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.

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Guru Weekend Report, Part 2: Drexel Streak Continues

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA – Drexel has finally found its groove and Sunday afternoon the second team on the Dragons’ trip up north was made to pay on the weekend journey in the Colonial Athletic Association.

That came by way of a 67-51 victory, the 10th straight at Northeastern’s Cabot Center in Boston to complete a sweep of the Huskies and the win keeps Drexel (17-6, 10-1 CAA) 1.5 games in front of preseason favorite James Madison, whom the Dragons handled at home at the Daskalakis Athletic Center last Sunday in their first of two meetings.

Delaware also pulled off a sweep on the same trip in reverse order beating Hofstra 77-67 at the Pride’s David S. Mack Sports Complex at Hempstead, N.Y., on Long Island.

Out in the Midwest, Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist continues to offer great individual performances – the latest another game in the 20s, this one 21 points to break the Wildcats freshman record for most 20 points or more games with 13, but even with a matching 21 from Mary Gedaka, it wasn’t enough to get a split with Butler, and while the second meeting was much closer, it became the fourth straight the Wildcats became involved with a narrow differential and they fell 63-61 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

When it comes to locals in the Atlantic 10, woes continued here at La Salle’s Tom Gola Arena on Senior Day – the schedule forced it to be this early – where the Explorers yielded a 10-point lead and fell to Richmond 67-61 for a sweep by the Spiders while out in Pittsburgh, Saint Joseph’s lost to Duquesne 53-42 at La Roche University for a sweep by the home team.

Temple was the one with a chance for a sweep playing South Florida in an American Athletic Conference game in Tampa at Yuengling Center but then the game got under way and the Bulls pounded the Owls 99-51.

And nothing was any better for the Guru locals in the Big Ten where Rutgers got slammed by No. 13 Maryland 79-50 at the Terrapins’ Xfinity Center in College Park while up in Happy Valley it was closer but not enough to flip the result with Penn State falling 70-66 to Illinois at the Lady Lions’ Bryce Jordan Center.

And there were a few surprises nationally but let’s get through the locals first.

Drexel and Delaware Gain Wins Amid Six Losses by Guru Locals

Back in the beginning of the calendar year, Drexel got upset at Charleston in the Dragons’ CAA opener and then managed to avoid a sweep with a 73-72 win in overtime at UNCW.

Since then coach Denise Dillon’s group has found all kinds of ways to stay out of the loss column.

On Sunday in the win at Northeastern (10-12, 6-5 CAA) by the Dragons (17-6, 10-1), who are headed for someone’s postseason, Bailey Greenberg had her 10th career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds and she is now fifth in the program’s career scoring  chart with 1,647 points.

Keishana Washington, who had a major hand in the win over JMU, had 14 points, built by a 4-of-5 long-range attack from beyond the arc. 

Kate Connolly got in the career act with a perfect 4-for-4 in the first half from long range for 12 points. 

The visitors were 9-for-12 on triplets as a team in the first half and added one more to tie their season high as a unit.

Comfortably in front most of the day, Drexel led by as much as 23 with just under a minute left in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Delaware, which had struggled much this season, has now won three straight, though hosting Drexel is next up, the latest featuring three in double figures by the Blue Hens (9-13, 5-6 CAA) in completing their season sweep of the Pride (3-19, 0-11), which has yet to win a CAA game.

Nicole Enabosi had 17 points, Jasmine Dickey had her 10th double-double on the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Abby Gonzales had 14 points.

If any thought all of the legendary Elena Delle Donne’s records would all be untouchable - she’s now on the WNBA champion Washington Mystics – Enabosi passed by her into third place with 1,021 rebounds in the Delaware book.

The graduate student, who missed last season with a knee injury, is now fifth on Delaware’s career scoring chart with 1,557 points. Gonzales is tied for third with Denise Wojciech with 353 career assists,

The Blue Hens have won 21 of their last 24 in the series with Hofstra.

“This was a successful business trip,” Delaware coach Natashia Adair said of the weekend wins. 

In the Hofstra game, the Blue Hens pulled away near the end of the first half and were never seriously threatened.

“In the second half, we played Blue Hens basketball,” Enabosi said.

Delaware and Drexel now have the week off before meeting a second time Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Blue Hens’ Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

In the earlier meeting in Philadelphia, typical of the long-running rivalry between the two, it was another narrow finish, this one claimed by Drexel 63-59 in overtime.

   Standings-wise, Drexel is a game in front of JMU in the loss column, while the Dragons are then three in front of William & Mary, followed by four ahead of Elon, Northeastern, and Towson, then five ahead of seventh place Delaware.

Siegrist Sets Mark in Narrow Villanova Loss to Butler

It was another close one but this time instead of a buzzer-beater, it was a rally that died in the defeat that left the Wildcats (13-11, 7-6) tied for sixth in the Big East.

Butler (17-6, 9-3) is two games behind first-place DePaul, which is ranked 14th prior to the new poll coming Monday afternoon.

The home team had its own force in Kristen Spolyar, who had 25 points while sealing the win with two foul shots in the final seconds at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Naira Caceres’s shot with 1:20 left in regulation gave Butler a 61-59 lead. 

Two offensive rebounds in the last minute kept the ball in the home team’s hands, forcing the Wildcats to foul Spolyar, who then hit both free throws with 5.1 seconds left.

Mary Gedaka then hit a shot as time expired to get to her 21st point.

Siegrist, a red-shirt freshman, had 21 points and eight rebounds to claim her 13th game of 20 or more points to set a new mark for the program. 

She is also a strong candidate to get another conference freshman of the week award, which would tie a conference mark with 10.

Gedaka had 21 points and 13 rebounds, for her second straight double-double while Bridget Herlihy had nine points and six rebounds. 

It’s the fifth time this season Gedaka and Siegrist had 20 or more points in the same game and the 10th time Gedaka has played the entire game in terms of minutes.

Villanova visits travel partner Georgetown next Sunday at 2 p.m. in the nation’s capital.

A10 Woes Continue for La Salle and Saint Joseph’s

Since we are actually here at Tom Gola Arena though we didn’t lead the report with the game, we’ll begin here with the Explorers (9-14, 3-10 A-10), who had lost to the Spiders by two points when they played earlier in Richmond.

Coming out of a six-point lead at the half, La Salle went up by 10 on the Spiders (11-13, 4-6) with 7 minutes, 53 seconds left in the third period but by the end of the period the visitors recaptured the advantage leading by as much as six before it settled at four.

However, in the next period the deficit had gone to eight until Claire Jacobs, the freshman twin with her sister Amy from Australia, finally scored for La Salle with almost three minutes gone.

 But after the advantage for Richmond got to nine a little under the six-minute mark, the Explorers launched a 9-0 run to get within a basket 54-52 with 4:29 left in regulation.

The momentum then died again as Richmond built a six point lead. 

Kayla Spruill got it to within two with 1:57 left and after Richmond struck for two, Shalina Miller got it back within a bucket again 60-58 with 1:11 left.

Richmond grew the differential again, this time to seven with 22 seconds left, and that was enough for the Spiders to hold on and get a season’s sweep.

Spruill finished with 14 points, Jacobs scored 13, and Jordon Lewis scored 12, while Shalina Miller set a career-high blocking eight shots. She has 59 on the season, five short of her season single mark of 64 blocks.

Claire Holt had 20 for Richmond to lead the opposition.

“Credit to Richmond, I think they played a really good game, I think they came up with some timely plays and they hit some big shots,” said La Salle second-year coach Mountain McGillivray.

 ”I was pleased with our performance, we could have shot the ball better, loose balls played a big part, I think 50-50 balls, they kind of beat us to them. While we did have more offensive rebounds than them, we missed a lot of shots underneath, a couple of key offensive rebounds were a factor as well, we will try to clean those things up.”

The seniors honored were Miller, Sofilia Ngwafang, and grad student Carley Lytton.

La Salle next heads to George Washington on Wednesday at 7 at the Colonials’ Smith Center.

Meanwhile, in the Western part of the state, Katie Jekot got Saint Joseph’s back into contention in the game with Duquesne (16-7, 6-4 A-10) but as the deficit reduced to nine, the momentum stopped and the home team prevailed.

Jekot finished with 15 for the Hawks (8-15, 2-9), while Mary Sheehan grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds.

Saint Joseph’s is off until Saturday when the Hawks will host La Salle in the return game at Hagan Arena at 2 p.m. 

In their previous meeting, which also counted in the Big Five, the Explorers broke a seven-game losing streak in the series.

Temple Routed by South Florida

Any notion of sweeping USF was vanquished quickly by the Bulls who had a pair of players combine for 50 points in the stampede of the Owls (13-10, 5-5 AAC) in the 99-51 result.

Elena Tsine and Sydni Harvey each scored 25 points for USF (14-9, 6-3).

Temple’s Marissa Mackins had 13 points, while Alexa Williamson, Mia Davis, and Shannen Atkinson each scored 10.

The Owls are off until hosting Houston Saturday at 2 p.m. in McGonigle Hall.

Rutgers and Penn State Fall in the Big Ten

The visiting Scarlet Knights were denied any chance to make a statement, hampered by the preseason Big Ten favorites in Rutgers’ 79-50 loss to the Terrapins (20-4, 11-2 Big Ten) at home in College Park.

For however Rutgers (17-6, 7-5) pounded Penn State back home in the previous game, the statistics were reversed in this one.

The No. 13 Terrapins owned the boards 41-31 in winning their eighth straight while also owning a lopsided 26-4 advantage on fast break points.

Rutgers never got a lead in this one.

“They played Maryland basketball,” said Hall of Fame Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer. “We had too many turnovers and not enough assists or rebounds. It’s tough to win when you don’t rebound or move the ball. There wasn’t much Maryland didn’t do right today.”

Arella Guirantes had 15 points for the visitors, while Tekia Mack scored 13, and Mael Gilles came off the bench to offer seven points and five rebounds.

“We really wanted to embrace the physicality,” said Maryland head coach Brenda Frese. “I thought we set the tone aggressively, when you talk about five straight turnovers to force them into the start.

“You know Rutgers, for us to hold them to the fewest points they have scored in conference play, then on the flip side for us to score as many points as we did,  I thought it was a pretty flawless game. I thought we really played well together.”

Kaila Charles had a game-high 16 points for the Terrapins who moved into sole possession of first place heading into Thursday night’s showdown with No. 19 Iowa in College Park.

Rutgers was forced by Maryland into 18 turnovers amthree shots.

Freshman of the year candidate for Maryland Ashley Owusu had 14 points and dealt nine assists, while Stephanie Jones scored 14, and Shakira Austin scored 12.

Rutgers next heads to Michigan Thursday looking to gain a split with the Wolverines.

Penn State, meanwhile, had its best chance in weeks to win one for a change but fell short.

Kamaria McDonald had 23 points for the home team (7-17, 1-12), while Shay Hagans, a freshman, had her best day with 14 points against the Illini (11-12, 2-10 Big Ten).

Penn State next heads to Nebraska Thursday at 8 p.m.

Nationally Noted: No. 5 Louisville’s place in the Top 5 is endangered after the Cardinals dropped their second straight game while No. 9 Oregon State is endangered with its place as No. 9 on the Top 10 following losses Sunday.

Syracuse topped Louisville 59-51 at home in New York in an Atlantic Coast Conference game in which Kiara Lewis scored 24 for the Orange (12-11, 6-6), giving coach Quintin Hillsman his 300th career win.

Louisville (21-3, 10-2) had lost to No. 17 Florida State at home Thursday.

It’s only the second road loss in conference for the Cardinals (20-2), the other a year ago at Notre Dame. They hadn’t lost two straight games in three seasons.

No. 9 Oregon State (19-5, 7-5 PAC-12) at home in the Pac-12 couldn’t dodge No. 12 Arizona (19-4, 8-4 PAC-12), losing 65-58 in overtime to the Wildcats.

“It feels great,” said Arizona junior Aari McDonald, who scored 22 points. “Today my team showed a lot of toughness and we stuck with ‘em and we finished it out.”

Elsewhere, No. 25 Arkansas (19-5, 7-4 SEC) took down No. 15 Kentucky (18-5, 7-4), which got Rhyne Howard back and she scored 20, while Chasity Patterson scored 32.

Chelsea Dungee had scored 24 for the home team in the game played in Fayetteville.

No. 10 UCLA dodged an upset winning 74-70 over California in overtime in Barkeley in the PAC-12, while No. 18 Indiana barely escaped Nebraska 57-53 in Lincoln in the Big Ten.

Coming up Monday, No. 4 Connecticut is at No. 1 South Carolina as Dawn Staley looks to break out of the 0-7 series hex that the Huskies has had over her team.

At halftime, the new class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame will be announced by the broadcast.

And that’s the report.
















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