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, December 02, 2021

The Guru Report: Villanova, Rider, Princeton Gain Narrow Victories While Rutgers Drops Fourth Straight and Ranked Oregon and Ohio State Also Upset Victims

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Villanova got ready for its first wading into the Big East pool this weekend by rallying and avoiding an upset, beating defending Patriot League champion Lehigh 65-60 Wednesday night at home in the Wildcats’ Finneran Pavilion.

Among the locals, Princeton gained a nifty upset via poll designation with a narrow 57-55 road win at No. 21 Florida Gulf Coast 57-55 in Fort Meyers, while Rider snapped its season-opening five-game losing streak, beating NJIT 64-59 at home in Alumni Gymnasium in Lawrenceville, N.J.

Rutgers, however, in the opening night of the Big Ten/Atlantic Coast Conference Challenge, dropped its fourth straight, losing at rising Pittsburgh 58-50.

Also as part of the challenge’s 2-4 performance on Wednesday, the Big Ten’s No. 18 Ohio State was ambushed at Syracuse 97-91.

No. 18 Oregon, which was tied in this week’s Associated Press women’s rankings with the Buckeyes,  were also an upset victim, losing to visiting UC Davis 64-57.

At Villanova (3-3), which evened its early season record, the Wildcats trailed the Mountain Hawks 47-39 early in the final period and suddenly erupted with 24 points over the final 9:25 to rally over Lehigh (5-3).

The comeback began with successive shots beyond the arc from Brooke Mullin.

Lehigh, however, countered with a shot from deep from Megan Walker to give the visitors a five-point advantage with just over six minutes left in regulation.

But Villanova then erupted on a 7-0 outburst on a layup from Bella Runyan and a three and driving score from Lior Garzon to take a 56-54 edge with 3:16 left.

Inside the final minute, the Wildcats were up 60-59 before Lehigh’s Mackenzie Kramer tied it on 1-of-2 from the line.

Garzon, the Israeli celebrating Hanukah week, put ‘Nova up two on a layup but Lehigh going for another tie committed a turnover and the home team wrapped up the win making 3-of-4 from the line.

Freshman Lucy Olsen scored 22 points, shooting 7-of-14 from the field, while Mullin had a career-high with 16 points, three from deep, and had five rebounds and a personal best five steals.

Grad student Brianna Hurlihy scored eight and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

Lehigh’s Emma Grothaus scored 16 points and Frannie Hottinger scored 12, while Kramer and Walker each scored 10.

By winning, Villanova extended the series mastery to 11-1 and 27-8 all-time against other Patriot League outfits.

There were 11 ties and seven flips of the score, in which at one instance in the third the Mountain Hawks took a 13-point lead.

“Obviously, we didn’t do a great job tonight of handling their pressure,” Lehigh coach Sue Troyan said. “Without Claire (Steele) for us, we had a younger set of point guards out there.

“Give Villanova a lot of credit. They earned the win. They did a good job of turning us over and not allowing us to get comfortable offensively in the fourth quarter and they really put  the pressure on us. That’s an area we need to get better at,” Troyan said.

“It’s going to be frustrating for our girls because it’s a game we should have won, honestly had we handled the pressure better. It’s just something we need to learn from going forward.”

Villanova will be on the road in Big East opening weekend, visiting Providence Friday at 7 on Flohoops, and  at Creighton in Omaha,  Nebraska, Sunday, at 2 p.m., also on Flohoops.

Rider Gets First Victory:  The Broncs broke from a 56-56 tie with three minutes left to go on a closing 8-3 run and finish with a 64-59 victory over NJIT (4-4) at home.

Lenaejha Evans hit from the top of the key to snap the deadslock and stay in front the rest of the way.

Eight seconds were left when the Highlanders were in position to seek a tie and force overtime but Amanda Mobley stole an inbound pass and went to the line after being fouled and hit both free throws.

Rider (1-5) built an 11-point lead near the end off the third only to yield an NJIT 14-3 lead to tie the game off a pair of three-pointers from Maria Faux. The game then went indecisive off three more deadlocks before the Broncs finished.

“A pretty good game for us and one that we needed,” said Rider veteran coach Lynn Milligan. “We needed to get ourselves on the winning side of things. I thought we had some really good possession, and overall I thought it was a good home win, and a good stepping stone for us.

“It’s nice to see these ladies get rewarded for the work they put in the last few weeks,” Milligan said.

“I think every game is going to be different for us. We need to be smart with our numbers, and we got a couple of breakouts today. We definitely did a better job not giving up fast break points. We put an onus on that in practice, because I think we can be a pretty good defensive when we’re back and set.”

Raphaela Toussaint commented, “Coach always says, `The play isn’t over until the ball is in the basket.’ So going into every ppossession with that mentality and doo whatever I can to help the team.’

“Defense is something we work on constantly in practice, and we are building that mentality of keeping people in front of us and relying on each other. We’re just buying into that.”

Evans finished with a new career high again, this time with 22 points, while Toussaint had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Makayla Firebaugh dealt a personal best five assists.

It had been a struggle until Wednesday night when the Broncs topped the Highlanders 17-7 in fast break points.

Rider next heads to upstate New York, visiting Army at West Point on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.

Princeton Gets Milestone Victory: In recent seasons the Tigers under previous coach Courtney Banghart, now at North Carolina, and Carla Berube have had successs with an unbeaten regular season, the only Ivy team to get an NCAA at-large bid and also appear as an Associated Press ranked team.

On Wednesday dating back to beating then-No. 18 Rutgers on Jan. 5, 1978, the Tigers (6-1) in Alico Arena in Fort Meyers, Fla., upset No. 21 Florida Gulf Coast, snapping an 0-25 losing streak playing ranked opponents.

Abby Meyers had 18 points in dealing the reigning Atlantic Sun champions (7-1) their first season loss.Grace Stone added a personal best 17 points off shooing 5-of-10 from the field.

Julia Cunningham also scored in double figures with 10 points.

Florida Gulf Coast were defensed into 19 points below their 84.0 scoring average.

The fourth quarter had several swings with the home team launching a 7-0 run to go up a point 51-50 with 2:12 left in regulation.

The teams then exchanged baskets prior to Meyers scoring and getting And-1.

The host Eagles have been 63-7 the past three seasons and two of the seven losses were to the Tigers.

Princeton next goes on the road to the Bronx in New York to face host Fordham at 1 p.m. on ESPN+

Rutgers Losing Streak Continues:Coming out of the Paradise Jam in the Bahamas where the Scarlet Knights lost all three games last weekend, they tabbed it a learning experience.

Pittsburgh, on the other hand, started bagging wins in their trip in the tropics.

The Panthers are now 6-2 following Wednesday night’s 58-50 win over Rutgers to stay perfect at 4-0 inside the Petersen Events Center for the first time in five seasons.

“Obviously, over the last week I think we really grew as a basketball team, said Pitt coach Lance White. “When you think about the three games we played down in the Virgin Islands, against three NCAA Tournament quality teams, and then come back home and face Rutgers, who you know is a perennial power with everything they’ve been able to do with their program.

“For us, it was about growing as a basketball team and I think we did that. And then today, to watch our team put a really gutsy performance and just really battle, start to finish, and just figure out a way to win, I’m really proud of them.”

The game was tied 50-50 with two minutes left in regulation when Rutgers missed a shot and Dayshanette Harris snapped the deadlock with two from the line on the ensuing possession.

With 1:48 left, Pitt forced a missed shot and turnover on the next possession that resulted in a four-point lead following two more free throws, this time from Jayla Everett with 47 seconds left in regulation.

Then the home folks produced another stop and Harris found Amber Brown for a fast break layup to sealed. The upset.

Everett, aided by three from deep had a game-high 18 points, Brown scored 12, Rita Igbowke grabbed 12 rebounds, and Kiatu King scored 11, with five of her six rebounds on the offensive glass.

Shug Dickson had 10 points, six rebounds, and three assists for the Scarlet Knights.

The Panthers snapped a losing streak in the series dating back 13 seasons to Feb. 10, 2009.

Rutgers (4-5), whose losing streak would be six were it not for the rally and win at home over Harvard in overtime, also got eight points and four assists from Jailyn Mason.

The setback came in a game in which the Knights had a season-low 16 turnovers, the big differential was Pitt 31-4 on free throw attempts.

This was the first meeting between the former Big East rivals since 20212, some ten seasons ago.

Next up isn’t helpful, the start of Big Ten play at the top, hosting No. 8 Maryland Sunday at home at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway, N.J. at 2 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

Ranked Upsets: Adding to the ragged start by the Big Ten in the challenge series, No. 18 Ohio State. Fell at Syracuse 97-91 for the Buckeyes’ first loss of the season in six games.

Ohio State wasted a 21-point performance by Taylor Mikesell, while Jay Sheldon scored 23.

“We were really competing and then we quit doing those things,” said Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff. “I think the biggest key was we gave them a lot of confidence early. I think we could’ve taken that from them if we kept playing as hard as we did to start the game.”

Teisha Hyman had a career-high 30 points for Syracuse (4-4), which also had 24 from hrislyn Carr, including an Orange best 22 in the final period. Naje Murray added 21 points.

Meanwhile, out in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon, tied with OSU at 18th, fell 64-57 at home in Matthew Knight Arena to UC Davis, the first non-conference home loss in eight seasons, the first under Kelly Graves.

“Defensively, I thought we were good enough to have won the game,” Graves said. “But we’re just not real good offensively, right now. It’s kind of disappointing. We’ve got to get better.”

The Ducks fell to 3-3 and had just nine players available.

Elsewhere, noting scores around the country, Massachusetts of the A-10 and picked as a preseason conference contender topped a like from the MAAC in Fairfield, 74-61, while Quinnipiac of the MAAC beat visiting Yale 61-59. Wagner of the Northeast Conference upset the. MAAC;s Manhattan 54-50, and Troy beat Samford 65-61.

Looking Ahead:  On Thursday night, Delaware goes to Columbia, while in night 2 of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Penn State goes to Boston College at 8 p.m.

Other Big Ten/ACC Challenge games have Duke hosting No. 9 Iowa, which shut down last week off positive coronavirus tests; Clemson hosting Northwestern; Michigan visiting Louisville as No. 12 travels to No. 10; No. 2 N.C. State goes to No. 6 Indiana; No. 23 Notre Dame hosts Michigan State; No. 24 Florida State visits Illinois.

The start of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge has No. 14 Iowa State traveling to LSU, while No. 20 Georgia goes to Texas Tech.

Looking way ahead the Colonial Athletic Association after taking away James Madison from participating and hosting in the Women’s conference tournament, has given it to defending champion Drexel at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

“This will be a great thing for our seniors,” said Drexel coach Amy Mallon.

And that’s the report.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

The Guru Report: La Salle Rallies on Penn While Temple Wins at the Finish at Georgetown and Drexel Cruises at Home

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA - With a combined 43 turnovers Tuesday night, it seemed La Salle and Penn were trying to put more emphasis into making their Big Five meeting here at The Palestra into a Giving Day special considering the 24 donations by the host Quakers and 19 by the visiting Explorers.

But in the end, particularly the 26-6 fourth quarter by the winners, it became an affair of who grabs last grabs best which is what La Salle did to rally to a 63-49 victory to go 4-3 overall and march Temple’s City Series 1-0 start to be the only two teams left in the local mix who can win bragging rights with a perfect 4-0 record.

The two will meet Dec. 29 but others who must face either or both will be looking to be spoilers and possibly force themselves into a Big Five tie when the 10-game round robin is completed.

Penn coach Mike McLaughlin, like he did against Villanova, chose to sit star junior Kayla Padilla, one of the complement of juniors and seniors on the roster who were all hit with four-game suspensions over eight games for violating a university rule, and just after she had poured 36 points in an overtime loss to Memphis out in a tournament in Los Angeles.

But he almost got away with it. 

After most of the way was more like rugby besides a slew of blown shots from both sides, Penn (4-3, 2-2 Big Five) forged to a nine-point lead on Jordan Obi’s second-chance score with 19-seconds left in the third period.

But La Salle’s Jordon Lewis countered on an old-fashioned three-point play with a driving layup and free throw with four seconds left to leave the Quakers clinging to a six-point differential.

The building surge by the visitors began transforming into a tsunami as Molly Masciantonio fired a three-ball to tie it 45-45 and then  freshman Kenya Cote-Lysius mined a Quakers turnover into a layup and two-point lead and the differential kept widening in La Salle’s favor the rest of the game.

“To struggle seven games offensively and be 4-3 I’m proud of them,” La Salle coach Mountain MacGillivray said  afterwards. “The ball hasn’t been going in very well for us, but we found a way in the fourth quarter to make a bunch of shots and we’ve made our free throws all season.”

Kayla Spruill had 17 points, the only Explorer scoring in double figures, while Masciantonio scored nine with six assists, Cote-Lysius also scored nine and Jordon Lewis had eight off the bench.

Penn’s Jordan had 14 points and nine rebounds while Mia Lakstigala scored 18 with 10 rebounds, and Kennedy Suttle had 10 rebounds in a lopsided 48-32 total rebounding effort.

“We made some changes in the fourth quarter and the kids responded. Jordon’s And-One gave us some life when we were a little lifeless,” MacGillivray said.

“There weren’t a lot of people here, but when Kenya got that bucket you could feel the energy. 

“We’ve been outrebounded five out of six times, you can’t count playing against Kentucky and those athletes and today we got crushed. (Tonight) we showed we could win on the road.

“Listen,” the Explorers coach said. “They were shorthanded tonight. You can’t make no mistake about that. We took advantage of that. But the rest of the players who were out there, were really talented, and that coach is one of the best in the country. So for our kids to win on the road when it wasn’t going well most of the game, that’s got to be huge.”

As for Penn, coach Mike McLaughlin said, “I thought even when we had the lead, we just didn’t play well at all, When we didn’t play our starters, our offense really struggled.”

Penn next visits Bucknell at 6 p.m. Friday night and then returns home Sunday at 1 p.m. hosting Duke in a monster non-conference matchup. La Salle on Saturday goes to St. Francis (Pa.) at 4 p.m.

Temple Prevails at Finish for Second Straight Win: The Owls trailed by 11 going into the final quarter but thrived off four long balls to fuel a comeback to a 49-47 victory at Georgetown in the nation’s capital at McDonough Arena.

Caranda Perea had nine points in the rally off three shots from deep while for the game Mi Davis had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Aniya Gourdine, one of the stars in Saturday’s win at Villanova, had eight points and seven rebounds against the Hoyas (3-3), the second straight Big East foe for the Owls (4-3).

Temple trailed most of the night but in the fourth quarter the Owls used an 11-4 run and an 8-3 run to move within a point of the home team. Gourdine then scored on a driving layup for Temple’s lead. Alexa Williams added another point from the foul line and the defense got a couple of stops to secure the triumph.

The Owls stay on the road Sunday going to meet a former foe from. Atlantic 10 days visiting Duquesne at 1 p.m. in Pittsburgh with the game to air on ESPN+

Drexel Wire to Wire: The Dragons may not be seeing their neighborhood rival this season in Penn, but several Ivy teams are filling the non-league slate. The first was Dartmouth and Drexel led from start to finish in a 67-44 rout at home in the Daskalakis Athletic Center in West Philadelphia.

The Big Green (0-5) remained winless on the season while Drexel moved to 5-2.

Keishana Washington had 13 of her game-high 18 points in the third period and hit four from deep overall, while Tessa Brugler scored 12 and Hannah Nihill scored 10 and moved into fifth all-time on the assist list in the program passing Hollie Mershon to reach 390 with four helpers. She also grabbed six rebounds.

Drexel again showed its depth with 19 points and limited the Big Green to 26.9 from the floor.

“Very happy with this team win tonight,” second-year head coach Amy Mallon said. “I think the stats that stick out are 23 assists on 28 shots made, our ability to move the ball, and the 24 points in the paint.

“Those are two things we focused on doing in this game tonight, so just very happy with the overall performance.”

Added Washington, “I definitely felt more comfortable as the game went on looking for my shot and letting things come to me versus trying to make something happen.”

Drexel next goes on the road Saturday, visiting Maine at noon.

Looking Ahead: There was nothing else in advance of Tuesday night though to note in the only game with a ranked team, No. 5 Baylor overwhelmed Morehead Morehead state, and Vanderbilt, which visits Saint Joseph’s later this month, beat Tennessee in-state rival Chattanooga 91-61.

On Wednesday’s local scene, Lehigh of the Patriot League comes down from upstate in Bethlehem to visit at Villanova at 7 p.m., Princeton travels to No. 21 Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Meyers at 7 p.m., Rider, still looking for a first win hosts NJIT at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym in Lawrenceville, N.J., and Rutgers, trying to snap a three-game losing streak visits Pittsburgh at 6 p.m. ads part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The ACC, incidentally, Tuesday announced its network games will soon air in the Philadelphia area as part of a new deal with Comcast and its XFinity network.

Also on Wednesday in the D-2 crowd, Jefferson in East Falls just before its 6 p.m. tip will note longtime coach Tom Shirley’s recent. 800th win and at halftime will honor yours truly for receiving the Gow Media Award - Print from the Basketball Hall of Fame last September.

On Thursday, Delaware is at Columbia at 7 p.m., while Penn State as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge is at Boston College at 6 p.m.

On Friday at 6 p.m., as mentioned, Penn is at Bucknell at 6 p.m. while Villanova launches its Big East slate at. Providence at 7 p.m. on the Flohoops Network.

Other challenge games Wednesday in the Big 10/ACC competition, No. 18 Ohio State is at Syracuse at 8 p.m.; North Carolina is at Minnesota at 9 p.m.; Georgia Tech is at Purdue at 7 p.m.; Nebraska is at Wake Forest at 7 p.m.; and Virginia Tech is at Wisconsin at 7:30 p.m.

Ranked teams not involved in the challenge has No. 17 Texas A&M hosting Little Rock at noon; No. 22 Oregon State, coming to Villanova later this month, hosts Pacfic at 2 p.m.; No. 11 Tennessee hosting Tennessee Tech at 6:30 p.m.; No. 18 Oregon hosting. UC Davis at 6:30 p.m.; No. 16 Kentucky hosting previously ranked West Virginia at 7 p.m.; and No. 15 Texas hosting Jackson State at 8 p.m.

No. 9 Iowa, which withdrew from participating in a tournament last weekend, at this hour Thursday is slated to be at Duke.

And that’s the report.


Monday, November 29, 2021

The Guru Report: Princeton Continues to Shine While No. 13 Iowa State Outlasts UMass in Gulf Coast Showcase Championship

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

On what was not a great Sunday for the Guru locals Princeton stayed in the winner’s column locking down America East contender Maine 82-43 at home in Jadwin Gym.

The visiting Bears took an early 4-2 lead on the Ivy favorites (5-1) and then were held scoreless the rest of the period.

By halftime the Tigers were up 39-17 and the lead over Maine (2-5) grew another 17 points by the end of the third where it stayed after a 15-15 final period.

Abby Meyers shot 9-of-14 from the floor for a game-high 21 points while three more Princeton players reached double digits, Julia Cunningham scoring 14, and Maggie Connolly and Grace Stone each scored 11.

The Tigers picked up 22 points off 24 turnovers.

Princeton hits the road Wednesday in a game that could be a challenge in a visit to No. 25 Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Meyers with a 7 p.m. tipoff.

Lehigh Swamped in Own Tourney While Rider Edged for Third

The Mountain Hawks were handled in the championship of their own Christmas City Classic 88-67 by Missouri at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem while in the third place game Rider came close to the Broncs’ first win of the season but got clipped 63-60 by Columbia. 

The undoing for Lehigh (5-2) came in a 36-15 second quarter by Missouri (7-0) of the Southeastern Conference following the home team’s 19-14 advantage after the first ten minutes.

“I thought the first quarter was the best quarter of basketball we have played on both ends of the floor this season,” Lehigh coach Sue Troyan said. “I thought our kids played with a toughness particularly inside against them and really forced them in into making tough shots.

“We got some stops, rebounded well and that allowed our transition game to open up as well. Our defense definitely created our offense in the first half,” she said.

“In the second half, Mizzou got hot from the 3 and l was a little disappointed to how we responded to that. They made a big run and it was a good opportunity fot us to learn from that situation and how we need to combat and get better and play a lot tougher going forward.”

Mackenzie Kramer scored 16 points for the defending Patriot League champions, while Frannie Hottinger scored 13, Megan Walker scored 12, and Emma Grothaus had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Lehigh visits Villanova Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile in the third place game Columbia of the Ivy League edged Rider, beating the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference representatives 63-60 dropping the Broncs to 0-5.

The loss wasted a career-tying performance from Makayla Firebaugh, who scored 26, and another personal best from Jessika Schiffer, who scored 15 points.

“We played a really good team that ended up with three more points than we.did,” said veteran Rider coach Lynn Milligan. “When yo have a quick turnaround like this, you have to rely on yourself  and what you do. I thought we did that today really, really well.”

Columbia (6-2) out rebounded the Broncs 49-22.

Rider next hosts NJIT at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Alumni Gym in Lawrenceville, N.J.

Kitty Henderson hit go-ahead from deep for the Lions with 38.8 left and Kaitlyn Davis stopped a Broncs potential game winner the other way.

“This team has shown we can battle with anybody,” said Columbia coach Megan Griffith. “I think Rider gave us their best punch today. I really respect their coach and how they run their program. For us it was another learning experience.”

Abbey Hsu and Davis each scored 12 points. 

Columbia next hosts Delaware from Schiller Court at Levien Gymnasium in New York on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Saint Joseph’s Woes Continue With Narrow Loss: The Hawks got improvement on their third and final day in the Van Chancellor Invitational in the Houston suburb of Katy, Texas, but just short enough to lose their fifth straight since winning the season opener, this time the predetermined opponent in the event was Ball State, who emerged with a 73-67 victory.

The offense picked up against the opposition eith four players reaching double figures - Katie Jekot scored 14, Alayna Gribble scored 12, Mackenzie Smith scored 17, and Olivia Mullins scored 10, and dealt a career best five assists.

The Cardinals (3-2) got 13 points from Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, and 12 each from Anna Clephane and Annie Rauch.

The Hawks are off all week until Saturday when they host Yale at 2 p.m. in Hagan Arena.

Penn State Finishes Fourth in Gulf Coast Showcase: Following their setback in Saturday’s semifinals, the Lady Lions fell to Kent State, 81-74, a Mid-American Conference team that noise earlier upsetting N. 19 UCLA.

That made it two Power 5 victims in taking down the Big Ten representatives following the Bruins of the PAC-12.

The Lady Lions (4-3) got another impressive performance from Mackenna Marisa, who scored 23 points and five assists, while Shay Hagans scored 15, Niya Beverly scored 14, and Anna Camden scored 10.  

Kent State (5-1) went one better with five in double figures , led by Katie Shumate, who scored 17 points. 

The Lady Lions next participate in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Thursday heading to suburban Beantown to play Boston College in Chestnut Hill’s Conti Arena at 6 p.m. on the ACC Network.

The national story for Sunday was at the same event in Estero, Fla., where Atlantic 10 rising power UMass in the championship took its first loss but nearly upset No. 13 of the Big 12, losing to the unbeaten Cyclones 76-71.

The Minuteomen (7-1) nearly closed all of a 21-point deficit in the third period.

Sam Breen scored 21 points for UMass.

The Cyclones (7-0) in Hertz Arena got 23 points each from Lexi Donarski and Ashley Joens, who also got 12 rebounds. Her sister Aubrey scored 15, and Morgan Kane scored 11.

And that’s your unified Sunday Guru report. 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Guru National Report: Mid-Majors Make Nose And a Top 10 Showdown Won By Stanford Lacked the Luster

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru
Because the cold win and loss is all that matters when it comes to achievements time will tell how much of defending NCAA women’s champion Stanford’s 86-67 win over No. 2 Maryland Saturday afternoon as part of the Baha Mar Hoops Pink Flamingo Championship in Nassau, Bahamas is a reality.

Stanford (5-2), which already has as many losses as all of last season, came into the contest having dropped from its preseason spot of third to seventh and in danger of taking another plunge in the next poll that will be released Monday afternoon following the Cardinal’s upset loss to No. 18 South Florida during the week.

And after Maryland shot up to No. 2 in the current poll passing a UConn squad that dropped a spot following No. 1 South Carolina’s wipeout in the fourth quarter in last Monday’s 1-2 showdown and the Terrapins’ home court win over No. 6 Baylor on Sunday, coach Brenda Frese’s Big Ten favorites arrived in the tropics missing key players off injuries and illness.

That resulted in a blowout by Maryland falling to No. 5 North Carolina State, it’s former rival from the Terrapins’ Atlantic Coast era, and then Saturday’s wipeout that extended Hall of Fame coach Tara Van Derveer’s NCAA Division I women’s record of wins to 1,130, nine in front of the 1,121 held by UConn’s Geno Auriemma, whose Huskies next play Friday opening up the Big East slate at Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J.

But the Stanford win is official and as a result the Cardinal can claim the program’s largest top two win in its history.

Haley Jones had 15 points and 13 rebounds, while Hannah Jump, a last minute insertion into the starting lineup due to Cameron Brink’s sudden illness, had 21 points, all courtesy of connecting on seven shots from deep.

On the plus side, Stanford did edge No. 4 Indiana 69-66 prior to the loss to USF.

“This has been a real grind of a week,” VanDerveer said afterwards. “Playing last Sunday at Gonzaga (Spokane, Wash.), 19 hours to get down here, play such great competition, I’m really proud of our team.

“Thought today I challenged our team to play their best basketball. Wed rebounded. Hannah had a breakout game.”

By halftime Stanford had bolted to a 46-24 lead.

The ongoing illness and injuries caused Maryland (6-2) to only have seven players in uniform to play.

But Frese wasn’t one to make excuses and paid tribute to the opposition.

“That’s what a championship team looks like,” she said of Stanford. “That’s where we strive to be. They showed it for four straight quarters.”

Ashley Owusu scored 29 for Maryland.

“We didn’t come out to compete this whole tournament,” she said of the event in which opponents in all rounds were predetermined. “We came out flat against both teams. With top-five, top-10 teams, this is what happens.”

Brink, who averaged 22 points and 17 rebounds in the first two games, pulled herself together to enter the game with 3:43 left in the second quarter and finished with eight points in nine minutes of action.

This was just the third meeting in the series and the teams were tied 1-1.

Stanford is off until hosting Pacific on Dec. 12 giving Auriemma a chance to narrow the career win gap with VanDerveer.

Maryland next takes part in the Big Ten/ACC challenge, hosting Miami Thursday in the Terrapins’ XFINITY Center.

Mid-Major Flexing: Back in mid-October when the AP women’s preseason poll was released, nearly the entire Top 25 listings consisted of teams from the Power Five conferences plus UConn in the Big East and South Florida in the American Athletic Conference.

Now the Mid-Majors are starting to stir.

On Saturday South Dakota State defeated a young No. 19 UCLA squad, which also lost to Kent State in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. 

That relegated the Bruins to a seventh-place game Sunday against St. John’s. The fifth-place game has Charlotte playing South Dakota State, while Penn State will play Kent State for third, and then No. 13 Iowa State of the Big 12 will meet unbeaten UMass of the Atlantic 10 for the championship.

After BYU, the West Coast Conference coaches’ pick who upset Rutgers in the opening round of the NCAA in San Antonio in April, upset No. 17 Florida State in the St. Petersburg Invitational opening round Friday in Florida, the squad came back Saturday and caught No. 22 West Virginia 58-57.

Missouri State, the Missouri Valley favorite, on Friday, took down No. 24 Virginia Tech of the ACC 76-68 in the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico.

On Saturday, No. 12 Michigan beat Mississippi State 64-48 in the Daytona Beach Invitational in Florida, giving Wolverines coach Kim Barnes Arico her 200th win with the Big Ten program since coming from being head coach at St. John’s.

Cal Baptist, still going through the migration to full Division I participation, on Saturday beat TCU of the Big 12 with a 91-77 outcome, the program’s first-ever win over a Power 5 opponent.

Looking Ahead: This was probably the biggest weekend of the season in terms of non-conference play due to the participation in Multiple Team Events (MTE).

Things settle this week and then get relatively quiet through just before the Christmas break because of the number of teams whose players will be in the classroom taking final exams for the semester.

On Wednesday, Ivy favorite Princeton will visit No. 25 Florida Gulf Coast, while Delaware will be at Columbia.

And that’s the Guru’s national report off Saturday’s edition.

The Guru Local Report: Temple Takes Big Five Thriller at Villanova And Throws Race Wide Open

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Just less than a week after Temple suffered a disappointing loss at home to Ivy favorite Princeton, the Owls snapped back and turned the Big Five race into a wide-open affair, rallying from an early deficit Saturday afternoon and eventually moving in front of host Villanova for a 68-62 victory at the Wildcats’ Finneran Pavilion.

The triumph gave Temple an improved overall mark of 3-3 and 1-0 in the City Series competition in the Owls’ opener while Villanova dropped to 2-3 and 2-1 in the Big Five which just La Salle left on the Wildcats’ local schedule.

“What a game,” beamed Temple coach Tonya Cardoza. “That was really exciting. We knew coming in here it was important for us to really play well on the defensive side because how they run their offense and how they can make us look bad on the defensive end.

“But I felt we really did a good job of staying focused and, yes, we made some mistakes but we didn’t get down on ourselves like we had in the past. We stayed in the moment and let those things, we let it go.

“And that is what we talked about before the game, like not getting hung up on things that happened in the past but staying focused in the moment. And we had guys step up and we made shots today,” Cardoza said. “That’s the big thing. We had to make shots on the inside and Mia (Davis) knocking down shots from the perimeter. Obviously that gave us that extra boost on the defensive side.

“Down the stretch it got a little crazy. We go up nine and ended up being down six but in the past I felt we would have lost the game by twenty but we actually stayed within the moment and withstood that run and closed out.”

Davis scored 10 points but along the way moved past Alliya Butts (2014-19) into second place all time with her fourth point and now has 1,943 behind Temple all-American great Marilyn Stephens, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Famer (1980-84), who leads the program with 2,194. Playing in her extra fifth season allowed by the NCAA in this pandemic era, Davis needs 252 points to become the new leader by averaging 10.5 points across the remaining 24 games on the regular season schedule.

If she hadn’t done that by then, there’s a chance to complete the differential in the American Athletic Association tournament in March and perhaps a few more in NCAA or WNIT participation.

Freshman Aniya Gourdine, out of Baltimore, off the bench lead Temple with 17 points, shooting 5-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-3 from deep, and 5-of-6 from the line.

Alexa Williamson was .500 from the field, shooting 6-of-12 for 16 points, while Jasha Clinton scored 11.

Though Maddy Siegrist continues to be sidelined with a hand injury, Lior Garzon had her third straight offensive explosion, this time scoring 22, while Brianna Herlihy scored 14 and was a trio of Wildcats each grabbing seven rebounds along with sophomore Bella Runyun and reserve Anahi-Lee Cauley. 

Runyan, shooting 6-of-7 from the field, also scored 13 points.

“We just needed more movement,” Cardoza said of ways to overcome the focus on defending Davis. “And guys were stepping up and made shots. We just let the ball go wherever it needed to go.”

Villanova jumped to an 8-0 lead from the outset until Temple began to regroup and by the end of the first quarter was within range Gourdine fired a three-ball at the buzzer.

“I just felt we all stuck together. There was never a time when we got down on ourselves,” Williamson said.

It was a one-point lead to the Wildcats and then tied after three, though the Owls had bolted to a nine-point advantage during the period.

Runyan’s shot with 8:09 left in regulation spurred Villanova to a six-point lead but the Owls then rallied again and Williamson’s two foul shots tied it at 58-58 with 4:12 left as the game had taken on the essence of a local City Series war.

Gourdine’s shot with 2:42 left put Temple in front but Cauley brought the home team back to another tie at 60-60 with 1:39 left.

Gourdine answered for Temple from outside the paint on a pull up jumper with 1:24 left.

Williamson blocked an attempted tie with 24 seconds left, then Herlihy fouled Davis, who made both free throws for a four-point lead with 14 seconds left.

Cauley then missed a layup for Villanova, grabbed her own offensive rebound, then missed a second chance and Gourdine grabbed a defensive rebound and went to the line and clinched it on Cauley’s foul.

Getting back on track in general was Temple’s goal, but Cardoza knew a ‘Cats win would put Villanova in the driver’s seat for local honors.

“I feel like we’re a good team,” Cardoza said. “In the summer we were this awesome team, we worked extremely hard, and then something happened. We’re just trying to get that back and have fun, enjoying … paying attention a little more and focusing on the defensive side.”

Comparing Saturday to a year ago when Temple was run out of its McGonigle Hall in the Owls’ delayed season opener by Villanova, Cardoza said of signs of progress, “We were more locked in defensively. When we did the way we were supposed to, it worked well. When we didn’t they got wide open shots. We stressed, `follow the game plan. Follow the game plan. Defend the way we’re talking about.

“‘Yes, they may get open shots but the shots we want them to take, not the shots they wanted to take.’”

Cardoza explained how they imparted her players what she had said to the media after the Princeton loss about needing to get in the gym.

“We showed them the stat sheet. It doesn’t lie. When the stat sheet says, `you’re shooting 10 percent, you need to get in the gym.’ I think they want to do it, but it was, like, `Yes here it is in print. I’m talking about it but stats don’t lie. See what it is we’re talking about it and hopefully you’re embarrassed by it and want to do something different. If you put in the work, eventually you’re going to make shots.”

Cardoza tried to keep the pressure off in terms of the needs to win Saturday to become a Big Five contender but understood the stakes going into the game.

“We already knew coming in here, they already played two Big Five games. If we don’t win this game, there’s no chance of us winning the Big Five. So this was really, really important. I didn’t say that to them because I don’t want to put that stress on them, but I’m looking at it like if we don’t win this game, we can’t win the Big Five so we have to come here and focus and get this one to give ourselves a chance because they had the lead of 2-0,” Cardoza said.

“We talked about it yesterday but I didn’t tell them we had to win, I didn’t say that part. We want to win the Big Five. It’s important to us to get that. We want it outright. We want to win so today was a good step in that direction.”

As for the ‘Nova side of things, coach Denise Dillon said, “We knew we were in store for a battle. Obviously disappointed with the loss. I felt Temple stuck with their game plan and what they wanted to do on the defensive end, obviously take us out of our rhythm. And it worked in their favor for the duration of the game. It’s a learning experience for our young group and continue to move forward.”

She noted the lack of killer instinct with her youthful group.

“I’ve watched Temple, that’s kind of their thing going with the highs and lows. And they just have enough weapons this year and score power to make up for some of those deficits. They can score quickly. But I would say more so down the stretch when we had the lead. That’s what we’re lacking on the floor in terms of leadership,” Dillon said.

“We need everybody. It’s not just one-man basketball. We do recognize when everyone is engaged and ready to go, good things can happen for us. Now, the question is, can we sustain that?”

Dillon credited Runyon in her second season and developing.

“When a player comes in and wants a little bit more, it’s only great things.”

Temple moves on to travel to Villanova’s Big East traveling partner Georgetown Tuesday at 5 p.m. at McDonough Arena in Washington, D.C.

The Wildcats host Lehigh on Wednesday at at 7 p.m. and then hit the road next weekend to begin conference play, visiting Providence on Friday and Creighton in the Midwest on Sunday.

By virtue of the conference package, all four games will be on the Flohoops streaming service.

Delaware Keeps Rolling: The Blue Hens completed a two-day sweep of predetermined opponents, downing Chicago State 72-63 at the FIU Thanksgiving Classic at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center in Miami as the win streak for Delaware (6-1) reached five games.

“Our goal when we left Newark was to win two games,” Blue Hens coach Natasha Adair said. “And we talked to the players about defending, rebounding, making sure we were able to limit their paint points.

“Chicago State (1-6) is another opponent and I am thankful for the competition that we’ve had in this tournament because it will continue to prepare us for what we need to do in conference play.”

The opposition kept the Blue Hens in check every time they threatened to break the game open, but Delaware used a 12-5 run at the finish to gain the win.

Jasmine Dickey, the reigning Colonial Athletic Association player of the year and preseason pick, followed up her program second-best mark of 48 points in the opener by scoring 23 and grabbing 10 rebounds. Ty Skinner scored 20, while Ty Battle had her fifth double double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Chicago State’s Aaliyah Collins scored 19.

Delaware stays on the road for the next one, traveling to Columbia in New York on Thursday to face the Lions of the Ivy League at 7 p.m. in Levien Gym. The game will air on ESPN+.

Drexel Takes Third Beating Fresno State: The Dragons bounced back from their opening night loss to Nebraska to beat Fresno State 63-46 in the Dana on Mission Bay Holiday Tournament hosted by San Diego on the West Coast as Tessa Brugler shook off first-half foul trouble to finish with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Hannah Nihill scored 15 for Drexel, moving into sixth on the all-time list off three assists to reach 386 career helpers. Keishana Washington scored 13 and dealt seven assists.

“Today I think was a great example of people being ready on the bench,” second-year coach Amy Mallon said. “They came in, especially Bri Borcky and Jasmine Valentine did such a nice job when Tessa got into foul trouble.

“That’s what you expect when you’re ready to play a game.”

The Dragons will be back in the Daskalakis Athletic Center Tuesday night at 7 to host Dartmouth of the Ivy League.

Nebraska, who beat Drexel in Friday’s opener, won the tournament, beating San Diego 64-56 at Jenny Craig Pavilion as Jazz Shelly scored 16 points for the Huskers (7-0) of the Big Ten and the Toreros of the West Coast Conference fell to 4-2.

Padilla Sets Record in Penn Overtime Loss to Memphis: The good news for the Quakers in their predetermined opponent game with Memphis in the Loyola Marymount Thanksgiving Classic in Los Angeles was the play of junior Kayla Padilla, who set a career high 36 points on 13-for-26 from the field, the 10th best performance in program history behind the 42 up front scored by Diana Caramanico in 2001 against Albany.

The bad news was a game Penn held a slight lead on the Tigers throughout got away down the stretch  and the Quakers (4-2) fell in overtime, enabling Memphis (6-1) to emerge with a 73-68 victory, causing a split in their weekend West Coast trip.

Padilla’s night was aided by a program-record three-pointers. The previous mark was seven, set four times, most recently by Phoebe Sterba at Brown in 2019. She also had five assists, four rebounds, and a steal while playing all 45 minutes.

Jordan Obi had another fine effort with 12 points and blocked three shots.

Silke Milliman set career marks in her junior season with 11 rebounds and four points.

Padilla’s eighth three-ball to set the mark gave Penn a 60-59 lead with 16 seconds left in regulation.

But the Quakers were hit with a foul with one second left and Memphis tied it to force overtime on 1-for-2 from the line.

The Tigers then took control over the extra five minutes.

Penn returns to the Big Five wars Tuesday night in the Palestra hosting La Salle at 7 p.m.

Lehigh Routs Rider in Tournament Opener: The Mountain Hawks made the most of bringing back their Christmas City Classic at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pa., for the first time in two seasons, blasting Rider 69-44 in the opener, while Missouri of the Southeastern Conference beat Columbia of the Ivy League, 87-80.

Lehigh will meet Missouri at noon on ESPN+ while Rider and Columbia will play at 2:30 p.m.

In the win by the Mountain Hawks (5-1), Mackenzie Kramer scored 21 points, while Megan Walker scored 12, and Frannie Hottinger scored 10 and grabbed seven rebounds. 

Lehigh of the Patriot League has made it to the title game of its own tourney 14 times of the last 15 dating back to 2004.

The third period was fatal to the Broncs in which the home team outscored them 28-11 and kept the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference reps from success on the perimeter holding them to 11.1 percent from deep for the game.

“We didn’t make a lot of shots (in the first quarter), honestly, Lehigh coach Sue Troyan said. “We were especially struggling in the second. In the second half, we got a little more patient in terms of working the ball inside and outside and got a little more into the flow of our offense. It turned into a really successful third and fourth quarter for us. 

“Kenzie played really well today and I’ll give our guards and post players a lot of credit for finding her.” 

Rider (0-4), still looking for its first victory, was competitive in the first half, trailing 30-23 at the break before Lehigh erupted the rest of the way.

Raphaela Toussaint had a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Lenaejha Evans scored 12, and Amanda Mobley scored 10.

“If we just made some more shots in the first half, it would have been a little bit different,” Rider coach Lynn Milligan said. “Offensively, particularly in the first, second, and most of the fourth quarter, we ran our offense pretty well and got wide open looks.

“I wasn’t disappointed with the looks we got today at all, we just didn’t make them.

“It’s going to take a little time, but it’s continuing to grow every single day. We have confidence in our process, and we just need to keep doing what we’re doing.”

In the other game, Columbia’s rally in the second half fell just short after trailing by 13 points at the half.

Missouri stayed unbeaten at 6-0 with the win while the Lions (5-2) dropped their second straight.

Columbia still had a chance, trailing 79-77 under the two minute mark and then the Tigers cut the rally.

“This team has a lot of fight and they really battle hard,” Columbia coach Megan Griffith said. “It was just unfortunate that we put ourselves in that position going into the second half.”

Hayley Frank scored 29 for Missouri, while Haley Troup scored 20, and LaDazhia Williams scored 15.

Abbey Hsu scored 17 for Columbia.

Saint Joseph’s Slump Continues: The Hawks fell short in the their second of three days of predetermined opponents in the Van Chancellor Classic in the Houston suburb of Katy, losing 51-48 to Stetson.

Olivia Mullins had a career high 11 points for Saint Joseph’s (1-5), which dropped their fifth straight. Alayna Gribble and Mackenzie Smith each scored nine.

The Hatters (4-2) outscored the Hawks in the paint 22-10 while being led by Yazz Wazeerud-Din with 18 points, while Ayanna Dublin scored 10.

Coach Cindy Griffin’s squad completes the Texas visit playing Ball State Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Other results on Saturday saw Old Dominion top Texas Tech 59-45, Western Athletic Conference contender Stephen F. Austin top Ball State 87-66, and New Mexico top Louisiana Monroe 66-45.

The other games wrapping the three-day competition on Sunday have Old Dominion meeting Stetson at noon; Texas Tech meeting New Mexico at 5 p.m.; and Stephen F. Austin meeting Louisiana Monroe at 7:30 p.m.

La Salle Handled by Kentucky: The No. 20 Wildcats took an early lead and the visiting Explorers couldn’t score in the fourth all which lead the home team to beat La Salle 74-52 in a weekend visit to Lexington to play one of the Southeastern Conference powers.

Coach Mountain MacGillivray guided his troops to within nine after three quarters but Kentucky (4-1) used an 18-5 final period to secure the win.

Amy Jacobs was the soul player in double figures for La Salle (3-3) with 10 points in the first meeting between the two schools.

Dre’una Edwards scored 22 and grabbed 11 rebounds for Kentucky, while Rhyne Howard had 16, Robyn Benton scored 17, and Jada Walker scored 12.

The Explorers make their Big Five debut Tuesday visiting Penn at 7 p.m. at The Palestra and now besides Temple are the only two teams who mathematically are still alive to win the City Series round robin with a 4-0 sweep.

Rutgers Scoring Futility Results in Loss to No. 9 Arizona: While the Scarlet Knights’ women’s soccer team at home Friday night advanced to their second NCAA Final Four, things down in the tropics continued to be not so well for the women’s basketball bunch, who completed a three-day winless trip to the Paradise Jam at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, losing to No. 9 Arizona 80-44.

Osh Brown had nine points and five rebounds for Rutgers (4-4), which failed to have anyone score in double figures. Shug Dickson scored eight.

Unlike recent games, there was no slice an 18-point deficit in this one in which the Knights committed 30 turnovers, though they did score 20 in the final period.

The NCAA runners up claimed near first-quarter shutout leading 12-2 before the Wildcats erupted in the next 34-6 to go on and stay unbeaten at 9-0 and likely to rise higher in the next Associated Press women’s poll in the wake of setbacks above them.

Arizona is 3-0 in the series, though the last win occurred in 1999 and the previous one in 1988.

Cate Reese had 16 points for the Wildcats, while Gisela Sanchez scored 15, and Aaronette Vonleh scored 12.

“It was a great tournament for us,” said Rutgers acting coach Timothy Eatman, filling in this season, while Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer chose to step away to limit attracting the coronavirus. “We found out a lot about our team.

“Now we know what we got to do. We have to go back home and work on those things.

“But it was a great tournament for us. We played a team that presses in every possession - DePaul. We played a team that plays a zone in Vanderbilt. Then played an Arizona team that played a tough, tenacious half court defense.

“All those things we are going to have in the Big Ten,” Eatman said. “So now we have footage to show our players how to execute. I saw a group of players when I talked to them in the locker room, they’re hungry for it. And if they’re hungry for it, they can get it.”

Rutgers next heads to the Big Ten/Atlantic Coast Conference Challenge on Wednesday, playing its first true road game of this season when the Knights visit Pittsburgh for a 6 p.m. tipoff. 

The Panthers, who on Friday beat Northwestern at the Paradise Jam, fell in overtime to South Dakota 72-61 after Liatu King scored on a putback for them in regulation to force the extra period.

Other results from the final day of competition saw in a meeting of two long-time coaching colleagues, No. 23 Texas A&M topped Northwestern 77-68 to extend the Aggies’ unbeaten start at 7-0.

A&M is coached by Women’s Hall of Famer Gary Blair, who will retire at the end of the season, while Northwestern  is led by Joe McKeown, a Father Judge grad who grew up in Northeast Philadelphia.

The Aggies are on a 23-game win streak against regular-season non-conference foes dating to Dec. 1, 2019.

Jordan Nixon, who scored 25 points, was MVP of the Reef Tournament grouping at the Jam. She made all six three-point attempts against the Wildcats of the Midwest.

“Our kids again responded to adversity,” Blair said. “Jordan got two fouls early and everyone picked up the slack. Give Northwestern a lot of credit. 

“The key to the ball game was Sarah (Jones) and (Qadashah) Hoppie’s defense. They did a great job on Veronica Burton who went 4-for-14. Very proud of our basketball team. We had to adjust every single game because we were facing good teams.

Burton still scored 18 for Northwestern (4-3) helped by 9-for-10 from the line.

DePaul took the other game, dominating Vanderbilt 91-74 as Sonya Morris had a career-high 36 points for the Blue Demons (5-2) and Aneesah Morrow had 28 and 15 rebounds against the Commodores (4-3).

Jordyn Cambridge topped Vanderbilt with 17 points.

Penn State Drops Semfinal Game to No. 13 Iowa State: The Lady Lions ran into a team worthy of its nickname, losing to the Cyclones of the Big 12 93-59 to fall to 4-2 while Iowa State is still unbeaten at 7-0 in a Gulf Coast Showcase semifinal in Estero, Fla. 

Makenna Marisa scored 11 and Ali Brigham scored 10 for Penn State, which will play the third place game Sunday against Kent State at 5 p.m. on FloHoops.

Aubrey Joens scored 21 and grabbed 11 rebounds for Iowa State while Ashley Joens and Beatriz Jordao each scored 13, and Lexi Donarski added 12.

The Cyclones came roaring out of the gate, taking a 24-10 lead after the opening quarter.

They will play the championship Sunday at 7:30 p.m. against UMass, which downed Kent State 72-64 at Hertz Arena, to extend the Minutewomen’s start to 7-0.

Destiny Philoxy led the winners with 21 points, while Sam Breen scored 17, and Sydney Taylor scored 16.

In the other games in the consolation semifinals, Charlotte beat St. John’s 82-64 sending the Red Storm (3-3) into Sunday’s 11 a.m. game for 7th against No. 19 UCLA (3-2) which fell 76-66 to South Dakota State (3-4), which will play Charlotte for 5th at 1:30 p.m.

The only one of the Guru’s 11 local D-1 squad that didn’t play Saturday is Princeton, which in a single game Sunday will host Maine of the America East at 1 p.m. in Jadwin Gym.

And that is the local roundup.



Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Guru National Report: South Florida Takes Down Defending NCAA Champion Stanford in Day of Black Friday Surprises

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

When women’s basketball fans during the summer looked ahead to the collegiate season and especially the early collision of ranked teams in Thanksgiving Day tournaments few could imagine that both No. 2 Maryland and No. 7 Stanford, the defending national champions, would both be coming off losses when they met down in the Baha Mar Hoops Pink Flamingo Tournament in Nassau, the Bahamas.

But that’s what will happen Saturday when the powers of the PAC-12 and Big Ten hoop up at 3 p.m.

Maryland, shorthanded, got routed by No. 5 N.C. State earlier, and on Friday after No. 18 South Florida had obliged so that Stanford could get an extra game into their Multi Team Event portion of the Cardinal Schedule, the Bulls pulled a shocker at the finish when Sydni Harvey of the defending American Athletic Conference champs nailed a three-pointer from the wing with 2.8 seconds left for a 57-54 victory.

“Coach called the play and I hit the shot and we had a couple of defensive stops and that was that,” she said  and reported by The Associated Press of USF coach Jose Fernandez drawing up the wining action. “It was a very exciting gamed to play in.”

Fernandez joked of the move to go for all the marbles rather than settle for overtime.

“We had to catch our flight out of here,” he laughed.

Harvey had 15 points in USF’s second Top 10 victory following beating Oregon last weekend in a consolation round of the Battle 4 Atlantis following playing then-No. 2 Connecticut tough in the semifinals.

“It gives us confidence we can hang with anybody in the country,” Harvey said of the win.

Bethy Mununga tied a personal best with 23 rebounds for the winners.

The Bulls (5-2) were down by two when Harvey nailed the game-winner.

“This was good for us,” Fernandez said of a five-game stretch playing four ranked teams in the last five games, including the win Monday over then No. 9 Oregon.

“We had two days to get ready for them. We defended. We got the stops when we needed to especially at the end of the game.”

Cameron Brink scored 23 and grabbed 11 rebounds for Stanford (4-1), which had rallied from a 12-point deficit and went ahead 53-52 on Lacey Hull’s shoot from deep with 14.1 seconds left in regulation.

Brooke Demetre of the Cardinal hit one of two free throws for a two-point lead ahead of Harvey’s heroics.

Elisa Pinzan scored two free throws for the game’s final points.

The loss temporarily halted Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer’s chance to add one more to her NCAA Division I women’s record of victories at 1,129, ahead of UConn Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma’s total of 1,121.

The Huskies won’t play again until next Friday, opening their Big East slate at Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J.

“Always tough to lose a game like that,” VanDerveer said. “We made some real big plays. Really proud of our team and how we battled in the second half.

“Credit South Florida, they made a real big shot when they needed to. We’ve made shots like that before.”

Stanford was hurt by a mediocre 4-of-12 on free throw attempts.

“You’re never going to win close games like this shooting 4-for-12 from the free throw line,” VanDerveer said.

It was the first meeting between the two teams.

The other Saturday matchups in the Pink Flamingo event have No. 5 N.C. State meeting Washington State at 6 p.m., and No. 4 Indiana meeting Miami at 8:30 p.m.

More Paradise Jam Upsets: The Rutgers upset loss to Vanderbilt reported on the Guru Local edition behind this was not the only Friday surprise at the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands at St. Thomas.

Pittsburgh got one of the biggest wins in recent program history as the Panthers beat Big Ten power Northwestern 72-60 as Liatu King scored 23 points and matched a personal best with 19 rebounds.

Her 23 were also a personal best for the Panthers (5-1), while reserve Sandrine Clesca had nine points, four rebounds, and three assists against the Wildcats, who got 14 points from Jillian Brown, and 12 points and 10 rebounds from Courtney Shaw.

In the other two games besides the Rutgers-Vanderbilt game, No. 23 Texas A&M rallied to beat South Dakota 58-44, while No. 9 Arizona topped DePaul 75-68.

On Saturday, besides the Rutgers-Arizona game, DePaul and Vanderbilt meet at 1 p.m., Pittsburgh plays South Dakota, and Texas A&M and Northwestern play at 8 p.m., matching longtime friends in Northwestern coach Joe McKeown, a Father Judge grad from Northeast Philadelphia, and Texas A&M’s Hall of Famer Gary Blair, who will be retiring after this season.

Michigan Tops Oregon State: In the Daytona Beach Invitational, No. 12 Michigan was paced by Naz Hillmon, with 20 points and 13 rebounds in a 61-52 win over No. 16 Oregon State, which has a stop at Villanova next month.

The Wolverines (6-0) snapped a 40-40 tie at the start of the fourth quarter, spurting off on a 7-0 run. Following the Beavers bringing a temporary stop, Hillmon and Leigha Brown scored on bsack-to-back shots for a 51-42 lead with 4:38 left in regulation. 

Brown scored 14 for Michigan, while Danielle Rauch scored 11.

Oregon State (3-1) got 12 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocked shots from Kennedy Brown. Taya Corosdale collected 11 rebounds, but Michigan held Taylor Jones to six points in 20 minutes of action.

Other results in the Dayton Invitational in Florida had Georgia beat Notre Dame, 71-67 in overtime, Dayton beat Illinois, 67-53, and Marquette edged Middle Tennessee 59-55.

On Saturday, in another round of predetermined opponents, Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico will be going for her 200th win since coming from St. John’s when the Wolverines meet Mississippi State at at 4:30 p.m., while other games have Notre Dame playing Oregon State at 7 p.m., and Georgia plays Marquette at 2:15 p.m.

Virginia Tech Upset: Over in the San Juan Shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Missouri Valley favorite Missouri State topped No. 24 Virginia Tech 74-68, while No. 25 Florida Gulf Coast beat Tennessee Tech, 81-69; George Washington beat UT-Martin 46-37; Florida beat Saint Louis 69-54; and LSU beat New Mexico State 72-52.

On Saturday, in predetermined action, Florida Gulf Coast plays Saint Louis at 5:45 p.m., following Virginia Tech playing UT-Martin at 10 a.m.; LSU and Missouri State playing at 12:15 p.m.; Tennessee Tech and New Mexico State meeting at 3:30 p.m.; while George Washington and Florida play at 8 p.m.

Baylor Takes Cancun Opener: In the Cancun Challenge in Mexico, No. 6 Baylor beat Arizona State 62-52 as as the Bears forced 16 turnovers.

NaLyssa Smith had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Jordan Lewis had 15 points and Queen Egbo had 11 for Baylor (5-1). Former Rutgers star Mael Gilles had 10 points and 14 rebounds for ASU (2-4), while Maggie Besselink scored eight and Jaddan Simmons scored nine.

Fordham topped Houston 67-53 as Anna DeWolfe scored seven of the winning Rams’ 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter and she finished with 18 points, while Asiah Dingle scored 15 and grabbed 10 rebounds; and Kendall Heremaia had 11 points and 10 rebounds, drawing Fordham even at 3-3.

Tatyana Hill had 19 for the Cougars (3-3).

Fordham plays Arizona State at 11 a.m. Saturday, while Houston plays Baylor at 1:30 p.m.

Seton Hall bested Toledo 68-63 in overtime as Lauren Park-Lane had 19 for the Pirates (3-2), while Andra Espinoza-Hunter scored 18. Quinesha Lockett scored 15 for Toledo (3-2).

In the other game, Central Florida topped Idaho State 58-41 as Brittney Smith had 11 points for the winning Knights (4-1).

Dora Goles scored 16 for the Bengals (1-5).

On Saturday, the other game has Seton Hall playing Southern Cal at 4 p.m.

The event had to do a late shuffle on the schedule after No. 8 Iowa pulled out due to positive COVID-19 tests results within the Hawkeyes program.

In the the three-team Goombay Splash in Bimini, Bahamas, North Carolina beat VCU, 72-59, and plays Washington at noon on Saturday.

And that’s the national report.

The Guru Local Report: Nifty Wins From Penn, Penn State, and Delaware Gain A Black Friday Split

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Six of the Guru’s 11 D-1 locals played on Friday, causing enough news to warrant breaking their efforts out of the overall roundup and leave that for the national action.

On the day three won and three lost competitively by the score.

Delaware was in the minority of travelers South this weekend, heading to Miami on a business trip with two pre-determined opponents in the FIU Thanksgiving Classic.

Jasmine Dickey continues to do a neat job impersonating former Blue Hens great Elena Delle Donne, the latest in the opening round leading Delaware to an 77-72 victory against Eastern Michigan (2-2).

In her latest act in bringing the Blue Hens to a 5-1 record, Dickey scored 14 straight points in the first quarter in the Ocean Bank Convocation Center and ultimately finished with a career-high 48 points besides grabbing eight rebounds.

Ty Skinner scored 14 points, while Tee Johnson had nine points and six boards.

Areanna Combs was her own pace-setter for Eastern Michigan, scoring 26 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, while Danielle Rainey collected 15 points and and Ce’Nara Skanes had 11 points and 10 

“Gritty, gritty, gritty win on the road against a very tough Eastern Michigan team, said Delaware coach Natasha Adair. “It was basically 0-0 going into fourth and taked to the team about responding — it’s winning time — and we were going to have to do it on the defensive end.

“It wasn’t going to be a trade basic deal — it was dig deep, be disciplined, and be focused,” Adair continued in remarks posted to Delaware’s web page.

“They responded in such a big way. I am just proud of how they grow and how they mature from game to game.”

The 48 points are now second individually in a single game, passing the 42 Delle Donne scored at Hofstra on Feb. 16, 2012.

Delaware finishes the trip playing Chicago State at noon on Saturday.

Penn Stops UC San Diego Comeback in Narrow Win: With Eleah Parker moved to Virginia in terms of how the Ivies treated eligibility during the earlier phases of the coronavirus pandemic, it appears that coach Mike McLaughlin continues to find talent to keep the line coming since he arrived at Penn.

The latest, sophomore Jordan Obi, following an Ivy rookie of the week citation, had a game-high 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, the latter tying a career high, as the Quakers beat back a rally from UC San Diego to emerge with a 58-51 victory in the Loyola Marymount Thanksgiving Classic in Los Angeles.

Mia Lakstigala just short of a double double had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Quakers (4-1).

Kennedy Suttle added 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Junior Kayla Padilla scored nine, grabbed four steals, dealt three assists, and had two rebounds, and blocked a shot in game free of committing any fouls of turnovers.

The opening quarter saw Penn launch a 17-0 run, though the opposition pulled within six going into the final frame.

Though UC San Diego continued and went in front by a point, But Penn answered with a score from Obi and a pair of threes from Suttle and Padilla to regain the lead and ride out the victory.

The Quakers finish the tourney Saturday playing Memphis, 6:30 p.m. in the next predetermined round.

Penn State Takes Gulf Coast Showcase Opener: The Lady Lions are involved in one of the few holiday tournaments requiring wins of all rounds to claim the championship.

Step one was a success Friday night, beating St. John’s with a 14-8 finish over the final 4:38 to claim a narrow 80-75 win over St. John’s and move to the semifinals Saturday night against playing No. 13 Iowa State at 7:30 p.m. in Estoro, Fla.

The games are being broadcast on FloHoops.

Ali Brigham shot 8-of-12 from the field on the way to 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Penn State (4-1), while Makenna Marisa, the reigning Big Ten player of the week, had 25 points, and six rebounds.

Maddie Burke scored 11 and got three steals while Leilani Kapinus scored 10 points.

St. John’s got 27 points helped by five threes and also eight rebounds from Leiliani Correa while Danielle Patterson scored 15 and Unique Drake scored 13.

Penn State in the win had to within stand a 16-3 run by the Red Storm.

The Lady Lions used their own spurt, a 13-0 run in the third to regain the lead as Marisa collected 13 points in the period and Brigham scored 10.

Put Penn State fell behind, trailing by a point with 4:34 left in regulation before erupting on the finish.

The Lady Lions will finish the trip Sunday playing for first or third against UMass or Kent State, who play in the other semifinal.

Kent State had one of the big wins of the day, upsetting No. 19 UCLA 75-69 while UMass remained unbeaten with an 81-63 win over South Dakota State.

In the other semifinal, UMass will meet Kent State at 5 p.m.

The two consolation semifinals have UCLA playing South Dakota State at 11 a.m., Saturday, while St. John’s andCharlotte meet at 1:30 p.m.

The losers on Sunday will meet and play for seventh place, while the winners will play for fifth.

Rutgers Upset by Vanderbilt: The Scarlet Knights got felled by the Lady Commodores in the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, and Saturday’s final predetermined opponent round is more daunting playing NCAA runners up and No. 9 Arizona at 3:15 p.m. on either ESPN+ or ESPN3.

Trailing by eight at the half, Rutgers (4-3) produced another big finish with an 18-point fourth quarter though ultimately fell short.

Jailyn Mason had nine points for the Scarlet Knights, who failed to have any individual reach 10 points or better.

Rutgers hadanot her fourth quarter with 18 points though it went for naught.

Vanderbilt (4-3) is in the first year under new coach Shea Ralph, the former UConn star and assistant coach.

The Scarlet Knights this season are under acting head coach Timothy Eatman, while Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer has chosen to stay away for fear of catching the coronavirus.

“We have to find a way to start better,” he said. “Every one of these games we’ve started slow. When we’re in a hole, we spend too much time fighting back. They played the zone, and we have to do a better job coaching our players to be in the right spot.”

Saint Joseph’s Falls to ODU: The Hawks’ tailspin continued in the first round of the Van Chancellor Tournament in the Houston suburb of Katy in Texas to C-USA favorite Old Dominion 67-50.

The Lady Monarchs (3-2) jumped to a 13-4 lead after one period on Saint Joseph’s (1-4).

Things looked promising in the third with the Hawks pulling to a tie and trailing at the end of the period by just a point.

Then tied at 46, the Monarchs erupted for a 21-4 finish, including a 10-0 spurt in the closing minutes of play.

Rookie Laila Fair scored 12 for Saint Joseph’s and graduate student Alayna Gribble scored 11.

Next up is a game in the tourney against Stetson at noon Saturday before finishing Sunday against Ball State.

Drexel Whipped by Nebraska: The Dragons held the Big Ten representative Cornhuskers to a season low 65 but that was plenty for Nebraska to top Drexel 65-53 in the opener of the Dana on Mission Bay Holiday Tournament in San Diego.

Hannah Nihill had a season-high 19 points for Drexel (4-2) along with five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Keishana Washington scored 13, while Kate Connolly had 11.

Transfer Tessa Brugler grabbed 10 rebounds.

Drexel set an NCAA season-low with just two turnovers, though the ball handling went for naught.

Next up the Dragons play Fresno State, a 68-64 loser to the host San Diego squad for third Saturday at 5 p.m., 

Looking Ahead: As for the other five locals, on Saturday two meet when Temple makes its Big Five debut traveling to Villanova, which is off to a 2-0 start, at 2 p.m. on the Main Line. A year ago the two met in the NCAA-delayed season start, further delayed between the two, at the Owls’ McGonigle Hall and the Wildcats won a lopsided affair under then new-coach Denise Dillon, who had left Drexel to return to her alma mater in the wake of veteran Harry Perretta’s retirement.

Rider is playing host Lehigh at 1 p.m. in the opener of the Mountain Hawks’ Christmas City Tournament in Bethlehem, Pa., returning for the first time in two years at 1 p.m., followed at 3:30 p.m. by Columbia playing Missouri. The winners and losers meet each other Sunday at times to be determined.

La Salle in a single game is at No. 20 Kentucky Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. while Princeton in a single game hosts Maine at 1 p.m. in Jadwin Gym.

And that’s the local report.


Friday, November 26, 2021

The Guru Report: Rutgers Rally Falls Short to DePaul While Ranked Teams Again Escape or Win Close

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Thursdays may be for rallies when it comes to the Rutgers women’s basketball team.

A week after pulling a stunning fourth-quarter, 18-point, comeback and then eventual victory over Harvard in overtime the Scarlet Knights were at it again on on Thanksgiving, against DePaul.

This time, however, down in the Virgin Islands, they nearly wiped away the same size deficit earlier but did not extend far enough and fell to the Blue Demons, 77-74, at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas in the opening day of the Paradise Jam.

Elsewhere in the tropics a bunch of ranked teams which decided to do a combination of holiday travel and work from home had mixed results, especially Maryland, which shot up to No. 2 this week in The Associated Press women’s poll but got wiped out 78-60 by its former rival from the Terrapins’ rivals in their old Atlantic Coast Conference wars, No. 5 NC State in the Pink Flamingo Classic at Nassau, The Bahamas.

No. 17 Florida State got ambushed by unranked but West Coast Conference favorite BYU 61-54 in the opening of the St. Petersburg Showcase in St. Petersburg, Fla., where No. 22 West Virginia in the other round beat Purdue 65-57.

Defending champion and No. 7 Stanford in a tight competition edged No. 4 Indiana 69-66 in the Pink Flamingo, where all rounds will be predetermined, while back in the Paradise Jam in a similar format, No. 9 Arizona edged unranked Vanderbilt 48-46, when Shaina Pellington scored a layup before time expired.

In the Cancun Challenge over in Mexico, No. 6 Baylor got threatened early at the start of several days of predetermined action, but eventually controlled Fordham, 68-45. Elsewhere in that event, Houston surprised Arizona State,68-60, Toledo beat Idaho State 79-58, and Southern Cal finished strong over Seton Hall 79-65.

The event had to do some rescheduling when No. 8 began cancelling appearances last weekend when several members of the Hawkeyes program became tested positive under COVID-19 protocols.

Other scores on the Guru’s special tracker saw Washington State beat Miami 62-47 in the Pink Flamingo, in the Paradise Jam, Northwestern beat Summit favorite South Dakota favorite 73-57, No. 23 Texas A&M top Pittsburgh 57-46, in one-game played in the Goombay Splash saw VCU with a 60-47 win over Washington in in Bimini, the Bahamas, in one-game played on Thursday, Mississippi State beat Dayton 65-54 in the Daytona Beach Invitational in Florida, and Seattle edged SMU 70-66 in one game in the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas, Nevada.

These events will continue, while Multi Team Events (MTE) will also occur elsewhere with more of the Guru 11-team Division I programs involved.

Rutgers Loses Second: In Rutgers’ game, the Scarlet Knights (4-2) used a 27-point eruption in the third quarter before flaming out at the finish against DePaul (4-1).

Osh Brown in a losing effort had a 20-point double double with the same number of rebounds, the first such feat since Betnijah Laney, a current star of the WNBA New York Liberty, had 24 points and 24 rebounds against North Carolina on Dec. 4, in double overtime after finishing a tie game in regulation with 21 points and 20 rebounds.

Playing almost even in the final period, Rutgers trailed 72-70 but the Blue Demons held on and could breathe again at the finish when the Scarlet Knights missed a game-tying three-pointer.

They also got a season-high 19 points from Victoria Morris, while Brown is the active Division I leader with 1,179 rebounds.

“I want to give DePaul credit,” said Timothy Eatman, acting coach while Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer has stepped away for the season over coronavirus concerns. “They were aggressive andthat kept us on our heels, and we couldn’t attack.

“In the second half, we fought back and competed. We played with spirit and heart once again, but we have to rebound the basketball better all over the floor.”

As for the play of Brown, he observed, “Osh is a warrior. She plays hard and relentless going downhill. I’m so happy for her because she’s reaping the benefits of how hard she works at practice. 

“Anytime a player works that hard, that consistently, you’re going to have a great chance to find success.”

DePaul, which tied the series 5-5 from the time both were in the old Big East before Rutgers moved to the Big Ten, got 16 points from Lexi Held, while Dejah Church, who was in foul trouble, scored 12, and Sonya Morris scored 10. Aneesah Morris, who eventually fouled out, scored 8, but Drake transfer Kaitlyn Collier came off the bench and scored 12.

Rutgers was forced into 20 turnovers.

In the game between Arizona, which fell just at the finish to PAC-12 rival Stanford in the NCAA championship game last April in San Antonio, and Vanderbilt, which is under new coach and former UConn star and assistant Shea Ralph, Pellington hit an off-balanced layup to enable the Wildcats (5-0) avoid an upset.

“We were running different action, but then she saw an open lane because the pass wasn’t open,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “She hesitated for a bit, but I thought she was just going to go, she made a great play.

“We got lucky because they should have won the game the way they played. … We should all run out of here and wipe our foreheads because we didn’t deserve to win that game.”

Sam Thomas scored 13 points, while Ariyah Copeland had 11.

Vamderbilt, which plays at Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia next month, got 10 points each from Demi Washington and Ilyana Moore, which erased a 15-point deficit which existed midway through the second quarter.

“Obviously, when you lose a game like that you’re disappointed,” Ralph said. “I felt we could have won it. Our defense was so good all game. We just needed one stop at the end, and we couldn’t get it.

“There’s opportunities for us to learn from this. On the flip side, our team has grown so much over the last couple of weeks. There are no moral victories, but I’m happy to see how we’re coming together and maturing.”

Vanderbilt and Rutgers will meet 1 p.m. Friday on ESPN+/ESPN3, while DePaul and Arizona will play at 3:15 p.m.

Rutgers has previously won the Jam three-previous times when it was under a pure bracket format.

In the other two games, No. 23 Texas A&M (5-0) ran away in the final minutes to get its win as Destiny Pitts and Jordan Nixon each scored 12 points, and Kayla Wells scored 10.

Pitt (4-1)  got 16 points from reserve Dayshanette Harris and a double double of 10 points and 19 rebounds from Liatu King.

“When the shots weren’t going in, you have to be able to do other things to stay in the game,” said long-time Women’s Hall of Fame coach Gary Blair, who recently announced he will retire at the end of this season.

“Those things are rebounding, sharing the basketball and playing defense. It took us a while to realize what a good shot was. When you’re on the road and it is the first game of a tournament, it can lead to some poor shooting, which is exactly what happened tonight. Give Pitt credit, they fought hard despite missing their leading scorer.”

The Aggies will play South Dakota (2-3) at 8 p.m. on Friday, while Pitt will play Northwestern at 5:45 p.m..

The Wildcats (4-1) of the Big Ten in their win over South Dakota got a sparkling performance from Caileigh Walsh, who scored 20 points, shooting 9-for-15 from the floor, while Lauryn Satterwhite, filling in for the injured Sydney Wood, had a career-high 15 points, shooting 5-of-7 from the field, including 4-for-5 from deep.

Veronica Burton had 19 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and four steals, while Courtney Shaw had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Pink Flamingo Not For the Birds: NC State took advantage of Maryland’s depleted roster at the Baha Mar Hoops Convention Tournament in the Baha Mar Hoops tournament, missing Diamond Miller, Katie Benzan, and Faith Msasonius, who dealt the Terrapins their worst setback in two years, a Big Ten road loss at Northwestern, 81-58, on Dec. 31, 2019.

“When the fans started doing little chants and banging on the bleachers, I definitely felt like I was in an AAU tournament,” said Wolfpack all-American Elissa Cunane. “I think our team brought the juice themselves. But also we had a ton of fans out there. Maryland has a lot, and a lot of N.C. State people came here. We knew it was a top-five matchup, so we were prepared, no matter what the setting was.”

Benzan and Masonius didn’t go with the team due to unannounced illnesses while Miller has a sore right knee and not likely to play Saturday against Stanford, which tips at 3 p.m. on Flohoops.

“The first half, they punched first,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “They were very, very aggressive. I think it put us on our heels. There’s no question how good N.C. State is, just such a deep team.

“Obviously, for us to come in here without five players and two that are starters for us, I love the fact, given what we didn’t have, just the fight that we had in the second half.

“But we talked about it. It takes a 40-minute game, and if we would have played like we did in the second half, it would have been a much more competitive game.”

By halftime the Wolfpack were up 49-27.

Angel Reese reached another career high for the Terrapins with 24 points and she grabbed nine rebounds. Ashley Owusu had 14 points and five assists. Shyanne Sellers scored 12.

Cunane had 20 points for N.C. State, shooting 8-for-9 from the field, while grabbing 10 rebounds, and Jakia Burn-Turner scored 12 with 11 rebounds. Diamond Johnson had 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

“We definitely want to push it,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. “We definitely wanted to be aggressive.”

In the Stanford game, Cameron Brink had 21 points and 22 rebounds for the Cardinal (4-1) in the win over Indiana.

“Cam is a great weapon inside, drives well from the high post,” said Stanford Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer. She’s a complete packege who can score. She’s very quick.”

Ali Patberg’s game-tying three-point attempt missed at the finish for Indiana.

“This will serve us well down the stretch once the Big Ten starts,” said Hoosiers (4-1) coach Teri Moren. “We didn’t shoot it great and we still had a chance of winning the game. The silver lining there is, we can compete with anyone in the country.”

Patberg scored 19 for Indiana.

In the one game in the event being played Friday, Stanford will meet No. 18 South Florida at noon.

Cancun Challenge: In the feature game, Fordham (3-2) seemed headed for a Mexican standoff with No. 6 Baylor (4-1) when the Rams took a 24-20 lead at the half. Then the Bears asserted themselves on the Rams.

All-American NaLyssa Smith had 19 points and 15 rebounds for Baylor, while Jordan Lewis scored 15 and dealt six assists. Ja’Mee Asberry and Sarah Andrews each scored 10.

Kendell Heremaia had  14 for Fordham, all came in the first half, including six rebounds, and Anna DeWolfe scored 10.

Houston (3-2) forced Arizona State (2-3) into 20 turnovers and the Cougars got 12 points each from Tiara Young, Dymond Gladney, and Tatyana Hill. Jaddan Simmons had 16 points for the Wildcats in their loss.

Southern Cal  continues to make progress under new coach Lindsay Gottlieb, starting the Cancun Challenge with a 79-65 win over Seton Hall.

Jordyn Jenkins scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for her first double double for the Trojans (4-1), while Alissa Pili scored 15, Angel Jackson had 14, and Jordan Sanders scored 13, while Alyson Miura scored 10.

BYU Pulls Another Upset: In the BYU win in the St. Petersburg tournament, coming after the squad gave Rutgers an early exit from the NCAAs last spring, the defense forced 25 turnovers to give Florida State (4-1) its first loss. Shaylee Gonzales had five steals. 

“The toughness that this team exhibited tonight was special,” BYU assistant coach Lee Cummard said. “The whole team was locked in and made an impact. We have another great opportunity on Saturday.

The tournament is idle on Friday but resumes Saturday as Florida State plays Purdue at 11 a.m., followed by the championship in which BYU meets No. 22 West Virginia at 1 p.m.

Looking Ahead to the Locals: Here is just a listing of the Guru Local 11 playing Friday. The more extensive look is in the previous body.

Saint Joseph’s meets Old Dominion at noon in the Houston suburb of Katy in the first round of the Van Chancellor tournament, while Delaware meets Eastern Michigan at 2 p.m. in the opener of the FIU tournament in Miami, Florida.

Penn plays UC San Diego at 6 p.m. in the opener of the Loyola Marymount tourney in Los Angeles, while just to the south Drexel meets Nebraska at 7 p.m. in the University of  San Diego tourney.

Rutgers, as mentioned, plays Vanderbilt  at 1 p.m. in the Paradise Jam, while Penn State starts against St. John’s at 7:30 p.m. in a Gulf Coast Showcase opener in Estero, Florida, on Flohoops.

On Saturday, Temple travels to Villanova at 2 p.m. for the Owls’ Big Five opener and Wildcats’ third game in the City Series at 2-0.

Rider meets host Lehigh at 1 p.m. on ESPN+ in the Mountain Hawks’ Christmas City Classic opener. 

Rutgers meets No. 9 Arizona at 3:15 p.m. in the Paradise Jam.

Saint Joseph’s in its second Van Chancellor tournament game faces Stetson at noon, while La Salle is at No. 20 Kentucky at 8:30 p.m.

Delaware in a predetermined match meets Chicago State at noon at Lehigh, while Penn’s predetermined match out West is against Memphis at 6:30 p.m.

Drexel meets either Fresno State or San Diego, time to be determined.

Penn State ahead of Friday on Saturday meets either Iowa State or Charlotte in the second day of the Florida Gulf Coast Challenge/

On Sunday, Princeton hosts Maine in a single contest at 1 p.m. at Jadwin Gym.

Penn State finishes its tournament in Florida while in Texas, Saint Joseph’s wraps up playing Ball State at 2:30 p.m.

Rider plays Columbia or Missouri in Lehigh’s tournament.

Looking Ahead to the Nationals: On Friday, for those not mentioned, Michigan plays Oregon State at 6:30 p.m., at the Daytona Beach Invitational, which has Georgia and Notre Dame meeting at 4:30 p.m., as mentioned, South Florida and Stanford play at noon in the Pink Flamino, Rhode Island is at Virginia at noon in the Cavaliers’ tournament in Charlottesville. 

And that’s the report.

Sydney Cooks had a game-high 21 for Seton Hall, and Lauren Park Lane scored 17, Mya Benbry had 16, and Andra Espinoza-Hunter finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Toledo’s Quinesha Lockett scored 20 in the Rocketts’ win and Sophia Wiard scored 14 and dealt eight assists.

Dora Goles had 16 for Idaho State.

On Friday, all airing on Fl,ohoops, Baylor meets Arizona State at 11 a.m., Houston plays Fordham at 1:30 p.m., Toledo plays Seton Hall at 4 p.m., and Idaho plays UCF at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

The Guru Report: Stony Brook Tops Columbia in Battle of Unbeaten’s For Record Start

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Stony Brook now owns the best start in program history at 6-0 after ending Columbia’s perfect start Wednesday with another impressive road win, sn explosive 91-81 victory over the host Lions (5-1) at Levien Gym on New York’s Upper West Side.

The points are the second best in the defending America East champions’ NCAA Division l era and most since 96 scored against Vermont 17 seasons ago on February 24, 2007.

The record st the moment off the national calendar brings Stony Brook among three other schools at the top of the list with the name record: second ranked Maryland, Rhode Island, and top-ranked South Carolina.

The Seawolves in that collection own previous road wins at St. John’s and an upset at Rutgers. 

Depending on the success of those opponents, the victories could help the cause as an at-large pick in the expanded NCAA 68-team field should Stony Brook fall short of repeating last year’s conference tournament triumph.

In Wednesday’s battle with the Lions, picked third in the Ivy hunt behind Princeton and Penn, five Seawolves scored in double figures for the second time, leading with Gigi Gonzalez, who claimed a career best 21 points, helped by 14-of-16foul shots connected. 

For three quarters it was a tight battle concluding with a 59-59 tie until the visitors erupted for 32 points across the final 10 minutes, Gonzales collecting 13 in the period. Her total foul shots attempted and made were both personal bests.

“I was really pleased with our performance today,” said first-year coach Ashley Langford, succeeding Caroline McCombs, who left for George Washington in the off-season.

“We found a way, our whole thing has been defense, but today, we didn’t really defend as well as I would have liked to,” Langford said, but we still found a way to get a ‘W.’

“To me, that’s resiliency, that’s figuring it out … l’m proud of them for doing that. 

“Columbia is a great team, a really good defensive team, and hard to guard. We got when we needed to, and people stepped up. 

“We are a collective team and that’s what makes us good and that’s what makes us challenging. I’ve been on them about the glass and today we got 16 offensive rebounds so l’m happy about that,” Langford noted in her postgame remarks, posted on the Seawolves’ website.

India Pagan was 8-for-9 from the field, adding 16 points with six rebounds to the visitors’ attack, while Leighah-Amori Wool was 4-for-7 for 11 points, matched by reserve McKenzie Bushee, who was 5-for-8, and Nairimar Vargas-Reyes was 4-for-5 for 10 points and eight rebounds.

Stony Brook is back home Sunday in Island Federal Arena to host St. Francis Brooklyn at 2 p.m.

Abbey Hsu scored 22 points, of which 13 came during the third quarter when Columbia tied. Kaitlyn Davis, the Ivy player of the week, had a game-high 23 points, a personal best. She also had six rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block.

 Sienna Durr scored 11, while Carly Rivera and Jaida Patrick each scored 10 

“Stony Brook is a really good team with a lot of experienced players that do what they do well, said Columbia coach Megan Griffith. “I think we have a ton to learn. This is going to be some really good game film for us to go back and review.’

Columbia heads to Lehigh’s Christmas City Tournament in Bethlehem, Pa., at the Mountain Hawks’ Stabler Arena to play Missouri at 3:30 p.m. Saturday following the Lehigh-Rider game in front. The winners and losers meet Sunday to play for 3rd and first place.

 Nationally Noted: Other games played Wednesday specifically on the Guru’s tracker had host Georgia Tech whip Hofstra 65-32, host Alabama beat Mercer 55-48, and host Clemson topped North Florida 84-72, while visiting Yale beat host Boston U. 57-52.

The tracker includes all 11 local D-1 schools and their entire season schedules, key games of the ranked squads and major powers. and the broadcast and significant streaming viewing schedules and schools in mid-majors picked high in their conferences olaying each other or likes in other conferences, or big powers.

At the end of December an update going into conference action will grab rising program, though those that didn't fare  well to date will be held to see how they perform in early league play.

Looking Ahead: Turkey Day Feasts A ton of tourneys will be taking place through the weekend in either normal formats or predetermined opponents each round. Check school websites or those networks airing in case of schedules changed since the compilation for Guru tracking.

On Thursday, Rutgers is the only local playing, appearing against Big East power DePaul at 1 p.m. in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. This is an event with predetermined opponents all rounds. The other Thursday games have no. 9 Arizona playing Vanderbilt at 3:15 p.m., Northwestern playing South Dakota at 5:45 o.m. and No. 24 Texas A&M playing Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. 

All those games will be aired on ESPN3 or ESPN+.

Rutgers on Friday meets Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. and on Saturday meets Arizona at 3:15 p.m.

Other Thursday games have in the Pink Flamingo Competition in Nassau, all airing on Flohoops, No. 2 Maryland back to old ACC rivals days playing No. 5 NC State at 11 a.m.; No.4 Indiana and Stanford meeting at 1:30 p.m., and Miami meeting Washington State at 4 p.m.

In the Cancun Challenge in Mexico also airing on Flohoops, Fordham meets No. 6 Baylor at 11a.m., Arizona State meeting Houston at 1:30 p.m., Southern Cal meeting Seton Hall at 4 p.m, and ldaho State meeting Toledo at 6;30 p.m. Re-scheduling has been done across the three days after No. 8 Iowa withdrew Friday due to positive COVID-19 tests. 

In other events, Washington meets VCU for Game 1 in the three-team Goombay Splash at 5 p.m. in Bimini. Bahamas.

Mississippi State meets Dayton at noon in the Daytona Beach Invitational in Florida.

In the St. Petersburg Showcase in Florida, BYU plays No. 17 Florida State at 7 p.m., after Purdue and No.22 West Virginia meet at 5 p.m., both on Flohoops while Seattle and SMU meet at 9 p.m. in the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Local HolidayTravels: Here is just the local itinerary for everyone else through Sunday with the rest of the national slate coming day-by-day.

Temple is at Villanova at 2 p.m. Saturday on Flohoops for the visiting Owls’ first Big Five game while the host Wildcats are going for 3-0 with just La Salle left. Those Explorers are at No. 20 Kentucky at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night airing on the SEC Network plus package.

Princeton hosts America East contender Maine Sunday at 1 p.m. on the ESPN+ package.

Saint Joseph’s is down in the Houston suburb of Katy, Texas, Friday through Sunday playing three predetermined opponents in the Van Chancellor tournament beginning with Old Dominion at noon, followed Saturday playing Stetson also at noon, snd finishing playing Ball State at 2 o.m. Sunday.

Delaware is in Miami for FIU’s tourney playing Eastern Michigan at 2 p.m., on Friday and Chicago State at noon Saturday.

The Rider-Lehigh game is at 1 p.m. on ESPN+ in the tourney on Saturday and the Broncs’ Sunday game, either opponent, will also air on ESPN+.

The Lehigh event is in true tourney format.

That also goes for Penn State down in Florida and Drexel out West but not Penn also out West.

Penn State will open Friday in the Gulf Coast Showcase at 7:30 p.m., playing St. John’s in Estero, and all games will air on Flohoops.

The tourney begins with unbeaten UMass playing South Dakota State at 11 a.m. followed by Kent State meeting No.19 UCLA meeting at 1:30 p.m., and No. 13 Iowa State and Charlotte meeting at 5 p.m.

On Saturday the Penn State and Iowa State pairs are on one side of the winners and consolation brackets with UCLA and UMass in the other. On Sunday the teams will play foe 7th, 5th, 3rd,and the championship.

Drexel on Friday will play Nebraska at 7 p.m. in the Dana on Mission Tourney at the University of San Diego after the host team, whose game is on the WCC Network, will meet Fresno State.

On Saturday the winners and losers meet, times to be determined.

Finally, for the locals, Penn is in Los Angeles. On Friday the Quakers play UC San Diego in Loyola Marymount’s tourney at 6:30 p.m., and on Saturday meet Memphis at 6:30 p.m.

And that’s the report.