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 08, 2020

The Guru Report: Penn and ‘Nova Wire Finishes Fuel Sweeps Night

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA – Friday night was sweeps night for the five Guru D-I teams in action as Drexel and Delaware easily took care of their Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) business on the road while Princeton did what the Tigers have continued to with a lopsided win at home in Jadwyn Gym that left the two-time defending Ivy champions the last unbeaten member of the Ancient Eight all alone in first place.

But in terms of the other two both Villanova out at Xavier in the Big East and Penn here hosting Columbia in the Ivy League it was down to the final seconds for each and five minutes beyond in terms of the Quakers. Let’s go to the recaps.

Penn Tops Columbia in overtime Palestra Thriller

There has been a lot of magic over the years here when it comes to men’s and women’s hoops in the Cathedral of Basketball that is the Palestra and Friday night’s 86-84 overtime victory by the building’s landlords over Columbia was as dazzling as any of the great toe-to-toe clashes that have come before.

For much of the last decade the Lions (11-7, 2-3 Ivy) have been considered doormat quality when it comes to the variety of opponents in the Ivy League that have faced Penn (12-5, 2-2), which had beaten Columbia 16 straight prior to Friday’s meeting dating back to 2011 in which the Quakers suffered a loss off Broadway in Levien Gymnasium in New York City’s upper west side.

But since the return of King of Prussia native Megan Griffith, a former Columbia player who had been on the Princeton staff, things have begun to stir even if not much has been reflective in the standings through what is now her fourth season.

And more than stir is what the Lions did here Friday night in a battle highlighting League newcomers that ultimately turned to Penn’s way in the middle of the overtime when Penn freshman Kayla Padilla got seven points in a surge and finished with 22.

But on the veteran side, post player Eleah Parker just missed by a point matching her career high, scoring 28, including her 1,000th, the 23rd player in program history to hit that mark, while grabbing 13 rebounds.

Tori Crawford in the post scored 13, matching a career high, and Phoebe Sterba scored 12.

Padilla has earned five Ivy rookie and two players of the week awards.

But Columbia has its own youth movement to brag, particularly Abbey Hsu, who scored a career-high 28 points, three more than a recent game in which she hit 25 and she has already received three Ivy rookie citations. 

Freshman Carly Rivera tied her mark with nine, of which seven came in the overtime, while freshman Kaitlyn Davis scored 10.

The Lions also fired away from three-point land, connecting with 12, of which six came from Hsu and four from Sienna Durr, last season’s Ivy freshman of the year, who against the Quakers had a double double of 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.

There were 14 lead changes and 13 ties with the largest lead being held by Penn at 10 points just before the end of the first half.

Penn also forced 16 turnovers and gained 25 points vs. 11 by Columbia off the miscues. 

Through most of the third and fourth quarter every time Penn seemed poised to extend a lead, Columbia fought back though the Quakers just missed winning in regulation when Parker went inside at the finish but missed the layup.

Given the recent four-game losing streak, including the Ivy losses here to Princeton and last week at Harvard, before looking like the Penn machine of recent vintage against Dartmouth, the Quakers did not need to slip back, especially in the Palestra where the last league loss to someone not named Princeton was on Feb. 6, 2015, almost exactly five seasons ago, to Cornell.

Stopping Princeton from winning the regular season may be difficult but finishing second is certainly wide open.

“Well, I don’t know where to start,” Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said afterwards. “That was a hell of a basketball game, there was so many moving parts.

“There was really some great offense on both teams, there was some defense there, both teams executed. We spent a lot of time this week on certain parts of the game, so we were confident when that happened.

“I would have liked to have that end of regulation back, I thought we could have had a better shot but overall I thought it was a heck of game. We have to enjoy this one for the next hour and then have to battle tomorrow again. Fatigue will be a factor.”

Penn hosts Cornell, which got battered at Princeton, in a game tipping here at 7 p.m., and preceded earlier by the annual alumni game at 4:30 followed by a reception.

In terms of keys to win, McLaughlin said, “Post play. Tori and Eleah got deep and tried to keep the game simple. Just break it down to simple basketball. I thought Kayla was really guarded hard, it was another sign of growth for her, she’s going to have to learn how to work off the ball a little bit harder, but she made some critical shots at the right time. Eleah was terrific.”

Parker said of her milestone, “’Coach was getting on me during a timeout and I just heard (the announcement) in the background and thought, `Wow.’ It’s just amazing to be part of that.”

Griffith of Columbia observed, “I don’t think we played well. It’s hard to come in anybody’s house, especially a team that’s won a lot. Credit to them. They made plays when they needed to, I don’t think we made enough plays and we were just too careless with the ball.

“There’s a lot to learn here. You walk in the locker room and nobody’s happy with their performance so that’s a positive. If we had jumped to a lead in that overtime I thought we would have won,” Griffin said.

Of Penn’s situation, she observed, “They’re not the same Penn, this is a different team. Mike’s never had a player like Padilla before. For him to let the reins off and let her do a little bit of work and be creative, it’s a different team.

“Parker looks like she struggled to find her groove but that might just be a product of her needing to see the ball more and get more touches. She obviously played well tonight. She’s a tough matchup for anybody.”

Columbia has little time to recover, having to head up to Princeton for Saturday’s night game  at 5 p.m. in Jadwin, where Griffith spent a long stint under former coach Courtney Banghart as the Tigers got built into a dominant Ivy powerhouse.

Princeton Slams Cornell 60-29.

Dominant was certainly the situation Friday at Jadwin, where Princeton took over sole possession of first place in the Ivy League with a 60-29 win over Cornell that was first-year coach Carla Berube’s 400th career triumph, including her previous stop where the former UConn star made Tufts into a national Division III contender.

In winning its 12th straight overall, the only loss was by two points at Iowa in overtime, Princeton (16-1, 4-0 Ivy) used its NCAA-leading No. 1 defense to shred a Cornell squad (9-8, 2-3) that arrived with a league-leading 44.9 percent field goal average and 35.7 percent three-point field goal average.

The Big Red finished the game with just seven field goals and making it just the third time since 1981 the Tigers held an opponent under 30 points.

 It’s the second lowest score Princeton has held Cornell in their 80-game series history.

Reigning two-time Ivy player of the year Bella Alarie scored 13 points, while Taylor Baur and Grace Stone each scored 10 points. No Cornell player scored more than seven points.

Berube’s record is now 400-97 for a .805 winning percentage.

During one stretch the Big Red went 16 minutes without a basket missing 19 consecutive shots and committing 13 turnovers.

Elsewhere in the league, Harvard dropped Yale from the unbeaten league mark with a 66-57 win at home at Lavietes Pavilion in Boston, while Brown on the road beat Dartmouth 83-71 in Ledee Arena in Hanover, N.H.

That makes the standings, in which the top four next month advance to Harvard for the Ivy tourney, show:

 1. Princeton 4-0

 2. Yale 4-1

3. Harvard 3-2

4. Penn 2-2

5. Columbia 2-3

6. Cornell 2-3

7. Brown 1-4

8. Dartmouth 1-4

CAA: Drexel Locks Down Hofstra 45-32 While Delaware Tops Northeastern

Just like Princeton in the Ivies, it was defensive stand night for Drexel on the road in the Colonial Athletic Association, winning 45-32 at Hofstra at the Pride’s David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex in Hempstead, N.Y. on Long Island.

The Dragons also got some help from their traveling partner in Delaware, which won at Northeastern 81-69 in Boston. 

On Sunday the two road teams switch with the Blue Hens heading South to Hofstra while Drexel heads north to Northeastern in Boston.

With James Madison idle Friday following its Sunday loss at Drexel to snap a first-place deadlock, the Dragons’ win extends their lead over the Dukes to 1.5 games and are now 3 games over the next three teams down the line.

For the moment, should Drexel and JMU tie at the end of the regular season prior to the CAA tourney at Elon, the Dragons would get the top seed if they swept Towson since JMU has a loss to the Tigers.

Looking at Friday night, since coach Denise Dillon’s squad lives off its defense, the low-scoring total on the winning side is not necessarily a cause for concern.

In winning their ninth straight dating to the season opening CAA loss at Charleston, Drexel (16-6, 9-1) used a 17-1 run across the first and second quarter to go in front by double digits.

The Pride (3-18, 0-10) were held to 11 points in the first half, the defensive marks exceeded by just Drexel’s limit of 31 points to La Salle in December and 10 points in the first half.

Seniors Aubree Brown and Bailey Greenberg, the reigning CAA player of the year, set a new program record with the Dragons in playing in their 89th triumph, topping Meghan Creighton getting 88 by her senior year.

So effective was Drexel’s defense that Mariah Leonard being the only player in double figures with 10 points, shooting 5-for-7 from the field caused little concern to the Dragons in this one.

Greenberg had eight points and 10 rebounds. Sophomores Kate Connolly and reigning USBWA national player of the week Keishana Washington each had nine points off three triplets.

Sunday’s game at the Cabot Center is at 2 p.m. in Boston.

Delaware (8-13, 4-6 CAA), meanwhile, slowly climbing out of the CAA cellar, got its job done with an explosive offense, scoring the most points since early last season.

Nicole Enabosi followed up her 27-point attack in last Sunday’s Towson win with one more at 28, along with grabbing eight rebounds, swiping four steals, dealing two assists and blocking two shots.

Enabosi was the 2018 CAA player of the year and then missed last season with a knee injury.

Jasmine Dickey, whose league-leading double double total is now one more at nine, had 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Abbey Gonzales scored 12.

In this game, Enabosi just missed tying the legendary Elena Delle Donne’s career rebound total of 1,019 by one, leaving her temporarily at fourth in Blue Hens history. However, Gonzales passed Delle Donne’s career total to reach third with 508 three-pointers.

Three bench players scored in double figures for the Huskies (10-11, 6-4) with Mide Oriyomi collecting 11 points, and Kendall Currence and Mossi Staples each getting 10 points.

After Sunday’s games, Delaware and Drexel are off a week until the following Sunday when Drexel will be after a season sweep of its travel partner traveling to Newark and the Blue Hens’ Bob Carpenter Center on Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.

Villanova Edges Xavier

For the third straight game Villanova’s result was not determined until the finish, beating Saint John’s and losing to Seton Hall last weekend in Big East games at home in Finneran Pavilion, while on Friday night the Wildcats edged Xavier 55-54 in the Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

While freshmen on both sides were the stars for the most part as mentioned above in Penn’s win here over Columbia, Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist continued to light things up in veteran coach Harry Perretta’s 42nd and final season heading into retirement.

She had a game-high 21 for the visiting Wildcats.

Budget Herlihy got ‘Nova to a 42-42 tie with 1:01 left in the third period and then the Musketeers ran off six straight points to lead the Wildcats by that total to go into the final period.

Perretta’s group struck back with a 9-0 run at the outset for a 51-48 lead as Siegrist scored six of the points in the string. 

Raven James got the other three points shooting from beyond the arc.

At the 1:48 mark, Xavier tied it 52-52 on Lauren Wasylson’s driving layup.

After the Wildcats failed to connect on three attempted 3-pointers, the Musketeers went up 54-52 with 48 seconds left on a pair of foul shots.

Villanova then advanced the ball to the front court on a timeout and James feed Herlihy, who hit a triplet to give the ‘Cats the lead 55-54 with 33.2 seconds left.

Xavier then missed three straight attempts from the field on the next possession, then Siegrist got the loose ball, was fouled, and missed both attempts from the line.

The Musketeers advanced to the front court with 7.1 seconds left, then as they went for a win, Siegrist atoned for her missed shots by blocking the Xavier field goal attempt with 1.8 seconds left.

The home team then went for a desperation shot that didn’t connect and the Wildcats had the first of their weekend two-stops secured in the victory column.

As mentioned, Siegrist had 21 points to tie the Nova frosh record for most 20-point or more games, and also grabbed seven rebounds. 

She is the Big East freshman of the week for a ninth time this season and she ties for the conference mark if she gets one more.

Mary Gedaka had 11 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocked shots for the Wildcats (13-10, 7-5 Big East), while Herlihy scored 16 points and had eight rebounds, and Cameron Onken had nine rebounds.

Aaliyah Dunham and reserve Carrie Gross each scored 11 for Xavier (2-20, 1-10), and Morgan Sharps scored 10.

The Wildcats head for Indianapolis where on Sunday they will be looking for a split when they play Butler in Hinkle Fieldhouse at 3 p.m.

Elsewhere in the conference of note, No. 14 DePaul scored 31 points in the fourth quarter to rally from a 16-point deficit and beat St. John’s 71-65 on the road in the Red Storm’s Carnesecca Arena in the Queens section of New York City.

Kelly Campbell scored all 10 of her points in the final period while Sonya Morris scored eight of her 18 for the Blue Demons (21-3, 11-1 Big East). 

The large deficit existed with four minutes left in the third quarter.

Chante Stonewall had 16 points to add to the winners’ total, while Lexi Held rode four 3-pointers for 15 points.

Campbell also had 16 rebounds and five assists and Deja Church grabbed 10 rebounds.

Qadashah Hoppie had seven treys on the way to a career-high 27 points for St. John’s (14-9, 7-5), Leilani Correa had 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Kadaja Bailey also had 11 rebounds.

Other conference results had Seton Hall beat visiting Marquette 72-60, and Butler beating Georgetown 60-42.

In the ongoing standings jam following DePaul’s lead, Butler is two games back, Marquette and Seton Hall are tied for third three games back, while St. John’s and Villanova are tied for fifth, four games back, with the Wildcats having a sweep over the Red Storm.

Nationally Noted: PAC-12 Fireworks Have Oregons Top Arizonas and UCLA Upsets Stanford

For starters, No. 4 Connecticut likely will survive its long-running Top 5 ranking streak in the Associated Press women’s poll despite its historic rout at home Monday by No. 3 Oregon.

The Huskies recovered Friday night to destroy Memphis 94-55 back in Storrs, Conn., at Gampel Pavilion keeping alive their perfect record in the American Athletic Conference, which is now at 130 in their final season as a member before UConn (20-2, 10-0 AAC), moves back to the Big East next season.

Coach Geno Auriemma likely got saved by a deep slide with No. 5 Louisville in back of UConn losing to No. 17 Florida State on Thursday and in the mammoth collision Friday night of all six ranked teams in the PAC-12 running into each other, No. 10 UCLA upset No. 6 Stanford 79-69 on the road in Palo Alto.

But while UConn will likely survive at four this week, whether it is longer will be determined Monday night when the Huskies travel to No. 1 South Carolina, which is in its best shape to beat Auriemma’s squad for the first time in eight tries.

In the win by UCLA (20-2, 9-2 PAC-12), Michaela Onyenwere had 29 points for the Bruins along with 10 rebounds to move into a second-place tie in the conference with the Cardinal (20-3, 9-2), which got 25 points from Kiana Williams.

Meanwhile, Oregon coming off its big non-conference win in the East, roared through visiting No. 12 Arizona 85-52 as Sabrina Ionescu tacked on another to her existing men’s/women’s triple double mark with her 24th, scoring 15 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dealing 10 assists for the Ducks (21-2, 10-1), who have a one-game lead in the conference.

Ruthy Hebard had 22 points for Oregon, which was home in Eugene.

 In gaining their ninth straight win, Satou Sabally had 17 points and 11 rebounds, along with six assists, while Taylor Chavez, a reserve, had 17 points.

The loss was a big setback for Arizona (18-4, 7-4), which was having its best season in some time. Cate Reese had 17 points and Ari McDonald scored 13 for the Wildcats.

In the other showdown, No. 9 Oregon State almost suffered another upset, holding on at home in Corvallis to beat No. 19 Arizona State 64-62.

The Beavers (19-4, 7-4) got a game-winning shot at the buzzer as Mikayla Pivec took an inbounds pass under the Beavers’ basket from Aleah Goodman and hit pay dirt from 10-feet out.

Oregon State was down eight with six minutes left in regulation before rallying for the win over the Sun Devils (16-7, 6-5), snapping a four-game losing streak in the series.

Destiny Slocum had 20 points for the Beavers while Robbi Ryan matched the total for Arizona State.

On Sunday, UCLA will be playing Cal, but the Arizona teams will switch sites with Arizona at Oregon State, while Arizona State is at Oregon.

Looking Ahead: Penn Goes For Weekend Sweep

There are but two of the Guru’s local 11 D-1 Teams playing Saturday, and the games have been mentioned. 

In a switch off from Friday in the Ivy League Penn here will host Cornell at 7 in the Palestra but beforehand its Alumni Day so the annual game will be played at 4:30 followed by a reception before the Quakers will try to avoid suffering fatigue from Friday’s win while the Big Red will see if they can shake off the beat-down from Princeton.

Likewise, at 5 in Jadwin Gym, the Tigers will be hosting the Columbia squad having to shake off its tough overtime loss to the Quakers.

A key small college game in the area is across the river where Rowan at home in Glassboro, N.J., hosting Montclair State as the two teams tied for first in the NJAC will be going for sole possession and the Profs will also be looking for a season split.

Nationally, Middle Tennessee will take its turn trying to break host Rice’s domination of C-USA, while Old Dominion will be looking to stay close or move into a first-place tie when the Lady Monarchs visit UTEP.

And that’s the report.













Post a Comment

<< Home