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.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Guru Report: A Sweep Saturday Featured by Rallies and More Milestones

By Mel Greenberg @wwomhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA – More milestones and rare achievements continued into Saturday among the Guru’s six local Division groups who played – two against each other, while the small colleges continued for the most part to enjoy outstanding seasons coming to the stretch drive leading into their respective D-2 and D-3 conference tournaments.

The exception was D2-Lincoln, one game after setting a new season mark with 23 victories, the Lions’ 10-game win streak was stopped, losing at Virginia Union 62-47 in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) game in Richmond. 

Here at Saint Joseph’s in Hagan Arena, second year La Salle coach Mountain MacGillivray smiled and accepted a suggestion as a compliment that his Explorers have improved from a really bad inexperienced bunch to a team of mediocrity, perhaps the only outfit that could qualify for that description.

That’s a result of La Salle’s 59-53 victory in the Atlantic 10 over Saint Joseph’s for a first-ever regular season sweep of the Hawks (8-16, 2-10 A-10) and first win here on the road since 1998.

The Explorers (11-14, 5-7) did win twice in 1996 but one was in an opening round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. 

Last month, La Salle’s 67-59 win back home near here at Tom Gola Arena snapped a seven-game slide in the series and also counted in the Big Five standings where the two teams tied for fourth (1-4) behind co-champions Villanova (3-1) and Temple (3-1) and third-place Penn (2-2).

Meanwhile, in a close battle, Rider on the road outlasted Manhattan 55-50 in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) game at Draddy Gym in Riverdale, N.Y., that kept the Broncs (19-4, 12-2 MAAC) exactly tied for first with preseason favorite Marist (19-4, 12-2), two games ahead of Fairfield (12-10, 9-4), which fell at home to Iona 59-52.

The Stags held third, though, important for the Broncs because if they and the Red Foxes win out, Rider would get the top seed by having swept Fairfield for next month’s MAAC tournament, which is moving from its long stay in Albany, N.Y., to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

A day after Penn’s win at Brown gave coach Mike McLaughlin his 600th victory, the Rider win made longtime coach Lynn Milligan the winningest in the program with 163 triumphs breaking a tie with her former coach Eldon Price.

Down on North Broad Street, Temple broke a two-game slide, rallying from a 16-point deficit to beat Houston 76-75 in an American Athletic Conference game in McGonigle Hall.

In the Ivy League, up in lower New England, Princeton thumped Brown 85-48 to stay two games in front after another weekend sweep while in a closely fought contest Penn rallied to edge Yale 53-51 to move into second place courtesy of Columbia thumping Harvard 89-64 at home in Levien Gym in the Upper West Side of New York City. 

The Small Colleges in the area continued to win – D2-USciences, Holy Family, and Jefferson were triumphant in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC), D3-Rowan stayed ahead in the New Jersey Athletic Conference by beating host Rutgers-Newark, but as mentioned above, Lincoln was the one taking a loss besides Saint Joseph’s, where one had to lose with two locals playing each other.

La Salle Getting More Respectable

The thrills continued for the Explorers as the woes also continued for the Hawks while La Salle also dodged a scare when one of the area’s top rookies went down with a seemingly knee injury but Claire Jacobs, who along with her twin sister Amy, are from Perth, Australia, returned to action several minutes later here at Hagan Arena to help keep La Salle in front and on to a 59-53 victory.

As mentioned in the Guru’s overture above, it’s the first-ever regular season sweep over Saint Joseph’s (8-16, 2-10 A-10) for La Salle (11-14, 5-7), tied for 10th with George Washington in the Atlantic 10, but within reach of a potential opening round home site for next month’s conference tournament.

The top four teams get byes in the 14-team league, while the next five seeds host and then the winners and frontrunners advance to Dayton at the Flyers’ UD Arena for the quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship to earn an automatic NCAA bid.

In this one, Saint Joseph’s trailed by as much as 10 points three different times in the first half and again at 40-30 with 6 minutes, 51 seconds left in the third quarter before rallying to get within a basket several times in the fourth before La Salle held the Hawks off from never taking the lead in the game.

“They weren’t going to give up, and we had to stay with it and try to match it,” MacGillivray said. “I lik the way we responded.”

Claire Jacobs shot 7-for-10 from the field and 4-for-5 in the second half on the way to a game-high 18 points, along with five rebounds, career highs in steals (3) and blocks (2), and an assist. 

Her sister Amy had 11 points, shooting 4-for-7 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.

“That’s what they continue to do, score the ball,” MacGillivray said. “They’re getting much better on the defensive end of the floor. I’m pleased with that.” 

Kayla Spruill had 10 points, five rebounds, and career highs with five assists and three blocked shots.

La Salle is now five wins better overall from MacGillivray’s first season with four left before the A-10 tourney.

“They’re starting to build a memory on how we defend, what our expectations are, and it’s really playing off, MacGillivray said. “We’re getting more comfortable in these situations.”

Saint Joseph’s, meanwhile, tied for last, dropped the Hawks’ sixth straight game after an earlier buzzer-beating win at St. Bonaventure last month.

For the most part, shots not dropping – 10 more were put up from the field – contributed to the latest setback.

Positives were a 40-28 advantage in rebounding, including 16-4 on the offensive end leading to a 19-3 advantage in second chance points.

With reserves Gabby Smalls scoring 17 points, and Kaliah Henderson scoring nine, the home team had a whopping 32-11 advantage in bench points. Starter Katie Jekot scored 12.

“The outcome isn’t obviously what we wanted it to be today,” said Saint Joseph’s veteran coach Cindy Griffin. “We’ve been fighting, our kids have been fighting, I’m proud of our effort today, things didn’t go our way down the stretch, we needed to get some stops and weren’t able to do it. And we had some layups we weren’t able to convert.”

Of Smalls, Griffin said, “Gabby’s been doing that all year, the thing we’ve been trying to get out of her is some consistency. As a freshman, it’s hard but she certainly showed up today and gave us that energy.

“We’ve outshot our opponents most games – the challenging part is we’re not making them. The great thing today is we got to the foul line, but we missed eight so that kind of hurts you in a two-minute game down the stretch. We’re working hard, defensively, so it’s getting the shots and making the shots that we want.”

La Salle, which has won two straight, hosts VCU at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the front end of a doubleheader with the Explorers men’s team at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Tom Gola Arena while the same night the Hawks travel to Davidson in a game in North Carolina at 7 p.m.

Penn and Princeton Complete Another Weekend Sweep

The first half of the Ivy regular season race is over with it looking like a 5 for 4 competition for the four spots in the fourth annual tournament next month, which will be at Harvard in Boston with an NCAA bid at stake.

Actually, it’s business as usual at the top, even with new coach Carla Berube running Princeton after longtime coach Courtney Banghart left for the world of North Carolina and the Atlantic Coast Conference to rebuild the Tar Heels into the traditional power of the past.

The big news here is Penn has now shaken off the problem of a rare four-game losing streak – two here in the Big Five and two in the Ivies, those two being Princeton and Harvard.

The Quakers came through Saturday afternoon with a gritty 53-51 win at Yale in the Bulldogs’ John L. Lee Amphitheater in New Haven, Conn., which allowed Penn (15-5, 5-2 Ivy), to gain a half-game edge on Yale (15-6, 5-3), though two games behind the unstoppable Tigers (19-1, 7-0).

But some help also came in the climb with Columbia (13-8, 4-4) finally getting a break-through win over a league elite, blasting Harvard 89-64 in Levien Gym to knot the Crimson (13-7, 5-3) with Yale but only a game in front of the Lions.

Columbia is in front of Cornell and Dartmouth by two games.

In Penn’s victory, the Quakers’ fifth straight after the slide, the winners came back from a double-digit deficit in the second half.

Phoebe Sterba shot 5-or-9 to score 16 points, while Kendall Grasela and rookie Kayla Padilla each scored 11, while Tori Crawford grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, including a missed foul shot with less than three seconds left to clinch the win.

The rally from ten down in the second half to get a win was the visiting team’s largest rally this season.

The Eli got to a double digit lead with 6:23 left in the third.

Michae Jones stole an inbounds pass at the finish to get the Quakers into the winners’ column.

Penn next weekend hosts Dartmouth Friday at 7 p.m. at the Palestra and then Saturday hosts Harvard at 7 with a chance to go up three on the Crimson if Princeton helps out.

The Tigers were busy Saturday just helping themselves against the last place Bears 85-48 at Brown’s Pizzitola Sports Center in Providence, R.I.

Princeton has now won 15 straight losing just to Iowa in overtime by two points last December on the road at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The nation’s top defense allowed just six buckets in the first half.

Carlie Littlefield had 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and a block, while two-time reigning Ivy player of the year Bella Alarie had 16 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and five blocks, while Ellie Mitchell scored 13 and grabbed eight rebounds against Brown (7-14, 1-7). Maggie Connolly had 11 points off the bench.

Reversing the hosting assignments off Penn, on Friday, Princeton will host Harvard at 6 at Jadwin Gym in Central New Jersey and then host Dartmouth Saturday at 6.

The following Tuesday at 7 on Feb. 25, Princeton will host the return game with Penn at 7 p.m., the game to be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia and SNY.

All of this allows Columbia to become a bigger factor following the game with Harvard.

The Lions will be going to Brown 6 p.m. Friday night and Yale at 4 p.m. Saturday.

If Harvard gets swept by Princeton and Penn, then Columbia with a sweep could minimally tie Yale for fourth a game ahead of the Crimson if the Lions sweep.

In the game with Harvard, the visitors’ Lola Mullaney scored 12, Jeanine Boehm scored 11, and Rachel Levy scored 10.

Columbia rookie Abbey Hsu had a career-high 31 points and Sienna Durr, last season’s Ivy rookie of the year, scored 20 as the Lions had their first weekend sweep in nine seasons when they beat Yale and Brown in 2011.

“I just loved the way we shared the ball,” Hsu said on SNY’s postgame interview.

“From a total defensive standpoint, this is the kind of effort we need every day and every night,” Columbia coach Megan Griffith said.

Mikayla Markham added 12 points for the Lions. 

Rider Stays Tied for MAAC Lead as Milligan Becomes Program Wins Leader

Coming back from Tuesday’s loss to Marist at home to drop back into a tie with the Red Foxes, and then a win at Siena Thursday, the Broncs completed a three games in five days portion of the schedule winning at Manhattan College 55-50.

Snapping a tie with her college coach Eldon Price, the all-time wins leader in the program with 163 now belongs to Lynn Milligan, a former Broncs star under Price, who is in her 13th season at her alma mater after serving six seasons as an assistant at Saint Joseph’s to Cindy Griffin. She also spent a previous six seasons at Drexel.

“This is something I’ll process later,” Milligan said after the game. “It really means that I’m old and I’ve been here a long time. I’ve been blessed with tremendous assistant coaches, people around me and tremendous players.

“I’m very thankful for all of them to make something like this happen. The person that I passed was my coach, Coach Price, he’s down in Florida. I hope he’s watching, he was like a father second dad to me. It’s really special for me for me to be mentioned with him.”

As for the game with the Jaspers, Stella Johnson, the nation’s leading scorer, had a game-high 27 points against the Jaspers, who have lost three of their last four games.

Rallying, an 11-0 run carried the Broncs to a 23-21 lead at the half and they never trailed over the final two quarters.

 Johnson also had seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals, and three blocks. Lea Favre had 14 points off 7-for-14 from the field.

“This was our third game in six days on the road in a really tough place to play,” Milligan said. “Stella needed to step up for us to come out of here with a hard-fought win and that’s what she did. 

“It’s been a tough week being on the road. We knew what we were in for tonight. They are an incredibly well coached team. We had some tremendous stops and I thought we executed really well. We are really happy to get the win.”

It’s the first time Rider has been 12-2 in the MAAC passing last season’s 11-3 start over 14 games. 

Amari Johnson just missed another double double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

The Broncs next go for a season sweep visiting Quinnipiac at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Hamden, Conn.

Temple Rallies to beat Houston

The Owls joined the teams with rallies from deep deficits, ending a two-game slide by coming from 16 down to edge Houston 76-75 in an American Athletic Conference game at home in McGonigle Hall.

Mia Davis had another stellar afternoon, in this game scoring 27 points for the Owls (14-10, 6-5), who fell 16 behind the Cougars (12-14, 5-7) in the first quarter.

Temple moved to sixth but just a game behind three teams in front and likely four on Sunday if USF falls at home to No. 5 Connecticut.

The Owls had a season-high eight steals. 

Davis also had seven rebounds while Ashley Jones had 22 points and a game-high eight assists, and Lena Niang had 11 points.

The Cougars bolted to an 11-0 lead, but Temple closed the quarter on a 10-0 run.

Jones hit a foul shot for a three-point lead with six seconds left in regulation and Houston came down but scored on just a layup to finish a point short of forcing overtime.

Temple next plays next door Wednesday in the larger Liacouras Center hosting Memphis in a league game at noon in the annual school day 

Nationally Noted: Old Dominion Alone at the top of C-USA

Two days after Old Dominion’s landmark upset of Rice in overtime the Lady Monarchs are alone in first in Conference -USA courtesy of Charlotte’s follow-up takedown of Rice 62-51 in North Carolina while ODU held on to win at home in Norfolk, Va., over North Texas 71-66.

At 22-3 ODU good enough to earn a ranking for the first time in 11 seasons while Princeton also has a claim to return.

Small Colleges: Wins to USciences, Holy Family, Jefferson, Rowan While Lincoln Upset

The stage is set for Tuesday’s showdown at USciences 5:30 p.m. hosting Holy Family in Southwest Philadelphia near The Palestra, though from the visiting Tigers it may be more about sending a message.

Holy Family at home in its Campus Center Gymnasium in Northeast Philadelphia earlier upset the Devils in the opener of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC), the same way the Tigers had done in the title game of the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Certified Women’s Basketball Summer League several months earlier.

USciences hadn’t lost since, however, while the Tigers, under first-year coach and former star Bernadette Laukaitis, who had been an associate at Penn under Mike McLaughlin, recently hit a two-game slide to drop a game behind the Devils and then yielded a big lead last week and lost by a basket.

So with two in front the host Devils can clinch a top seed out of the South Division but the Tigers can still prove to be dangerous with an upset heading to the looming playoffs.

Both teams won their games Saturday.

USciences, ranked 18th in the D-II WBCA Coaches Poll easily triumphed at Felician 88-58 in Rutherford, N.J., for the 16th straight win by the Devils (22-3, 15-1 CACC), who bolted to a 27-4 advantage through the first quarter.

Jordan Vitelli scored 16 points, Jess Huber scored 12, and Irisa Ye scored 11 against the Golden Falcons (3-19, 2-13). 

The Devils with 27 assists were just one short of the record set on Jan. 19, 2011, dating all the way back to 2005-06.

 A win Tuesday clinches a fourth straight South title and fifth in the last six years.

Holy Family, meanwhile, had another close one, but outlasted Caldwell University 56-52 at home Saturday to clinch a postseason berth after breaking a 31-31 tie late in the third period.

Elizabeth Radley had her sixth-leading double double for the Tigers (15-9, 13-3 CACC), scoring 11 points and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds, while freshman Moe Moore had her fifth, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, while Casey Schweitzer had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Mia Ehling scored 12 against Caldwell (7-18, 7-9).

The win snapped a five-game losing streak in the series.

The Tigers will be heading to next month’s tournament after missing the field last season. 

Meanwhile, Jefferson, despite earlier struggles, continues to prove as a late season threat, beating Nyack 79-40 at home in the Gallagher Center for the fifth straight win by the Rams (13-11, 9-6).

Alynna Williams had 14 points and six rebounds and five assists, while Sabria Lytes had 11 points, and freshman Morgan Robinson and Haley Meinel each scored 10 points against Nyack (8-14, 6-9).

 It was coach Tom Shirley’s 790th win, of which 641 have come with the Rams.

Jefferson, which hosts Georgian Court Tuesday at the Gallagher Center at 6 p.m., is holding the fourth and final playoff spot out of the South Division with four games remaining.

The Rams are tied with Chestnut Hill but would lose the spot on a head-to-head tie-breaker. They meet again on Feb. 22 next Saturday. Goldey-Beacom is a game behind.

Career Night for Caldwell Carries Rowan to Win at Rutgers-Newark

Paige Caldwell had a game and career-high 18 points to keep Rowan in first place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference after a 78-63 win in Newark, N.J. She also had seven rebounds.

Alexis Kiley and Savanna Holt each scored 13 points for the Profs (21-3, 15-2, NJAC) while Nicole Mallard scored 11 and grabbed a career-high eight steals, and Ayanna Johnson had 13 rebounds and three blocks.

Hannah Ashby had 17 points for the Scarlet Raiders (4-20, 2-15).

Rowan finishes the regular season home Wednesday hosting Kean University at 6 p.m. in Glassboro, N.J.

Montclair State remains a game behind after beating Stockton at home 75-52 and travels to Rutgers-Camden at 6 p.m.

The two teams split their season series.

The NJAC tourney quarterfinals begin Saturday.

Lincoln Win Streak Snapped

The Lions’ 10 game win streak was snapped a game after Lincoln set a season record for triumphs, falling to Virginia Union University 62-47 in Barco-Stevens Hall in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) game in Richmond, Va.

It was the first loss for Lincoln (23-4, 12-2 CIAA) in North Division games, where they are now 6-1.

Shooting did the Lions in with a mediocre 28.1 percent from the field.

DeAshia Young had 12 points against the Panthers (20-3, 11-2), while Joy Morton scored eight.

 Lincoln’s next game, the regular season finale, is at Bowie State in Bowie, Md., Saturday at 2 p.m.

Looking Ahead: Drexel Goes for Sweep at Delaware to Stay Alone in First in CAA

Only five of the Guru’s local D-1 teams play Sunday and two go against each other with the second of the annual two-game rivalry games in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) between Drexel and Delaware.

Drexel won the first meeting at home last month 63-59 in overtime and the Dragons meet Delaware at the Blue Hens’ Bob Carpenter Center at 1 p.m. in Newark, Del. 

The home team is celebrating National Girls & Women in Sports Day with the game televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia and SNY.

The Dragons (17-6, 10-1 CAA) will look to extend their 10-game win streak that began on the conference’s opening weekend with a loss at Charleston followed by an overtime triumph at UNCW to get the streak under way.

A recent lopsided win at home in the Daskalakis Athletic Center over preseason favorite James Madison allowed Drexel to go into sole possession for first place ahead of the Dukes with the meeting down in Harrisonburg, Va., coming at the end of the regular season.

Two of the conference’s top players will be against each other Sunday in Bailey Greenberg for Drexel and Nicole Enabosi for Delaware (9-13, 5-6). 

Both have won CAA player of the year honors the previous two seasons with Greenberg’s coming last year when Enabosi was sidelined with a knee injury.

In the other locals in action, Villanova is at Georgetown in the nation’s capital playing a Big East game looking for a sweep of the Hoyas when the two will meet at 2 p.m.

Next Sunday, when No. 13 DePaul visits Finneran Pavilion, will be the last regular season home game for Wildcats coach Harry Perretta, who is retiring at the conclusion of his 42nd season, all on the Main Line.

Th other two teams are the Big Ten duo of Rutgers, trying to finish in the top six for a first-round bye in the conference tournament, and Penn State, which is just trying to win.

Rutgers will be hosting Michigan at noon, in the game in Piscataway, N.J., while Penn State will be hosting No. 10 and first place Maryland at 2 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.

Nationally, No. 5 Connecticut, likely to be heading out of the Top Five for the first time since Feb. 5, 2007, after the Huskies’ bashing last Monday from No. 1 South Carolina, will be at South Florida at 2 p.m., one of the few teams capable of challenging the Huskies in the conference where they are unbeaten lifetime. 

UConn is heading for the Big East after this season.

Texas A&M is at No. 25 Tennessee, Sunday, with the host Lady Vols in danger of falling from the poll following its loss Thursday at LSU.

No. 3 Oregon following Friday’s rout of UCLA in Los Angeles is across town at Southern Cal trying to hold its one-game lead in the PAC-12, while Oregon State, which has slid to No. 11, visits UCLA Monday night.

And that’s the report.























Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Guru Report: Penn and Princeton Get Ivy Wins

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Penn and Princeton got their Ivy road trips off to a successful start in the two games involving Guru local D-1 teams Friday night, while out West in the super-charged PAC-12 conference in two games of note, No. 3 Oregon had little difficulty visiting No. 7 UCLA for an 80-66 outcome but across town unranked Southern Cal upset No. 11 Oregon State 72-66.

Parker Excels in Penn Win Giving Coach McLaughlin a Career Milestone

Vintage Elena Parker continued her play of last weekend with a 26-point, 17-rebound performance to lead the Quakers to an 85-73 Ivy win at Brown in the Bears’ Pizzitola Sports Center in Providence, R.I., resulting in coach Mike McLaughlin earning his 600th career victory.

It’s the fourth straight win for the Quakers (14-5, 4-2 Ivy) following a rare four-game losing streak that had setbacks to Princeton and Harvard in the league and at Villanova and Temple in the Philadelphia Big Five as McLaughlin became the 19th active coach to get to 600.

When he won 400 at the time, he was the fastest of any coach at any NCAA level to reach that milestone.

His latest milestone comes in his 11th season at Penn following a long career at Holy Family, which he built to a Division II powerhouse in Northeast Philadelphia. 

With his record with the Quakers now at 193-121, he is close to the 200-win at Penn, Overall, he is 600-182.

Tom Shirley at Division II Jefferson is getting close to his 700th victory.

The Quakers, with one more stop on the weekend trip coming Saturday, are now in fourth, two games ahead of Columbia in the loss column but could move up at least one more spot with an eye to the Ivy tourney next month at Harvard where the top four teams in both the men’s and women’s  competition get to play in the two-day affair chasing an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.

Parker, who had been one of the city’s top individual forces her first two seasons, seemed off the mark this time until several weeks ago. 

Against Brown (7-3, 1-6), she registered her fourth double double her last six games with her points just three off her personal best.

The native of Charlotte, N.C., also had four blocks. 

Kennedy Suttle came off the bench to provide a career-high 13 points and 10 rebounds, making it the first time in almost a year the Quakers had two players in the same game achieve double doubles.

Rookie sensation Kayla Padilla scored 18 out of the backcourt, the 15th time she’s scored at least 15 points, while Kendall Grasela just missed a career mark getting nine rebounds, one short of her personal best.

Penn on the way back home on Saturday travels to Yale for a 4 p.m. tip in the John L. Lee Amphitheater at 4 p.m. in New Haven, Conn.

Princeton Getting Separation After Win at Yale

Dropping behind 12-0 it seemed Yale might disrupt Princeton’s win streak and bring the two-time defending Ivy tourney champions back to the pack. 

That goal still seemed plausible with a Bulldogs’ 18-10 advantage with 7:57 left in the half.

But then the Tigers had enough and tossed their No. 1 defense in the NCAA at Yale to rally to a 55-39 victory in the Lee Amphitheater in New Haven, Conn., and open a two-game lead in the loss column on Yale (15-5, 5-2 Ivy) and Harvard (14-6, 5-2) that could do some more growing pending Saturday’s results.

The Bulldogs began the day with the top scoring offense in the Ivies (73.6) and were held 34.6 points below that average – their lowest scoring total since Feb. 28, 2015.

Princeton (18-1, 6-0) has now won 14 straight games with the Tigers’ sole setback early in the season by two points in overtime at Iowa.

Carlie Littlefield had a game-high 20 points for the visitors, scoring 14 in the second half, while two-time reigning Ivy player of the year Bella Alarie had nine points and 10 rebounds, while Ellie Mitchell had 14 rebounds.

Princeton finishes the weekend going north first before heading home, playing at Brown in Providence, R.I., with a tip called for 5 p.m.

PAC-12: Oregon Maintains Lead as Ionescu Sets Another Mark While USC Upsets Oregon State

Several weeks ago, Oregon State was poised to be the second team from the state to earn a first-ever No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press women’s poll before beginning an intermittent series of narrow losses, the latest being the now No. 11 Beavers being upended by unranked Southern Cal 72-66 Friday night at the Trojans’ Galen Center in Los Angeles.

Alissa Pili had 26 points and 13 rebounds for USC (13-11, 5-8 PAC-12), while Aliyah Jeune scored 12 points.

Mikayla Pivec scored 16 points for the Beavers (19-6, 7-6), now fifth in the PAC-12, while Taylor Jones and Destiny Slocum each scored 12.

It was a bad day for Oregon State before arriving at the game off the news from the PAC-12 office that coach Scott Rueck had been reprimanded for comments on the officiating following last weekend’s loss to Arizona.

The Beavers go to UCLA Monday night.

Meanwhile, No. 3 Oregon, which began as preseason No. 1, then slipped a bit, but has been rolling since routing then-No. 4 Connecticut two weeks on the Huskies’ campus, gained the upper hand in another conference battle of Top 10 teams, winning at No. 7 UCLA 80-66.

It was another milestone occasion for Ducks senior Sabrina Ionescu, likely the overall No. 1 pick in April’s WNBA draft, who had 18 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. She also joined former Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot as the only two NCAA players with 2,000-plus points and 1000-plus assists.

Her 24 career triple doubles are tops for both men and women in NCAA history.

Oregon’s coach Kelly Graves coached both, having mentored Vandersloot when he previously was with the Zags.

However, the buzz in the arena in this one in the Bruins’ Pauley Plavilion in Los Angeles, was as much over Ruthy Hebard, who had 30 points and 17 rebounds for Oregon (23-2, 12-1 Pac-12), which is a game in front of Stanford and two in front of UCLA (21-3, 10-3).

“We knew unless they had someone quickly become eligible, they weren’t going to be able to match up with her,” Graves said after Oregon won its 11th straight game. “We worked all week on getting the ball to her. She is too big and skilled for them.”

Michaela Onyenwere had 23 points for the Bruins and Japrece Dean scored 14. UCLA only connected on two of its 23 attempts on 3-point shots.

“I think UCLA is playing the best basketball in the country now,” said UCL coach Cori Close, whose squad had a 14-game home win streak snapped. “They are really talented.”

Oregon finishes the weekend in Kos Angeles Sunday visiting Southern Cal.

Hall of Fame Bound?

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., named eight finalists for this year’s induction at the end of the summer, highlighted by the recently deceased Kobe Bryant.

The announcement came at the NBA All-Star events in Chicago.

Three of the finalists emerged from the women’s subcommittee, which could have forwarded a fourth, and the trio are former WNBA and Tennessee star Tamika Catchings, announced earlier this week as an inductee this June in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, a former Louisiana Tech star who has guided the Bears to three NCAA titles, including last season, and Bentley’s Barb Stevens, who has won over 1,000 games.

Mulkey and Stevens are past finalists and are both previous inductees to the women’s hall in Tennessee.

Former UConn star Swin Cash, also named earlier this week to the women’s hall, did not make it out of the subcommittee, which considered several other candidates, including former Immaculata star and new WNBA Indiana Fever coach Marianne Stanley, who was an assistant on the champion Washington Mystics last fall.

The women’s veteran group did not name a direct elect this season but former Immaculata star Theresa Grentz is considered a leading candidate.

Looking Ahead:  Temple Goes After Conference Bye

The Owls, one of six Guru local D-1 teams playing Saturday, two against each other, will try to snap a two-game skid when Temple hosts Houston, at 2 p.m. in an American Athletic Conference game at McGonigle Hall.

Coach Tonya Cardoza’s group is looking to land in the upper part of the standings to earn a bye in next month’s Americcan tourney, likely the last to be played at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut since UConn heads  to the Big East, which is under discussion to take over the site for its playoffs.

La Salle, coming off a win Wednesday at George Washington, visits Saint Joseph’s at 2 p.m. at the Hawks’ Hagan Arena trying for a sweep in their Atlantic 10 series  after snapping a seven-game skid against the Hawks last month at Tom Gola Arena.

 That game also counted in the Big Five final standings, which had already been won in a tie with Temple and Villanova.

Already mentioned, Penn and Princeton continue their Ivy weekend road trip with the Quakers at Yale while the Tigers are at Brown.

Rider, a half-game behind Marist, will be after its second straight win in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference  when the Broncs, whose 14-game win streak had been snapped at home by Marist, visit Manhattan College in Riverdale, N.Y. at 2 p.m.

On Sunday, Drexel will look to expand its 10-game win streak and stay ahead of preseason favorite James Madison in the Colonial Athletic Association and claim a season sweep over geographic rival Delaware when the Dragons travel to play the Blue Hens at 1 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

In their meeting last month in Philadelphia, Drexel won narrowly pulling the game out in overtime.

Villanova will look to move up a spot in the Big East when the Wildcats travel to Georgetown for a 2 p.m. game in the nation’s capital. They beat the Hoyas at Villanova in the first meeting last month.

Next Sunday when DePaul visits is veteran Villanova coach Harry Perretta’s final regular season home game heading into retirement after 42 seasons with the Wildcats.

In the Big Ten, the local duo of Penn State and Rutgers are home, with the Lady Lions hosting No. 10 Maryland at 2 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center, while the Scarlet Knights will host Michigan at noon in Piscataway, N.J.

Earlier Friday, Rutgers announced that Nola Peleg Pelc, an Israeli, was leaving the program and putting herself in the NCAA transfer portal.

Small Colleges: Teams Jockeying with Streaks and Standings Slots at Stake

Everyone among the locals in the Guru’s radar are playing Saturday.

Rowan, with a one-game lead over Montclair State and two games remaining before the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament, will be at Rutgers-Newark in North Jersey at 2 p.m. in a Division III contest.

In the Division II Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC), USciences has a 15-game win streak and two-game lead on Holy Family in the South Division when the Devils travel to Felician in North Jersey at 1 p.m. before hosting Holy Family next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Bobby Morgan Arena in Southwest Philadelphia.

Holy Family, which upset the Devils in the CACC opener at home, stayed ahead until a two-game losing streak dropped the Tigers into second place and after halting the slide they took another narrow loss Wednesday to Goldey-Beacom, squandering a huge lead.

The Tigers host Caldwell University at 1 p.m. at Campus Center in Northeast Philadelphia.

Jefferson, which has played better of late and is now over .500 overall, hosts Nyack at 2 p.m.

And D-II Lincoln, with a record 23 wins overall, continues finishing on the road in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), visiting nationally ranked Virginia Union at 2 p.m. and then returning to action next Saturday at Bowie State in Bowie, Md.

And that’s the report.










Friday, February 14, 2020

The Guru Report: Lincoln Sets Win Mark; Olden Days Return for ODU

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Rider bounced back, Rutgers and Penn State got bounced around again, Lincoln set another record, and some pay-attention results on the national scene with Old Dominion upsetting Rice in overtime, Maryland thumping Iowa in the Big Ten, Louisville snapping North Carolina State in the ACC, and LSU handling Tennessee in the SEC.

Let’s go to the action:

Lincoln Keeps Streaking and Sets Lions Win Record

  In the only small college action Thursday night on the Guru’s ongoing local radar, Lincoln on the road made it program record number 10 straight and program record 23 overall wins on the season by beating Virginia State University 65-58 in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) game played in Ettrick, Va.

The D-II Lions are now 23-3 overall, 12-1 in the CIAA (figures the Guru was there for that one setback), and 6-0 against North Division foes with two division games left on the schedule while the Trojans drop to 9-17 overall and 4-9 in the league.

They are also 17th in the D2SIDA poll and the top also ran in the WBCA D-2 national coaches’ poll.

Lincoln’s Bryanna Brown and Kenzie Spencer each scored 11 points while Joy Morton had a team-high nine rebounds.

In her 17th game and fourth straight the Lions’ DeAshia Young dished the five assists or more plateau dealing exactly five against the home team. 

Though Lincoln kept building comfortable leads, some into double digits, the Trojans kept rallying and the Lions were only up by three 56-53 with 5 minutes, 26 seconds left in regulation.

Lincoln was able to get away from that slim margin only to see VSU pull within five with 30 seconds left.

Morton, however, clinched the win and the records on the next possession with a pair of foul shots with seven seconds left.

Lincoln next visits nationally ranked Virginia Union on Saturday at 2 p.m. 

The Lions then get the week off game action until the following Saturday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m. when they visit Bowie State in Bowie, Md.

Rider Returns to Winning Form

Following Tuesday night’s near-comeback against preseason favorite Marist that put the Red Foxes back in front by a half-game in the win column, the Broncs stopped their two-game drought, preventing further slippage and went on to a solid 69-38 win over Siena in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) game played at Loudonville, N.Y., in suburban Albany.

Stella Johnson, the nation’s scoring leader in Division I, continued her attack on the basket, scoring a game-high 22 points, while grabbing six steals and dealing five assists.

Amari Johnson was back in harness collecting double doubles, in this one, she had 14 points and 12 rebounds for a MAAC-leading 14th in the category. 

Lea Favre, who had an uncharacteristically bad shooting night against Marist, scored 14 points and Amanda Mobley had 11 for Rider (18-4, 11-2 MAAC).

The win gave the Broncs a season sweep of the Saints (8-14, 6-7).

“This game was about us,” said Rider veteran coach Lynn Milligan. “I think that the biggest thing that we did today that we didn’t do the last two games was start well. I was really happy with the way we came out today, particularly on the defensive end.

“We’re built on our defense. Everything we do with our flow comes from our defense.”

The win tied Milligan with Eldon Price for most Rider victories by a women’s coach with 162.

The defense forced 28 turnovers that was worth 32 points for the Broncs.

Stella Johnson has now scored 1,970 points in her career as Rider heads to Manhattan College in Riverdale, N.Y., Saturday at 2 p.m. going after a sweep of the Jaspers, who upset Quinnipiac 77-62 to knock the longtime reigning rulers of the MAAC three games back in the loss column behind Marist and the Broncs.

Big Ten: Penn State and Rutgers Drop Again While Maryland Trounces Iowa

Only two others of the locals in the Guru’s 11-team Division I group played and has been the trend in recent weeks, Rutgers lost narrowly, this time 57-53 at Michigan State in Lansing, while Penn State got whacked at Nebraska, 75-58.

Elsewhere in the conference in a major showdown with first place on the line No. 10 Maryland avenged an earlier loss, beating No. 17 Iowa 93-50 at home in the Xfinity Center in College Park.

Northwestern kept pace, edging Michigan on the road 66-60 at Ann Arbor.

The Terrapins (21-4, 12-2 Big Ten) are now a half-game in front of Northwestern (21-3, 11-2) in the win column and split with the Wildcats, while Iowa (20-5, 11-3) drops to third.

Rutgers (17-7, 7-6) is now sixth in an exact tie conference-wise with Michigan (16-8, 7-6), while Penn State (7-18, 1-13) is at the bottom of the 14-team league and the win by Nebraska (16-9,  9-8) has the Cornhuskers in ninth.

In the narrowly fought Rutgers game, Jordan Wallace had a career-high 19 points against the Spartans (12-12, 5-8) who are 10th.

The Scarlet Knights missed a potential game-tying layup and forced to foul, sent Michigan State to the line to finish the victory with four straight free throws.

Wallace also grabbed nine rebounds and Arella Guirantes scored 12.

The game was heading Rutgers’ way in terms of victory until the Spartans near the end launched a 10-0 run propelled by a pair of three-balls to erase a 12-point deficit and go ahead by four approaching the final minute of regulation.

The top four seeds get double byes in the Big Ten tourney at Indianapolis, while the next six teams get a first-round bye.

The Scarlet Knights begin their final five games, four of which are at home, on Sunday in the Rutgers Athletic Center hosting Michigan at noon in Piscataway, N.J. 

Penn State, meanwhile, continues to struggle under first-year coach Carolyn Kieger, formerly at Marquette.

On the road in this one at Lincoln, Neb., at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Lady Lions allowed four Huskers scoring in double figures, paced by Leigha Brown’s game-high 20 points, while Ashtyn Veerbeek was next with 12.

Penn State held its own in the first half, trailing 32-31, before Nebraska exploded for 26 points in the third quarter, while the visitors scored just 12.

Freshman Makenna Marisa had 15 points for the Lady Lions, who return home Sunday to the Bryce Jordan Center to host Maryland at 2 p.m.

The Terrapins,Thursday night, had Kaila Charles score 21 points in their win over the Hawkeyes, which was their 10th straight overall. 

Iowa came into the game on an 11-of-12 streak that had Maryland in their earlier meeting victimized at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Freshman Ashley Owusu had 17 points and 10 assists, while Shakira Austin scored 20, while Stephanie Jones was 8-for-8 from the floor on the way to 16 points.

Iowa’s Monika Czinano scored 15 while Kathleen Doyle scored 10. The Hawkeyes were forced into 27 turnovers.

Nationally Noted: Old Dominion Highlights Night of Upsets

It’s been over a decade since the Lady Monarchs were close to the legendary group paced by Nancy Lieberman, Inge Nissen, and the late Anne Donovan, that won two national titles in the pre-NCAA era and another one in 1985.

Ten years ago, ODU was still regionally strong dominating the Colonial Athletic Association until Drexel finally took them down.

On Thursday night, under third-year coach Nikki McCray-Penson,  a former Tennessee star and assistant to Dawn Staley at South Carolina, the Lady Monarchs made it yesterday once more, ending Rice’s 30-game run in Conference USA with a 66-59 win in overtime at home before an energized crowd of 2,732, in Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Va.

The win means ODU (21-3, 11-1C-USA) and Rice (16-7, 11-1) are tied for first, but ODU holds the tie break for the top seed in next month’s tournament.

Ajah Wayne had 21 points for the Lady Monarchs, while Amari Young had15 points and 11 rebounds, and Taylor Edwards scored 14.

Erica Ogwumike, the younger sister of former Stanford stars Nnemkadi and Chiney who play with the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks, had 26 points and 18 rebounds.

ODU led most of regulation but went cold at the finish allowing the Owls to tie and force the extra five minutes.

A three-pointer from Victoria Morris, who did not have her normal hot shooting night, elevated ODU in the overtime to a 62-55 lead and the win.

It’s the first triumph against Rice for ODU, who joined C-USA leaving the CAA several years ago.

The two play again in Texas on the final game of the regular season.

“These fans who have been to the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight, they were in the stands,” said McCray-Penson, whose first season record was 8-23. The last NCAA appearance for the program was 2008.

“They were just energized. We wanted it for them. We wanted it for our alumni. We wanted it for all of the players who have won this Old Dominion uniform and for all of the coaches who came before us.”

Ironically, in her playing days, McCray was able to give them a few heartbreaks in one of the great national rivalries before the UConn-Tennessee series came to the front.

“In order for us to be an elite team, you’ve got to win big games,” McCray said. “We beat a very good basketball team tonight, a championship team, and they fought hard, and they fought hard.

“We were home and the ball rolled our way. We got some stops when we needed to and scored some buckets in transition, and that’s what you got to do.”

The Lady Monarchs have won nine straight and are unbeaten at home (12-0).

“I think people are paying attention to us now,” Wayne said.

(this section was sourced in the email story by Harry Minimum)

ACC: Louisville Puts the Brakes on North Carolina State

Speaking of olden times, a couple of losses by preseason favorite Louisville and a relatively unscathed run had placed North Carolina State to its best status in years dating to the times the late Kay Yow had the Wolfpack as ongoing  residents of the top five and ongoing top 10 portion of the Associated Press women’s poll.

Thanks to Jazmine Jones with 19 points and a tough defense, the No. 9 Cardinals stopped any further slippage in grabbing a 66-59 win over the host Wolfpack (22-2, 11-2 ACC), who rose to fourth this week in the weekly poll, their highest in several decades since January, 2000.

Louisville (22-3, 11-2) had lost two straight games but the win now has the Cardinals tied with N.C. State atop the ACC heading for the stretch drive.

Kyle Shook had 10 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots for the visitors.

Just as ODU was energized in the C-USA showdown for first place, a sellout crowd filled Reynolds Coliseum in the game played in Raleigh, but they did not get the same result as the Lady Monarchs fans.

 Though the Wolfpack were ranked among the statistical leaders in three-point shooting, they were just 5-for-20, and shot 32 percent overall for the game.

Shook was able to contain Elissa Cunane, who was averaging 17 points and 10.5 rebounds per game but was held to 10 points, shooting 1-for-10 from the field. N.C. State’s Kayla Jones scored 17.

Had Louisville lost, it would have been the first three-game slide in eight seasons. The Wolfpack last won the ACC regular season 30 years ago in 1989-90, the first season that UConn became a ranked team.

SEC: Tennessee Felled by LSU

Nikki McCray-Penson wasn’t the only coach with Tennessee DNA having great moments Thursday night.

In fact, Nikki Fargas (Caldwell) drew her enjoyment directly from having her unranked LSU squad down her alma mater, No. 25 Tennessee, 75-65, in a Southeastern Conference game played at the Tigers’ home in Baton Rouge, La.

Khayla Pointer had 24 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists, while Awa Trashi nailed five treys on the way to 22 points and LSU (18-5, 8-3 SEC) handed the Lady Vols (17-7, 7-4), under first-year coach and another former player in Kellie Harper, their third straight loss.

That setback compiled with No. 5 Connecticut’s pounding by top-ranked South Carolina Monday night could create a first in the next AP Poll coming Monday – the Huskies out of the Top five and Tennessee unranked in the same week.

Of course, this dates to UConn’s first ranking, which is the Huskies’ 30th anniversary this week with an appearance on Feb. 12, 1990.

By then, Tennessee was on a record streak of 500 plus appearances and UConn has been in the Top 5 for 253 straight weeks dating to Feb. 5, 2007.

So, over that combined span one or the other or both occurred.

As for the rest of the game details from Thursday, Tennessee was right there until LSU broke loose in the fourth quarter outscoring the visitors 26-17.

The win gives the teams a split in the season series with the Lady Vols winning the first, 63-58, last month when Rennia Davis scored 30 in Knoxville. In this one, she had 19 of which 15 came in the second half.

Next Hall of Fame Action: Cash and Catchings on the Road to a Double? Justice for Mulkey and Grentz?

After Swin Cash, former WNBA and UConn star, and Tamika Catchings, likewise, except change the school to Tennessee, were announced Monday as part of this spring’s Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame class in Knoxville, expect the duo to be among the finalists when the Naismith Hall announces the next stage in Atlanta at 5 p.m., where the NBA All-Star game activities are this weekend.

It will be poignant in that Kobe Bryant was on the list of first time eligibles for the Hall located in Springfield, Mass.

A maximum of four women from the subcommittee are allowed on the finalists list.

Another who was considered and should be a frontrunner is Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, who has been bypassed twice but deserves induction. Last year only three were put forward. 

Others who could emerge are former Immaculata star Marianne Stanley, but she is considered for a coach who won three national titles at Old Dominion, and now will be first year coach with the WNBA Indiana Fever.

Val Still, former Kentucky and WNBA star from Palmyra, N.J., was inducted in Knoxville last summer.

Barbara Stevens, who has won over 1,000 games as a coach, mostly at Bentley, is a past finalist, while Becky Hammon, as much with the added notoriety as an NBA assistant coach, wouldn’t be a shock.

Also,a recently created women’s veteran committee gets a direct-elect so it would be nice to hear former Immaculata star Theresa Grentz’s name be called. She is listed under her maiden name, Theresa Shank.

Looking Ahead: Ivy Night/Weekend for Penn and Princeton

Only two of the Guru’s D-1 crowd play Friday night heading into weekend on Valentine's Day and both are traveling the Ivy League circuit.

Princeton (17-1, 5-0 Ivy), which is rolling, can put some distance behind the crowd in seeking a third straight regular season title (they shared with Penn last year), when the Tigers travel to Yale for a 6 p.m. tip in New Haven, Conn., at the John J. Lee Amphitheater while Penn (13-5, 3-2) at the same hour will look to continue off last weekend’s sweep at home when the Quakers play at Brown at the Pizzitola Sports Center in Providence, R.I.

Nationally, the game of the night is late for those looking to view from the East Coast, as No. 3 Oregon visits No. 7 UCLA in Los Angeles at 11 p.m. here in a game with first place implications in the PAC-12.

A key Big East game has No. 13 DePaul hosting Butler in Chicago.

On Saturday, La Salle travels to Saint Joseph’s at 2 p.m. for the second game in their season series in the Atlantic 10. The Explorers will be coming off a win Wednesday at George Washington. 

In their previous meeting, the Explorers ended a seven-game slide against the Hawks last month in Tom Gola Arena and that one was also the final Big Five game of the season that had already been co-shared claimed by Temple and Villanova.

At the same time the Explorers and Hawks tip Saturday in Hagan Arena, Temple will be hosting Houston at 2 p.m., playing in McGonigle Hall, trying to stop a two-game slide in the American Athletic Conference. 

Both teams are battling for a top six finish to earn a bye in the tourney next month at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.

The Ivy travelers switch off sites on Saturday as Penn visits Yale at 4 p.m. in New Haven while Princeton will be at Brown at 5 p.m.

Rider, as mentioned, will be at Manhattan College in Riverdale, N.Y., Saturday going for a sweep.

On Sunday, as mentioned, in the Big Ten duo, Rutgers is hosting Michigan at noon, while Penn State is hosting Maryland at 2 p.m.

Drexel, in the Dragons’  one game of the weekend, trying to keep both a win streak and hold of first place in the CAA, travels to finish its season series with Delaware, looking for a sweep playing the Blue Hens at 1 p.m. in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

Villanova, in its lone Big East game, travels to the nation’s capital looking for a sweep of Georgetown at 2 p.m. in the Big East.

Nationally, with a perfect record lifetime in The American conference but a pounding in its last national game, losing Monday at South Carolina, there’s some intrigue with UConn traveling to South Florida at 2 p.m. since the Bulls are considered one of the better programs capable of a challenge.

No. 16 Texas A&M is at Tennessee, with the Vols looking to recover from Thursday’s loss to LSU.

On Monday, Oregon State is at UCLA to finish the prime games in the PAC-12.

On Saturday with all the smalls playing, Rowan will looking to move closer to clinch the top seed in the NJAC, while same for USciences in the CACC South, with Holy Family hoping to get closer before their second meeting Tuesday in Southwest Philadelphia. Jefferson also has a game. 

And that is your report.