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, April 23, 2020

The Guru Report: The Backstory of the Road to the Her Hoop Stats Fab 15 Frosh

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

First, here’s hoping all is safe and well among all of you in these times.

 Now in going forward ahead of part two of the Notre Dame coaching transition just ahead this Thursday you have noticed that your Guru managed to collaborate with Her Hoop Stats and produce a Fab 15 Frosh team that was announced in tandem with this post at the moment.

 Because the Guru tries to give transparency, also titled, things to do when you are under quarantine, before also running the Her Hoop Stats release below, this is to  provide you with how a concept idea evolved to reality.

 Soon after the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) postseason women’s awards were finished being announced last month more than a few inquiries floated this way about why not an all-frosh squad in addition to the freshman of the year award that went to Aliyah Boston of South Carolina.

 The short answer is that for now, promulgating it creates a reverse problem because none is done for the men, though under the enlightened leadership of first-year executive director Malcolm Moran, it is an idea to pursue on both sides in the future.

 On the other hand, we at USBWA trotted out a first-ever honorable mention women’s list behind our three All-American fives, which has yet to be done on the men’s side, so, please, no squawking.

 But the Guru felt it worthy to take a shot to see what our pool would be – too big, at the outset, yes, but possible to get a manageable number.

 So, Tony Stinnett, the women’s SID at Middle Tennessee, volunteered to take up the research and the NCAA’s Rick Nixon sent a link into the NCAA’s stats to zero in on freshmen performance in the various categories to see how they compared to each other and how they compared in the overall national ranking.

 In some ways to set the stage for a potential future, since the Guru works within a certain system each week selecting the top national and freshman honorees, why not adhere as much as possible to that standard.

 **-So rule one, all the nominees were the 32 conference freshmen of the year honorees.

 Then the bar was set up to winnow down with a bunch of categories for the candidates to adhere.

 **-Stat-wise, how did the 32 rank in the various stats in the freshmen filter, how did they rank overall.

 Likwise, how did they show in the overall national stats.

 Did they dominate weekly conference freshman honors? 

Did they earn national weekly honors? Were they overwhelming picks for their conference postseason awards. Did they make conference teams beyond the freshman picks. You get the idea.

 That got us down to about 12 but a few had enough going statwise to push it to 15 because a few more get honored and it’s a better number to get sexy with in giving the group a title.

 **—Now, the next step was, who is overlooked, and how many. 

Well, at the same time ESPN came along and ranked a group of freshmen to look ahead to next year. 

To our pleasant surprise, most of ours were in their group, but a few were very good but missed our standard because they were not the conference top honoree.

 The Guru also checked the praise and evaluation done by  colleagues at various websites while also a few individuals were consulted, so we looked at naming some honorable mentions – people who made all-conference overallmor all-conference frosh lists, and other than not being the top conference winner, showed well comparably in every other way.

 The worksheet Tony sent over was a word-form of excel, which can still be displayed if someone wants to take a crack at it. 

**-There was also breakout, included here but not at Her Hoops, way down below that shows a two-column category-by category stat, frosh rank, national rank list.

 **-And then there were supporting bios, which is the heart of the Her Hoop Stat presentation, but which is a little longer in the Guru’s worksheet than the ones edited.

 Most of that info will be shouted by the various schools and conferences, though the Guru can run the rough cut in the next day if many of you desire. That also had position, heights, and hometowns of the honorees.

 **-The final decision was to make the group an equal 15, no ranking, no three teams of five, because in this first attempt, it’s good enough. 

Getting to Rollout

So, the next question is how to get it out there, because the Guru’s quarantine in the house he grew up in is technologically challenged.

 If the iPad he lived off of hadn’t stopped charging and hasn’t been dealt with were still running, the unlimited data would go a long way.

 But since before all this, the all-nite diners and hotels provided enough access to get by. (Yeah, hoping the cell phone company did say, overage data charges being waived.)

 To give you an idea, to access the WNBA draft, the Guru set up the laptop on a party tray table, near a three-pronged outlet in the living room, then added a portable speaker, a companion 20-gig hotspot with the phone account to use when necessary with the laptop, and then once online, used a Guru accomplice with access codes to get to the place to get to ESPN.

 Ahead of that final step an ESPN friend send access except Walt Disney Co. doesn’t exist here but Xfinity does, and the only other problem is there’s no Xfinity hotspot nearby so the Guru had to use his own data so we will know in the worst case where the stimulus check is going assuming it is still coming.

 The Guru went through all the preceding few graphs because many of you seem to be amused how the Guru confronts challenges in technology and travel more so at times than the regular adventures, such as soon coming to this blog, tales of Muffet.

 Getting a Presenter

Anyhow, so in hunting around in who has time to deal with it, who can set up something reasonable, who is followed by enough people the schools and conferences look at it as a suitable thing, and the Guru could also see it almost as a USBWA endeavor without being an official USBWA endeavor.

 And so, voila, thanks to Aaron Barzilai, who stepped to the top of the key and fired away..

 (Note, this  was not pursued as a financial initiative, more of an access one and one to allow in these times one more chance for a light to shine on athletes, in this case, those who will be part of the future with three seasons to come.)

 That said, make sure if you stopped here first, to also visit herhoopstats.com. 

On Instagram, facebook, and twitter, find them at @herhoopstats

 So again, down below, here is your her Hoop Stats Fab 15 Frosh (with enhancements) 

 The Official Her Hoop Stats Fab 15 Frosh Release

 We are proud to announce the Her Hoop Stats Fab 15 Freshman in conjunction with Mel Greenberg, the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) women’s representative.

 The players were selected from the nation’s 32 conference freshmen of the year recipients. 

These 15 players dominated their conferences and ranked highly among freshmen and all players in the nation in various statistical categories.

 Additionally, six freshmen who were selected to their conference’s all-freshman team have been selected as honorable mentions.

 Fab 15 Frosh (alphabetical)

Aliyah Boston (South Carolina): The first South Carolina player to be named a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. Boston led the Gamecocks in blocks, 86, and rebounds per game, 9.4. She also finished as the second-leading scorer on the SEC champions.

 Haley Cavinder (Fresno State):, Became the first freshman named to the Mountain West All-Conference Team since 2013-14 after averaging 14.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Cavinder was the only freshman to rank in the top 10 of the MWC in both categories. 

Dyaisha Fair (Buffalo): The highest-scoring freshman in the nation, her 22.0 points per game were fourth in Division I, with 20 games of 20-plus points. Added 5.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 2.7 steals per game. She was the Mid-American Freshman of the Year and second-team All-MAC.

 Abby Feit (Evansville): The Missouri Valley freshman of the year, Feit is the first freshman to lead the Aces in scoring since 2013-14. Led the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks, and 3-pointers.

 Alex Fowler (Portland): Selected to the WCC All-Conference First Team, the first Portland player selected since 2011-12. Led the conference in scoring with 17.5 points per game, and was fifth in rebounding at 7.9 per game.

 Aislynn Hayes (Middle Tennessee State): Selected as the unanimous C-USA Freshman of the Year, and became the first player to ever be named USBWA National Freshman of the Week three times. Averaged 14.1 points per game, which was second on the team and 10th in the conference.

 Jada Holland (Grand Canyon): Named to the WAC First-Team All-Conference after scoring 11.7 points per game and 1.5 steals. Her 4.9 assists per game were second-highest in the conference.

 Elizabeth Kitley (Virginia Tech): Easily broke the program record for field goal percentage in an ACC season with 57.3% shooting for 12.5 points per game. Her 7.5 rebounds per game were second on the team.

 Ila Lane (UC Santa Barbara): Was the only player in the Big West to average a double-double (15.3 points and 13.0 rebounds), and her 13.0 rebounds per game were third-best in the nation. Recorded 19 double-doubles, which led the conference and were fourth in Division I.

Ayoka Lee (Kansas State): Ranked in the top 11 nationally in rebounds (11.7, 11th), blocks (3.1, 7th), double-doubles (19, 9th), and offensive rebounds (4.2, 9th). Named Big 12 Freshman of the Week a league-record 12 times.

 Ashley Owusu (Maryland): Named to the All-Big Ten Second Team, and was named the Big Ten Tournament MVP. Second on Maryland in scoring at 12.0 points per game, and second in the Big Ten with 5.4 assists per game.

 Kyla McMakin (Longwood): Named First Team All-Big South after leading all players with 18.6 points per game, the highest total in the Big South since 2012-13. Her 539 points are the third-most by a freshman in league history. McMakin also ranked seventh in the conference in steals.

 Kayla Padilla (Penn): Named the Ivy League Freshman of the Week six times after leading the Quakers with 17.4 points per game. Ranked second in the Ivy League in scoring and 3-point shooting percentage (39.9%), and eighth in field goal percentage (41.6%).

 Alissa Pili (USC): Was the only freshman named to the media’s All-Pac-12 Team, and the first since Oregon’s duo of Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard were selected in 2016-17. Led the Pac-12 in scoring, rebounds, and double-doubles.

 Maddy Siegrist (Villanova): Second in the Big East in scoring with 19.1 points per game, and led the conference with 9.3 rebounds per game. Scored 20-plus points in 14 games, the most in the Big East. Named the USBWA National Freshman of the Week two times.

 Honorable Mention

Sam Brunelle (Notre Dame): Named to the ACC All-Freshman Team after scoring 13.9 points per game. Finished 11th in the ACC with 1.9 3-pointers per game.

 Zia Cooke (South Carolina): Named to the SEC All-Freshman Team after tying for third in scoring for South Carolina with 12.0 points per game. Led the Gamecocks in free throws made and taken, going 79 for 111. 

Leilani Correa (St. John’s) Unanimously to the Big East All-Freshman Team. Finished second on the team with 12.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Also named the Big East Sixth Woman of the Year.

 Abbey Hsu (Columbia): Named the All-Met (NY) Rookie of the Year by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association after scoring 14.3 points per game on a 45.7% shooting percentage.

Rickea Jackson (Mississippi State): Led Mississippi State in scoring at 15.1 points per game en route to being named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. Also finished third in rebounding average at 5.1 per game.

 Taylor Jones (Oregon State): Named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team after averaging 12.3 points per game. Also led the conference in blocked shots per game (1.9) and led the Beavers in field goal percentage (58.3%).

Category Breakdowns


Rank (freshman/nationally)

Fair: 22.0 (1/4)

McMakin 18.8 (2/30)

Siegrist 18.8 (2/32)

Fowler 18.0 (4/53)

Padilla 17.4 (5/67)



Rank (freshman/nationally)

Lane: 13.0 (1/1)

Lee: 11.3 (2/10)

Boston: 9.4 (3/47)

Siegrist: 8.9 (4/67)

Feit: 8.4 (7/99)



Rank (freshman/nationally)

Owusu: 5.4 (2/19)

Holland: 4.9 (5/44)

Cavinder 3.7 (17/179)

Fair 3.5 (19/199)

Hayes 3.1 (25/249)


 Steals Per Game:

Rank (freshman/nationally)

Fair 2.7 (1/20)

McMakin 1.9 (6/22)

Fowler 1.9 (11/55)

Cavinder 1.8 (16/213)


Blocks Per Game

Rank (freshman/nationally)

Lee: 3.1 (1/6)

Boston: 2.6 (4/21)

Kitley: 2.1 (7/350

Feit: 1.5 (13/100)


Rank (freshman/nationally)

Lane 19 (1/7)

Lee 19 (1/7)

Boston 13 (3/34)

Pili 11 (4/45)

Siegrist 11 (4/45)




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