish their second crown and first since 2001.

“It was a battle and I knew it was going to be a battle to the end and nobody’s blowing anybody out in this tournament, so it was a great game,” said Hofstra veteran coach Krista Kilburn-Stevesky.
As for Brozoski’s motivation, she commented, “I enjoy playing basketball, I didn’t want to lose today, I din’t want my season to end today, so we live to fight another day.

“We’ll prepare for James Madison tomorrow, we’ll rest up tonight, and just rest hard and come out and compete tomorrow.”

Sica Cuzic had 10 points as the only other Hofstra player scoring in double figures while Jaylin Powell had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Phoenix, Maupin scored 14, and Kayla Liles and Ariel Colon each scored 11.

“I kind of don’t think too much how I’m going to play the game,” Brozoski said of any thoughts beforehand that she knew this might be an afternoon for the books. “I kind of just let it come to me and if it’s my day, it’s my day, if it’s Sica’s day, it’s Sica’s day, if it’s Ana’s (Hernandez Gill) day, it’s Ana’s day.

“But I had the fire, ‘coach was running sets for me, she saw I had the fire. It’s personally not about me anymore, it’s all my team. They trusted me. They put the ball in my hands, and I prevailed.”

Hofstra forced 21 turnovers and claimed 21 points, five more than Elon did from Hofstra’s miscues.

“Our main point was the be the aggressor and not back down from anything,” Krista-Kilburn said. “All I did today was have the foot on the gas pedal and they were just driving it.”

As for Brozoski’s day, the Hofstra coach said, “She was right. She had the fire and I kept running things for her and I was excited to see her have that success.”

Off the Hofstra postgame notes:

-Brozoski broke a 30-year-old Hofstra single-game scoring record, surpassing Marguerite Moran who scored 41 against Bucknell on February 9, 1989

-Brozoski set a new record for most points scored in a CAA Tournament game, surpassing George Mason's Jen Derevjanik who scored 40 against VCU on March 12, 2004

-Brozoski surpassed Elena Delle Donne's Bob Carpenter Center facility record of 41 points that the now WNBA star set against Hofstra on January 26, 2012

-Brozoski recorded her sixth-straight perfect effort from the free throw line, going 12-of-12 from the stripe following a program record 15-of-15 performance against William & Mary last week. 

Over the last five games, Brozoski has made 39 of her last 39 free throws and is 48-of-49 over the last eight games.

-Brozoski's 42 points set a career-high, besting her previous career best of 34 points set against Northeastern on January 27, 2019

-Hofstra snapped a seven-game losing skid against the Phoenix and now trails the all-time series, 9-3

William & Mary Tops Charleston to Advance Against Drexel

In the second game, seventh-seeded William & Mary rolled over 10th-seeded Charleston 61-41.

Bianca Boggs had 23 points and 10 rebounds for a double double as the Tribe (15-15) got back to .500 on the season. Victoria Reynolds added 11 points.

Deja Ford was the lone Charleston player in double figures, scoring 16 points, as the Cougars (7-23) ended their season.

William & Mary took a 12-point halftime lead and broke the game open in the third with a 20-10 advantage, though Charleston outscored the Tribe 12-10 in the final stanza.

“If you look at our fourth quarters in conference play, all our games, win or lose, came in that quarter,” said coach Ed Swanson, now in his sixth season after previously coaching Sacred Heart.

In the team’s two games with second seeded Drexel, the Dragons took the first on the road in Williamsburg, Va., winning narrowly 62-58 at the finish, but then fell in an upset 77-72 in triple overtime in the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

The setback virtually ruined Drexel’s chance to catch James Madison at the finish as the Dragons did a year ago to to claim the No. 1 seed for the CAA tourney they hosted, only to lose to Elon in the title game.

As for playing Drexel a third time in the 5 p.m. contest, Swanson said, “Drexel presents a lot of problems, particularly with CAA player of the year Bailey Greenberg).”

The order of Thursday’s quarterfinals has James Madison (25-4, 7-1 CAA) hosting Hofstra (10-21, 4-15), followed by fourth-seeded Towson (17-12, 11-7) facing the home team and fifth-seeded Delaware (16-14, 11-7) at 2:30 p.m.

Towson made a major improvement and the Tigers’ Diane Richardson was named coach of the year by her peers in the CAA.

No. 2 Drexel (22-7, 14-4) meets No. 7 William & Mary (15-15, 7-11) at 5 p.m. followed by third-seeded UNCW (18-11, 11-7) meeting 6th seeded Northeastern (19-10, 9-9) at 7:30 p.m.

UNCW made major strides in the Seahawks’ second season under Karen Barefoot, who previously coached Old Dominion.

On Friday, the James Madison winner meets the Towson winner at 1 p.m., followed by the Drexel winner against UNCW winner at 4 p.m.

Saturday’s championship is at 1 p.m.

Thursday and Friday games are televised on CAA.TV handled by the Delaware broadcast duo of Matt Janus and Christine Koren-Motta (a former Delaware player and assistant coach who has also done analysis on Villanova women’s Big East broadcasts). The title game  Saturday will air on NBC Sports-Philadelphia.



Post a Comment

<< Home