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.

Friday, January 27, 2023

The Guru Report: No. 5 UConn Wins at Tennessee; Maryland, Indiana, and Rutgers Get Big Ten Wins; Duke Bounces Back and UNC Streak Continues in ACC

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

No. 5 UConn got off to a big start on Tennessee, then the Lady Vols outplayed the Huskies in the next period only to see the visitors regain their footing the rest of the way Thursday night and go on to an 84-67 victory in Thompson-Bolling Arena in Knoxville.

Having suffered injuries all season, UConn (19-2) is now 4-0 since the revival of the series between two of collegiate women’s basketball’s  super powers in 2020. 

The Huskies and Tennessee (16-7), which had a nine-game win streak snapped, had played every year, sometimes twice, between 1995 and 2007 when the late Lady Vols legendary coach Pat Summitt stopped the annual meetings.

“I don’t know if we could recreate the rivalry we’ve had,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “This is as good a nonconference game you can play anywhere.”

Fairfield transfer Lou Lopez Senechal scored 26 points for UConn while Aaliyah Edwards scored 25. Additionally, Aubrey Griffin and Dorka Juhasz each scored 13 points and Nika Muhl dealt 13 assists to extend the win streak to 12.

At the outset of the third period the home team moved within two points before the Huskies rebuilt a double-digit lead.

Auriemma now has 1,168 wins exceeded only by Tara VanDerveer at No. 3 Stanford, who holds the Division I women’s record and who’s Cardinal (19-2) next plays Friday night.

Tennessee’s Jordan Horston scored 27, Rickea Jackson scored 13, and Jillian Hollingshead scored 11.

Lady Vols coach Kellie Harper, who played for Summitt, said slowing the opposition down was difficult. “They were making every open shot and some tough ones.”

The only two remaining unbeaten teams in Division I are in the Southeastern Conference and the Lady Vols will play at LSU Monday night and then meet No. 1 and reigning NCAA champion South Carolina next month while UConn will host the Gamecocks in their intersectional series on Feb. 5.

But first the Huskies return to Big East play, hosting No. 21 Villanova Sunday in Hartford. 

Tennessee’s seven losses have all been to ranked squads.

Big Ten Mania: No. 6 Indiana at home in Assembly Hall hit No. 2 Ohio State with the Buckeyes’ second loss this week 78-65 after being previously unbeaten and the Hoosiers (19-1, 9-1 Big Ten) moved to first a half-game ahead of idle Iowa, which beat OSU (19-2, 8-2) on Monday.

Mackenzie had 26 points for Indiana while Yarden Garzon connected on four shots from deep, scored 20 and grabbed 10 rebounds. Sydney Parrish and Grace Berger each scored 12 points while Parrish grabbed 11 rebounds and Berger and Chloe Moore-McNeil each dealt six assists.

Ohio State’s Cotie McMahon had 21 points while Taylor Mikesell scored 15, including her 2000th career point and Thierry Taylor had a double-double 13 points and 12 rebounds.

No, 10 Maryland won over No. 13 Michigan 72-64 at home at the XFINITYCenter in College Park and moved into a tie for third with Ohio State.

Diamond Miller had 23 points and five steals for the Terrapins (17-4, 8-2 Big Ten) who held the Wolverines (16-5, 6-4) 13 below their season average of 77.3 and forced them into 24 turnovers worth 25 points.

Purdue upset No. 22 Illinois 62-52 on the road as Abbey Ellis had 16 points for the Boilermakers (14-6, 5-5 Big Ten) while Caitlyn Harper and Janae Terry each scored 10 and Terry made it a double-double with 14 rebounds.

Makira Cook had 19 points for Illinois (16-5, 6-4) while Genesis Bryant scored 11, Brynn Shoup-Hill scored 10, and Kendall Bostic grabbed 10 rebounds.

Rutgers in one of only two games involving locals got a split on the Big 10 series with its long-running rival Penn State, winning 86-82 in overtime in Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway, N.J.

Erica Lafayette appeared to have the game won in regulation for the Scarlet Knights (9-13, 3-7 Big Ten) but Penn State (12-9, 3-7) was able to get a layup to force the extended period.

“We played hard and gave ourselves a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter,” said first-year coach Coquese Washington, who was a previous head coach with the opposition

Kai Carter matched her personal best with 17 points and dished a career high six assists. She also grabbed eight rebounds one of which was her 500th.

Chyna Cornwell had a double-double 16 points and 10 rebounds while Kassondra Brown had nine points and 10 boards, Kaylene Smikle scored 14, and Lafayette and Awa Sibide each scored 10.

Penn State’s Makenna Marisa scored 24 points and Temple transfer Alexa Williamson scored 13 with nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Shay Ciezki had 12 points, Leilani Kapinus had 11 points, and Taniyah Thompson scored 10.

The Lady Lions are at Maryland Monday night at 6 p.m. on the B1G network while Rutgers is at Indiana Sunday at 2 p.m. on the subscription B1G+.

In the other local game, which was in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), Rider fell at Siena 94-63 in suburban Albany, N.Y.

The host Saints (13-7, 7-3 MAAC) had five players in double figures led by Teresa Seppala with 22 points.

Makayla Firebaugh had 13 points while Amanda Mobley, Victoria Toomey, and Raphaela Toussaint each scored 10 for Rider (5-15, 2-9), which next on Thursday next week goes to Quinnipiac at 7 p.m.

Duke and Notre Dame Knotted in ACC: The No. 16 Blue Devils off their 66-55 upset of visiting No. 12 Virginia Tech in Cameron Indoor Arena  together with No. 7 Notre Name off their 70-47 win over No. 24 Florida State at home in South Bend, Ind., are tied atop the Atlantic Coast Conference.

In two other conference games of note Wake Forest beat visiting Louisville 68-57 while No. 15 North Carolina won 72-57 at Pitt.

In the Duke game the Blue Devils (18-2, 8-1 ACC) used a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to beat the Hokies (16-4, 6-4). 

Shayeann Day-Wilson had 18 points for the home team while Taylor Soule had 19 points for Virginia Tech and Elizabeth Kitley grabbed 13 rebounds.

In the romp by Notre Dame (17-2, 8-1) Sonia Citron had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Irish while Lauren Ebo had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and reserve KK Bransford had 15 points.

Makayla Timpson had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Seminoles (18-5, 7-3).

Looking Ahead:.Friday belongs to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), Drexel trying to snap a two-game losing streak when the Dragons at 6 p.m. hosts Hofstra in the Daskalakis Athletic Center on Flohoops. A little further south Delaware will host Elon in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark at 7 p.m., also on Flohoops.

On Saturday,  it’s two more high-powered showdowns with elite opponents in the Ivy League, Penn, tied for first with Columbia, visits Harvard at 2 p.m.in Cambridge, Mass., in Lavietes Pavilion on ESPN+, while Princeton hosts Yale at 2 p.m. in Jadwin Gym, also on ESPN+.

In the Atlantic 10, La Salle will seek to keep its win streak alive hosting St. Bonaventure at 2 p.m. in the Tom Gola Arena on ESPN+ while Temple hosts Central Florida at 2 o.m. for an American Athletic Conference in the Liacouras Center on ESPN+.

In the Patriot League Lafayette hosts Colgate at 2 p.m. in the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Pa., on ESPN+  while Lehigh is at Boston U. at 4 p.m. on ESPN+ 

The DePaul game at Seton Hall in the Big East is postponed due to the visiting Blue Demons roster shortage.

On Friday night on the PAC-10 Network, UCLA is at Colorado at 9 p.m. and Southern Cal is at Utah. At 10 p.m., Oregon is at Cal and at 11 p.m. Oregon State is at Stanford. 

And that’s the report.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Guru Report: Saint Joseph’s Heads Night of Four Local Sweeps With Temple, Lehigh and Lafayette

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — It was a lite night on the local card Wednesday with the odds going in that the only team that had the best shot to win was right here at Hagan Arena on Hawk Hill where Saint Joseph’s, attempting to stop a three-game slide by narrow margins to the elite level of the Atlantic 10, was hosting St. Bonaventure, which sits at the bottom of the standings.

Deference to the visiting Bonnies, if you’re the team that Saint Joseph’s has displayed virtually all season, then you know what your mission is and the Hawks successfully accomplished it with a 92-61 triumph, the differential only five points less than it was at its widest margin a few minutes earlier.

“Very proud of the way we bounced back from Sunday’s game (loss to Fordham),” Hawks veteran coach Cindy Griffin said. “I thought the key today was moving the ball and getting the best looks that we can.

“You can see we had 26 assists on 33 field goals, which is phenomenal, and we were able to make the shots we wanted to make. I thought we started off real strong and we were able to maintain that intensity all four quarters.”

Everyone on Saint Joseph’s (15-5, 5-3 Atlantic 10) got to play in this one, the final total for the winners just one point off a previous high scored on a previous 93-69 triumph at Niagara on November 12, 2017, five seasons ago.

It’s also five seasons ago since the last time the Hawks dropped so many dimes, and just the second time all season they shot above 50 percent from the field (33-59, 55.9%) and deep (9-16, 56.3%).

Sophomore Talya Brugler, the reigning rookie of the year in the conference, which she leads in shots and makes, was 7-for-14 and scored 18 points, while Laura Ziegler was 5-for-7, including a perfect 2-for-2 from outside the arc for 14 points, and Mackenzie Smith was also 5-for-7, scoring 15 points.

“Coming off a three game losing streak, getting a quick lead like that, we knew we couldn’t settle and we had to keep pushing,” Brugler said of the game and first quarter which went the Hawks’ way 27-13. “It helped our confidence a lot and the flow of the game was in our favor.”

Oliva Mullins, who set a personal best with seven assists, a total also collected from Katie Jekot, and Emma Bostlet, who was 4-for-9,  just missed scoring in double figures with nine points each.

“Those three losses made us a very hungry team,” Mullins said afterwards. “We wanted to, unfortunately, take it out on the team that was coming next. We just want to roll with this energy and keep it going all the way to the A-10s.”

The conference tourney will return to Chase Field House, home of the 76ers minor league team, in Wilmington, Del.

The Hawks were 17-for-21 from the line, the best a 5-for-5 from reserve Jaden Walker, who scored seven points.

Dominating in transition and in the paint, Saint Joseph’s was 18-7 in points off turnovers and 44-24 in the differential for points in the paint.

St. Bonaventure (4-19, 1-7) got 21 points from L’yanna Lops and 17 from Nikki Oppenheimer but got only 23 from the rest of the squad.

Speaking off getting everyone in the game, Griffin noted, “These guys took ownership of that. They knew our bench was working really, really hard throughout the whole season. You want to be able to put them in the game so they get some court time, stay hungry, to show they are valued and need them to get better so we can get more minutes for them. I was happy we were able to do that tonight.”

Saint Joseph’s heads to Richmond, Sunday, at 4 p.m. in the Robins arena in Virginia on a 4 p.m. CBSSN national telecast. The Spiders were leading Fordham most of Wednesday before fading in the final minutes.

Next Wednesday for the Hawks, it’s on to the first of the two-series home and home with contending Rhode Island, playing the Rams, who were challenged by George Mason, Wednesday, at 6 p.m. in the Thomas M. Ryan Center in Kingston on ESPN+.

Short-Handed Temple Tops Tulane: Don’t expect this to be a trend to adopt but in a surprise outcome considering the timing, the Owls got caught way down yonder in New Orleans, though much differently, in the UConn dynamic of losing players and winning the American Athletic Conference game 68-59 at Tulane in Avron B. Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse in Louisiana.

 Not long before the opening tip, an announcement from the school noted that sophomore guards Jasha Clinton and Aniya Gourdine were suspended by first-year coach Diane Richardson for breaking a team role. 

The same note also indicated Graduate forward Jalynn Holmes and freshman guard Kourtney Wilson had voluntarily left the team as well.

A source familiar with roster decisions indicated here the two situations were separate without more elaboration.

On the suspensions in her postgame zoom Richardson said, “It was just for today’s contest, they violated the team’s rules.”

In this one Temple literally turned the tide with a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter on the Green Wave (13-8, 3-5 AAC)  which had been surging in the series with seven straight wins dating back to  2017, the last Owls’ win.

“I think they knew that we only had eight players,” Richardson said of her squad. “And that we had to do it all together, and they had each other’s back and they fought for each other and it was a great outcome.”

The outcome flipped Temple (8-11, 3-4) above Tulane in the standings with plenty of room to easily climb higher considering they are now only a game behind what is a three-way tie for fourth and one-and-a-half behind third.

Tiarra East, normally a spark off the bench, had a double-double for the Owls with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Tarriyonna Gary scored 14 points with four shots from deep, as did Aleah Nelson on the way to 18 points. 

Richardson referred to Gary having “a shooter’s touch, you know, hand down, man down.

“And she was competent, and she pulled it today and we were really pleased with that. Her teammatesare egging her on to keep shooting the basketball, so she did that today.” 

Brittany Garner also helped in reserve scoring 10 points in 12 minutes of play.

Tulane got 26 points from Kyren Whittington, while Anijah Grant and Marta Galic each scored 10.

Temple will have a chance to get a win streak going Saturday when the Owls return home to the Liacouras Center at 2 p.m. on ESPN+ and they host Central Florida (UCF) , which since Katie Abrahamson-Henderson left to fill the Georgia coaching vacancy has struggled and is currently 10-8 overall and 1-5 in the conference.

Lehigh Upsets Holy Cross: The Mountain Hawks returned to their successfully recent overtime act and bagged a big one in the Patriot League, snapping the eight-game win streak of Holy Cross (16-4, 8-1 PL), which had not lost in the conference, gaining a narrow 76-74 victory at home in Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pa.

“We talked with our team about how we just have to keep going,” said first-year coach Addie Micir, a former Princeton star. “We’ve been in a lot of these games, and it’s about time we get rewarded for it, right?

“You’ve got to get rewarded by playing hard and making plays when it matters, and we did that.”

With 11 seconds left in regulation, Mackenzie Kramer, who hit the game-tying shot previously to force the Mountain Hawks (10-1, 6-3) into an overtime triumph, did it again, though the Crusaders had two shots that failed before time expired.

“She’s so clutch,” said Frannie Hottinger of her teammate. “She’s like the most clutch player I’ve ever played with, and it’s really awesome to have a teammate like her come up big at the end of the game.”

Kramer also took care of the finish with a shot from deep with nine seconds left to put Lehigh ahead with the final score, though Holy Cross had a chance to keep it going but couldn’t get an equalizer to drop.

Hottinger scored 30, just four off her personal best, and made it a double-double with 11 rebounds. Kramer scored 21 and grabbed five rebounds, including one with 0.7 seconds left as Kaitlyn Flanagan missed a driving layup.

“They’re our performance leaders for a reason,” Micir said of her top stars. “They’re competitive, they’re edgy, and when they can put points on the board, we’re really, really good.”

Anna Harvey dealt nine assists while the team overall was one short of perfect at the line, shooting 11-of-12.

Next up is a trip to league-leader Boston U., Saturday, at 4 p.m. in Massachusetts, the game airing on ESPN+.

Lafayette Takes Third Straight: The Leopards are suddenly humming continuing their run of triumphs beating host Loyola of Maryland in a low-scoring 39-35 battle in the Patriot League in Baltimore at Reitz Arena.

Makayla Andrews scored 13 points with six rebounds for Lafayette (7-12, 4-5 PL), who rallied from a nine-point deficit from the outset of the fourth period, while Kylie Favours just missed scoring in double digits with nine points, and Abby Antognoli scored eight.

The Greyhounds (7-13, 2-7) got a double-double 10 points and 16 rebounds from Lex Therien, while Taleah Dixon also scored 10 points.

Ahead by two near the end, Andrews went to the line and put down both foul shots to clinch the outcome.

Lafayette is back home in Kirby Sports Arena in Easton, Pa., Saturday, hosting Colgate at 2 p.m. on ESPN+.

Nationally Noted - Texas Upsets No. 14 Oklahoma: In the one game to focus, Wednesday, the host Longhorns continue to baffle with their roller-coaster season, this time on the upside with a 78-58 win in a Big 12 game at home in their new Moody Center in Austin.

DeYona Gaston had 19 points for Texas (15-6, 6-2 Big 12), Taylor Jones scored 16, while Shaylee Gonzales scored 12 and dealt seven assists,  grabbed six rebounds and four steals, and Rori Harmon scored 10, dealt six assists, and collected five rebounds.

The Sooners (16-3, 6-2) got a double digit scoring game from only Skylar Vann with 13 points, the team held over 29 points below their scoring average.

Looking Ahead: For the locals the next few days, on Thursday night, Rider goes to Siena in suburban Albany for a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) at 7 p.m. on ESPN+ while the long-running rivalry now part of the Big Ten has Penn State looking for a season sweep when the Lady Lions visit Rutgers at 7 p.m. on the subscription ESPN+.

Friday belongs to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), Drexel trying to snap a two-game losing streak when the Dragons at 6 p.m. hosts Hofstra in the Daskalakis Athletic Center on Flohoops. A little further south Delaware will host Elon in the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark at 7 p.m., also on Flohoops.

On Saturday, in addition to the games mentioned with the local results of Wednesday, it’s two more high-powered showdowns with elite opponents in the Ivy League, Penn, tied for first with Columbia, visits Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., in Lavietes Pavilion on ESPN+, while Princeton hosts Yale at 2 p.m. in Jadwin Gym, also on ESPN+.

In the Atlantic 10, La Salle will seek to keep its win streak alive hosting St. Bonaventure at 2 p.m. in the Tom Gola Arena on ESPN+.

On Thursday, nationally, the major intersectional game has Tennessee hosting No. 5 UConn, in Thompson-Bolling Arena in Knoxville at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

In the Big Ten there are two battles of ranked teams Michigan is at Maryland at 6:30 p.m. on the B!G,  while Ohio State is at Indiana at 8:30 p.m. also on the B!G in Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

Two battles of ranked teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 8 p.m. has Virginia Tech at Duke in Cameron Indoor Arena, in Durham, N.C., on the ACCN; and at the same time on the regional network Florida State will be at Notre Dame in Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind.

On Friday night on the PAC-10 Network, UCLA is at Colorado at 9 p.m. and Southern Cal is at Utah.

And that’s the report.




Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Guru Report: St. Joe Alums See Rally on Fordham Fall Just Short While La Salle Wins Fourth Straight and Drexel Drops Second Straight

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — Maybe it was the fact that besides it being Hawks Women’s Basketball Alumni Day here at Hagan Arena, it was also Saint Joseph’s celebrating the 10th anniversary of its 2013 Atlantic Ten Championship Sunday afternoon that got Fordham all riled up at the outset.

After all, the great memory here of that 47-46 triumph occurring during the inaugural year of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn that had future WNBA star Natasha Cloud in the lineup was also the bitter recall of the closing stop on the Rams at the finish.

Nevertheless if you watched the Villanova opening on Creighton Friday night when the Wildcats made shot after shot with Maddy Siegrist on the way of becoming the program’s all-time scorer, for local fans of the women’s game here in general, the Fordham attack was the reverse.

The Rams couldn’t do anything wrong in an another Atlantic 10 game on the current stretch featuring two of the league’s prime teams and Saint Joseph’s couldn’t do much right, falling behind by as many as 23 points.

However, still down by 19 in the second half, the Hawks finally caught fire and several times moved within three points of flipping the switch but Fordham had answers in the final minutes and left with a 71-65 victory while hanging Saint Joseph’s (14-5, 4-3 A-10) with its third straight narrow loss.

“We just were not ready for their speed, weren’t ready for them to knock down these shots,” said longtime Hawks coach Cindy Griffin, who coached that championship squad and also played here.

“I was very proud of our kids with their resilience and coming back making it a game in the fourth.”

Right before the half ended, Laura Ziegler got one down from deep, the deficit still daunting at 43-25, Fordham (13-7, 5-2) shooting 18-of-29 for 64.3 percent, including six from deep, while the home team was 11-of-31 for 35.5 percent, and just one from beyond the arc.

The poster girl of the comeback was inside force Mackenzie Smith, just 1-for-10 across the first two periods and then 6-of-20 the rest of the way, finishing with 17 points.

“We were settling for jump shots, outside of the paint, and it wasn’t working for us,” Griffin said. “Once we said keep going at it and some paint touches, whether it be driving or post entries to balance out our attack from the offensive standpoint.”

Getting defensive stops and coming to life, the crowd sensed a return to the pre-loss streak world of 14-3, which tied the best start of the Griffin era, occurring her inaugural season, returning home 2001-02.

Talya Brugler’s two foul shots lowered the differential to three the first time 63-60 but Fordham’s Asiah Dingle, the game’s high scorer with 21 points and six rebounds, got two points back with a shot.

Brugler, who had 20 points and nine rebounds, as did Ziegler on the boards, made it 65-62.

Appearing to successfully defend the next possession, it went for naught when Kaitlyn Downey connected from deep with a second left on the shot clock and made it a six point game.

However, Olivia Mullins, who had a career-high 16 points, hit one from deep to get it to a three-point differential again with 11 seconds left.

But now the Hawks were forced to foul and Dingle made 3-of-4 from the line to secure the win.

Though this one was lost by a few more points than the previous two, there were enough plays, especially at the finish, to consider what might have been.

“I think those were key possession or pivotal moments,” Griffin said. “We would have had two more possessions. I think that was really huge.”

Being local, Cloud discussed impressions of Villanova’s Siegrist, who is starting to draw attention from WNBA coaches with an eye to April’s draft.

“She’s a phenomenal player,” Cloud said. “I got a chance to see her last year when I was working out at Villanova’s gym. “All she’s put in, even when she was hurt, it’s all working out now, she’s the leading scorer in the country, now she’s the leading scorer at Villanova. She continues to thrive and it’s good to see a local kid being who she is.”

Siegrist on Monday night will receive the Amateur Athlete of the Year award from the Philadelphia Sportswriters Association at the annual dinner at 6 p.m. at the DoubleTree By Hilton Cherry Hill (Formerly Crown Plaza) on Route 70 across the Delaware River in New Jersey.

Griffin is being cited for reaching 400 wins this season and Jefferson University’s Tom Shirley likewise for now having collected over 800 wins. Tickets can still be bought at the website phillysportswriters.com 

Back here at Saint Joseph’s, the road for the moment gets a little easier, Saint Bonaventure the next opponent and playing here Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.

Rhode Island, still unbeaten in league play, will be upcoming home-and-home opponents, but everything else is winnable the rest of the way, though nothing is an out-and-out given.

“The league is really competitive,” Griffin said. “One thing that we need to do is just stay true to what our core values are which is being selfless and relentless.”

La Salle Win Streak Continues: The Explorers are continuing on making good on their preseason forecast of second from the Atlantic 10 coaches, now having won four straight after beating new member Loyola Chicago 67-51 in the Windy City.

A 21-0 run across the two halves was the key for La Salle (13-8, 4-2 A-10), which had four players in double figures against the Ramblers (6-13, 1-5).

Kayla Spruill scored 15, shooting 5-of-11 from the field, including three from beyond the arc; Australian sisters Mia and Claire Jacobs scored 12 and 11, respectively; and point guard Molly Masciantonio scored 10 and dealt six assists.

La Salle is off until Saturday, hosting St. Bonaventure at 2 p.m. on ESPN+, the event also serving as the Explorers’ Pride game.

Drexel Upset by Towson: Keishana Washington continued to get her points as the second leading scorer in the nation to Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist and like the Wildcats’ star, became the second player this week involved with a long-standing school record in the Philly Six.

But Drexel, the preseason favorite in the Colonial Athletic Association, following a week off with the bye, dropped its second straight, losing at Towson 70-61, which is also where the conference tourney will be held in March in suburban Baltimore.

For the host Tigers (11-7, 5-2 CAA), now tied with the visiting Dragons (13-5, 5-2), it was quite an achievement gaining a weekend sweep of the longtime rivalry of Delaware on the road and then at home of Drexel (13-5, 5-2)  in SECU Arena by first-year coach Laura Harper, the former Cheltenham and Maryland star, who succeeded Diane Richardson, who left to fill the vacancy at Temple.

Towson’s Skye Williams had 18 points, while Alexia Nelson and Kylie Kornegay-Lucas each scored 13 points with seven rebounds. Quinzia Fulmore scored 10 and also grabbed seven rebounds.

There were seven ties and nine lead changes in the contest, which was taken control by Towson during the second half.

Drexel’s Washington scored 27, typing her with the legendary Gabriela Marginean, the all-time women’s scorer in local history, getting 10 or more points in 52 straight games.

Siegrist, who previously passed the men’s and Friday, broke the women’s Villanova scoring record, could end up besting that mark by the end of the season, if not sooner.

Chloe Henderson had a career-high 14 points, ten in the second half, while Maura Hendrixson dealt 12 assists.

Drexel will be home this weekend for a pair of games in the Daskalakis Athletic Center, hosting Hofstra, Friday night at 6 p.m. and Elon Sunday at 2 p.m., both games on Flohoops.

Penn State Tops Wisconsin While Rutgers Falls to Michigan State: The Lady Lions shook off an early nine-point deficit and went on to beat Wisconsin 74-69 in the Big Ten at home in the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.

Taniyah Thompson had 27 points for the home team (12-8, 3-6 Big Ten), which is making some strides in moving up the standings this season. 

A 14-2 run in the second period helped get coach Carolyn Kieger’s squad reversed and on to a 35-30 halftime lead.

The game was still close after the break, the third quarter featuring four ties and three lead changes, but PSU gained enough to top the Badgers (6-14, 2-7) at the finish.

Makenna Marisa had 15 points with eight assists and five steals while Leilani Kapinus, gaining the career 500 points milestone, scoring nine, along with getting two blocks and five steals.

Rookie Shay Ciezki dealt a personal best seven assists.

Two big stats for the home team was forcing  25 turnovers while dominating depth with a 31-2 advantage on bench points.

Rutgers, meanwhile, on the road was unable to come back to the winning side, losing at Michigan State 85-63.

Kaylene had another big game for the Scarlet Knights (8-13, 2-7 Big Ten) scoring 27 points, while Kai Carter had 11, the last of which enabled her to reach the 1,000 points milestone.

Michigan State (11-9, 3-6)  got 13 points from three players, Matilda Ekh, Moira Joiner, and reserve Abbey Kimball, while Taiyier Parks, also a reserve, scored 14 in the game played in the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.

On Thursday, Penn State will go for a series sweep when the squad travels to Rutgers, its longtime rival pre-dating both teams landing in the Big Ten, at Jersey Mikes Arena in Piscataway, N.J.

Nationally noted: Unlike recent days, ranked teams held other than the PAC-12 where one had to lose with two playing each other for the conference lead, but even there, the favorite, No. 4 Stanford at home in Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif., beat No. 24 Colorado 62-49 as Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer picked up her NCAA all-time women’s best 1,176 victory.

Geno Auriemma, also a Hall of Fame coach, the second best, will go for his 1,166th Monday night when UConn hosts DePaul in a Big East makeup game from one postponed recently when the Huskies’ injury-riddled roster dropped below the conference minimum requirement of seven healthy scholarship players.

In the Stanford game, the Cardinal (19-2, 7-1 PAC-12) set a program record with 14 blocked shots in a single game.

Hannah Jump had 21 points, while Haley Jones had 11 points and a season-best 18 rebounds, and Cameron Brink scored 14 with six of the blocks.

Colorado (15-4, 6-2), parting with a seven-game win streak, trailed by as many as 17, but moved within ten points in the final period.

“We were really good defensively,” Buffs coach JR Payne said. “We just couldn’t score the ball. It’s hard to score against them.

“We never quit. We never wilt. We never stop competing. We definitely showed that. We just needed more shots to fall.”

Jasylyn Sherrod had 16 points for Colorado, while Quay Miller had 14 points and nine rebounds, and Aaronette Vonleh had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Southern Cal, which upset Stanford in Los Angeles a week ago and looking to get ranked, went in overtime before beating host Washington 63-54 in Seattle.

The Trojans (15-4, 5-4 PAC-12) are off to their best start in 29 years.

Destiny Littleton scored 20 against the Huskies (10-8, 2-6).

No. 19 Arizona on the road beat its in-state rival Arizona State 80-67 in Tempe as reserve Madison Conner scored 16 and Esmery Martinez scored 13 and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Wildcats (15-4, 5-3 PAC-12). The Sun Devils (7-10, 0-8) got a career high 24 points from Treasure Hunt.

Meanwhile in the Big 12, No. 25 Texas, which lost during the week right after re-entering the poll, may have saved itself and blocked Baylor, which fell last week after the third longest active poll streak, by beating the Bears 68-55 on the road in the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

The Longhorns (14-6, 5-2 Big 12) used a 44-33 second half to get the job done.

DeYona Gaston had 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Shaylee Gonzales, Rori Harmon, and Sonya Morris each scored 13 points and Taylor Jones scored 10.

Texas forced Baylor (13-6, 4-3) into 22 turnovers.

Top-ranked South Carolina, the defending NCAA champions, in the Southeastern Conference, one of three remaining unbeaten teams, beat visiting Arkansas 92-46 as reigning national player of the year Aliyah Boston had 13 points and 14 rebounds, setting a record for the Gamecocks (20-0, 8-0 SEC) with her 73rd double-double. Zia Cook scored 24 as Dawn Staley’s squad won its 26th straight.

Tennessee, trying to get back into the poll, reeled off an 8-0 run in the last minute, erasing a five-point deficit, and winning at Missouri 68-65 as Rickea Jackson scored inside with a second left and shooting a free throw.

The Lady Vols (16-6, 8-0 SEC) won their ninth straight overall and the 8-0 SEC start is their best since starting 13-0 in 2014-15 to finish 15-1 with the regular season conference crown.

Sara Puckett, 7-of-9, including a perfect 3-for-3 from deep used a three-ball to tie the score with 40 seconds left and finished with 17 points, while Jackson scored 15.

Hayley Frank scored 26 for Missouri (14-6, 3-4).

Idle No. 22 Villanova got some help in the Big East as Marquette at home in Milwaukee thumped Seton Hall 80-62 pushing the Pirates three games behind the second place Wildcats. Who lead second-place St. Johns by two.

In the Atlantic Coast Conference, all the ranked teams won, the biggest outcome No. 20 NC State stopped its free fall beating host Louisville 63-51. Elsewhere in the conference, No. 13 Duke, No. 12 Virginia Tech, No. 7 Notre Dame, and No. 17 North Carolina all won easily as did unranked Florida State 74-37 over host Pitt.

No. 21 Illinois won at Northwestern 67-64, the host Wildcats yet to win in the Big Ten at 0-9 this season.

Back in the PAC-12, No. 9 UCLA edged host Washington State 73-66.

Looking Ahead: None of the locals play until Wednesday, but nationally, two of the other unbeaten squads besides already-noted South Carolina, will see action.

In the Big Ten, No. 2 Ohio State (19-0) off to its best start will host No;. 10 Iowa in Columbus at 7 p.m. on ESPN 2.

No. 3 LSU (19-0) in the SEC will visit Alabama (15-4) at 7 p.m. on the SEC network as transfer Angel Reese  goes for her 20th double-double to break the program record of retired WNBA great Sylvia Fowles. The Tigers look to become just the second team from any  university sport to start 20-0, currently tied with the baseball program’s 19-0 set in 1997. The 2015 LSU softball squad went 25-0 from opening day.

Besides the Big East DePaul/UConn matchup mentioned, another key Big Ten game has No. 6 Indiana (17-1) visiting No. 14 Michigan (16-3). 

And that’s the report.


Saturday, January 21, 2023

The Guru Report: Penn Returns to Form Routing Yale

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — Led by the inside-outside attack of Jordan Obi and Kayla Padilla, Penn shook off Monday’s beating by Princeton returning to The Palestra Saturday afternoon and widening its lead over Yale in the third period to win 79-57 and reduce the three-team lead in the Ivy League to the Quakers and Columbia.

The triumph set a record of 11 straight wins at home — one more than the run of 10 in 2000-2001 — and by seed the Quakers (13-6, 5-1 Ivy) would be first off their recent win here over the Lions.

But it’s still early and the league is deep this season with this Saturday’s trip to Harvard the next challenge.

However, if one wanted to find the main culprit last season in Penn not making the the Ivy tourney for the first time in its then-four year history, excluding the Covid-19 cancellations, that would be an improved Bulldogs squad.

“There was an emphasis that this is a must win for us,” said Padilla, who shot 9-for-12 for 21 points. “They got us both games last season and we recognize each game is important, especially with teams that are fighting for those four spots in the tournament.”

This year’s fight for the NCAA automatic bid will be at Princeton, which has dominated the league until starting 0-2 this season losing to Harvard and Columbia.

The Tigers, however, have since righted the ship.

“We wanted to send a statement that one loss isn’t going to get us,” Padilla said.

Jordan Obio had 20 points and seven rebounds for Penn and Floor Toondors grabbed ten rebounds.

Yale (10-9, 4-2) got a career-best 21 points from its star guard Jenna Clark but everyone else was basically shut down.

“I think our offensive execution was really on point,” Padilla noted. “Everyone was looking to score. And a shout out to Sydney (Caldwell) who was a really spark for us on both sides of the floor, especially for her aggression to attack the basket in this game.”

Caldwell off the bench added 16 points to the Quakers attack.

Toonders drew praise among overall pleasure from Quakers coach Mike McLaughlin.

“She is perfect for this group,” he said. “She defends well. She takes up areas of the floor that needs to be covered especially around the rim. She rebounds the ball.  She can score when the opportunities are there. She is a perfect fit for us.”

Penn owned the board 39-22.

“You get knocked down, you got to get up in this sport,” McLaughlin said of the week’s turnaround.

“I thought we really responded this week and got better. I thought it was a great effort.” 

Yale is under first-year coach Dalila Eshe, a former La Salle and Princeton assistant, while her top assistant is former Quinnipiac star Sam Guastella, who was with former Temple coach Tonya Cardoza the previous two seasons, and with Mountain MacGillivray at La Salle before that.

While the Quakers were doing well here, up at  the furtherest geographical north of the conference, Princeton was being challenged by Dartmouth in a close game at Ledee Arena in Hanover, N.H., until the Tigers broke it open in the third period and went on to a 79-59 victory.

Princeton ( 13-5, 4-2 Ivy), which hosts Yale Saturday, shot 60 percent in the second half to subdue the Big Green (2-18, 0-6) in winning its fourth straight.

Madison St. Rose, who’s had big games recently, including last week’s win over Penn, had 15 points for the Tigers, while Paige Morton had 11 points and Parker Hill scored 10 in a combo 10-of-10 from the field. Kaitlyn Chen had 13 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals, while Julia Cunningham had 11 points and Ellie Mitchell had eight boards and three steals.

Up in New York on Broadway on the Upper West Side, Columbia had little difficulty staying hooked with Penn by routing Brown 94-74 at Schiller Court at Levien Gymnasium,

Abbey Hsu had 26 points, shooting 7-of-11 for the Lions (16-3, 5-1 Ivy), with six rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Kaitlyn Davis scored 17, Hannah Pratt had 11, Kitty Henderson scored 10, and Siena Durr scored 10.

Columbia dominated Brown (8-10, 1-5) on the boards 49-26, of which 21 on the offensive end led to a 26-7 advantage on second chance points.

The closest game among the Ivy leaders saw Harvard win at Cornell 66-53 in Newman Arena in Ithaca, N.Y.

Lola Mullaney had 19 points for the visiting Crimson (11-7, 4-2 Ivy), while Elena Rodriguez had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Harmoni Turner had 15 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.

Lafayette Rallies Past Lehigh: Not the way Patriot League observers thought it would go, based on the seasons of the two to date, in their first of two meetings and 104th of The Rivalry at the host Leopards’ Kirby Sports Arena in Easton, Pa.

It did start that way, however, Lehigh jumping to a 24-13 lead at the end of the first quarter before the Leopards exploded with a 22-8 attack the next for a 35-32 lead at the half.

Then back to the Mountain Hawks to regain the high ground 47-43 heading into the final period.

A 14-8 run from the Leopards at the outset made it 59-54 with 1:40 left in regulations.

Lehigh wouldn’t quit, Ella Stemmer fired a three and the visitors were within a point with 59-58 and 37 seconds remaining.

The home team ran the shot clock down and a pass from Abby Antognoli to Halee Smith made it a three-point advantage with ten seconds but Frannie Hottinger scored and back to a one-point differential with seven seconds left.

The benefit of Lehigh having to send someone to the line, Makayla Andrews sank both shots and then the Leopards forced a turnover and walked away with a 63-60 victory.

Andrews finished with 21 points and eight rebounds for Lafayette  (6-12, 3-5 Patriot) while Hottinger had a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds for Lehigh (9-10, 5-3) with Jamie Behar scoring 13 points.

On Wednesday the Mountain Hawks will host Holy Cross at Stabler Arena at 6 p.m. in Bethlehem, Pa., on ESPN+ while Lafayette heads to Loyola, Md., in suburban Baltimore at 7 p.m., also on ESPN+.

Rider Edged by Fairfield in Double Overtime: The visiting Stags had suffered some tough, narrow losses, recently in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play but the after the host Broncs had erased a 13-point deficit, they ended up at the wrong end of a double overtime thriller, losing 64-61 at Alumni Gym in Lawrenceville, N.J.

Mikayla Firebaugh connected with a three-ball with 46 seconds left in regulation for Rider, creating a tie, but a potential game-winner at the finish didn’t drop sending the game into its first extra session.

Taking a 6-0 lead in what became an 11-0 run back into regulation in the first five-minute addition, the Stags (10-8, 6-3 MAAC) countered with a pair of deep shots, the second of which caused another tie with 15 seconds remaining.

It went back-and-forth in the second extra sessions until another deadlock occurred at 61-61 with just over a minute to play.

Fairfield’s Janelle Brown put the Stags up two on the Broncs (5-14, 2-8), who were unable to have the last word. That went to the Stags, Brown going 1-for-2 at the line, and then forcing a Rider turnover on what became its final possession.

“A gut-wrenching loss from a really good game on both sides,” said Rider coach Lynn Milligan. “Fairfield got the last look, but I’m really proud of our team and the way we bounced back. We were looking for a response after the Iona game, and I think we got that.

“We just haven’t gotten a lot of breaks this year for one reason or the other, but that’s not going to deter our mission. It’s not going to deter what we do on a daily basis. Everyone in that locker room is upset that we lost, but nobody in that locker room is wavering or questioning anything that we do.,” she continued.

“I didn’t feel a dip in our aggression. I didn’t feel a dip in our belief and doing what we were doing in that game. I looked at everyone’s eyes and I felt like they felt we were going to win the game.”

Firebaugh scored 20 for Rider, while Raphaela Toussaint had a double-double 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Brown had a double-double 19 points and 11 rebounds for Fairfield, while Callie Cavanaugh had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Izabela Nicoletti-Leite had a double-double 14 points and 10 rebounds, while making four from deep.

The Broncs next play at Siena in suburban Albany, N.Y., Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.

Temple Falls at Memphis: Having beaten the Tigers back on Dec. 30 in an American Athletic Conference opener, the tables were turned on the Owls in Tennessee, losing 64-53.

Caranda Perea had a career-high eight rebounds for Temple (7-11, 2-4 AAC), which still has time to turn it around despite three straight losses. 

Aleah Nelson had 16 points, while Tarriyonna Gary had 11 against the Tigers (11-8, 3-3).

The squad stays on the road going to Tulane at 7 p.m. in New Orleans on ESPN+.

Nationally noted: No. 5 UConn continues to be shorthanded everywhere but the final score. Down to seven healthy players again, with Azzi Fudd sidelined with a re-injured knee, the Huskies fell behind Butler early by nine points in a Big East game in Gampel Pavilion on the Storrs campus but when it was over they had another romp, this one 79-39.

Aaliyah Edwards scored 20, Aubrey Griffin and Fairfield transfer Lou Lopez Senechal each scored 17 points. Dorka Juhasz, the Ohio State transfer, scored 14 points.

UConn (17-2, 10-0 Big East) has won 10 straight, though ahead is Monday’s re-scheduled visit in the Big East from DePaul, postponed when the Huskies were under the conference minimum seven healthy eligible scholarship players; a Thursday trip to Tennessee, still unranked but on a winning streak in the Southeastern Conference, and then back home in Hartford, Sunday, hosting No. 22 Villanova at the XL Center, 2 p.m.

Another record looms from Villanova senior Maddy Siegrist, now the all-time men’s and women’s scorer in the program, being two points short in breaking the Big Five career record over two decades old from Penn’s Diana Caramanico.

Butler (7-13, 2-9) got seven each from Jessica Carrothers and Sydney Janes.

Middle Tennessee continued to make its case to get back into the Associated Press women’s poll after a long absence, finishing Louisiana Tech with a 31-12  on the way to 68-50 victory at the Murphy Center in Murfresboro to stay unbeaten in Conference-USA.

The visiting Lady Techsters (11-8, 4-5 C-USA) had a 38-37 lead after three quarters before MTSU (16-2, 9-0) took over the rest of the way.

Savannah Wheeler had a season-high 29 points for the home team, shooting 9-of-13 from the field and 4-of-5  from deep. Anastasia Boldyreva had 18 points and eight rebounds with four blocks.

MTSU have the fourth longest win streak in the country with 14 games and are 17 in the NET.

Looking Ahead: Saint Joseph’s keeps going deeper in Atlantic 10 waters, having lost two straight narrow outcomes at reigning conference champion UMass and locally to La Salle with Fordham visiting Hagan Arena Sunday at 2 p.m. on ESPN+.

Incidentally, veteran Hawks coach Cindy Griffin for reaching her 400th win this season at her alma mater will be honored Monday night at the annual Philadelphia Sportswriters Association awards banquet 5 p.m. at the Doubletree at Hilton on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, N.J. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the website.

La Salle is on a three-game win streak in the A-10 and visits Loyola Chicago at 3 p.m. on ESPN+.

Meanwhile, Drexel, having been off a week since suffering its first loss in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) at William & Mary, will visit Towson, the site of this year’s tournament, at 2 p.m. on Flohoops.

The two locals in the Big Ten are on the docket, Rutgers hosting Michigan State at 3 p.m. in Jersey Mikes Arena in Piscataway, N.J., on the subscription B1G+, while at 5 p.m., Penn State hosts Wisconsin on the B!G network in the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.

Nationally, Texas, clinging to the No. 25 it is ranked returning to the poll last week, visits Baylor, kicked out ending the second longest appearance streak in a Big 12 game at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.

NC State, which has slid way down from its Top five status, is at Louisville, unranked but a Top 10 team in the preseason, 1 p.m. on the ACCN.

Stanford at 4 p.m. on the conference network is hosting Colorado in a battle for first among ranked in the PAC-12.

On Monday in two Big Ten battles featuring ranked teams, Iowa is at Ohio State, one of three remaining unbeaten teams along with the SEC duo of reigning NCAA champion South Carolina, which hosts Arkansas at 3 p.m. on Sunday, on ESPN2, and LSU, which at 7 p.m. Monday is at Alabama on SECN.

The other Big Ten game on the B!G network, at 8 p.m. Indiana visits Michigan.

And that’s the report.

The Guru Report: Siegrist Breaks Villanova Career Scoring Record As Wildcats Blast Creighton

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Some revenge visit.

Villanova senior Maddy Siegrist, the nation’s leading scorer, popped a mid-range jumper with 6:32 left in regulation Friday night and became the all-time men’s and women’s scorer at the Main Line university in what was the icing on the cake in a Big East 73-57 payback to Creighton that was settled much earlier in Omaha, Neb., atoning for the only blot, a 67-46 defeat, on the No. 22 Wildcats’ conference record to date.  

Long past the numbers of Kerry Kittles, the men’s career leader, Siegrist arrived just 18 points short of the 2,408 points scored in the late 1980s by the legendary Shelly Pennefather, who not long after her graduation became a nun with the Poor Clares, a strict religious order in Alexander, Va.

While the focus has been on Siegrist and her march to the long-thought unbreakable now36-year-old mark, actually getting there in less games at 103 than Pennefather at 117, the story of the first half was the work of the other Maddie — Penn State transfer Maddie Burk — firing five three pointers in the first quarter along with high field goal percentage accuracy from the rest of the squad.

“It’s remarkable what she’s done,” Villanova coach Denise Dillon said. “It’s efficiency. You’ve seen her allow to add to her game to grow her point total.”

Unlike the 19-9 lead that vanished in the first meeting at Finneran Pavilion in early December, Villanova (18-3. 9-1 Big East), in second place behind No. 5 UConn in the conference had a tenacious defense throughout, the normally sharpshooting Bluejays (12-6, 6-4) failing to get a field goal in the first period.

Siegrist (28.8 ppg.), who has reached 20 points in all 221 games this season, had 11 at the the half, but with Creighton, though playing somewhat better but failing to make any dent into the Wildcats advantage, attention turned to the native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. as she neared her first stop with what will be a bunch of them with history as she finishes her collegiate career.

The Villanova star finished with 23 points and eight rebounds, the career mark 2414, two points short of becoming the all-time women’s leader in the Big Five, another long-existing total from Penn’s Diana Caramanico.

Lucy Olsen scored 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dealt seven assists, while Burke’s 5-of-6 threes in the first period all accounted for her 15 points.

Creighton’s Morgan Mally, Lauren Jensen, and Carly Bachelor each scored 11 points and Mallory Brake scored 10.

“It’s so special,” Siegrist said of becoming the new record holder. “The amount of great players that played at Villanova, it’s just such an honor, to break Shelly’s record, I never could have imagined it.

“Especially a person like that. Such a good player, but such a better person.”

“I felt I was going to be all right (when she enrolled at Villanova) but I never could have dreamed that.”

Of the game and the total team effort to beat Creighton, Siegriest said, “It was huge. I tried real hard not to think about it this week, but obviously with social media and such, you’re aware, and to just go into this game and get the win. That was the most important thing. To start the first quarter … all these kids scoring that was huge. Most important, we got the win and when the time came, I took as many opportunity as I could.

“Yeah, I knew (when she had become No. 1), it was almost like, whew, take a deep breath and keep going and just try to get to the end of the game.”

Villanova is off until next Sunday when the Wildcats visit UConn at 2 p.m. at the XL Center in Hartford.

During the break Siegrist on Monday night will receive the Philadelphia Sportswriters Association Amateur Athlete of the Year honor at the organization’s annual dinner at 6 p.m. at the Doubletree at Hilton (formerly Crown Plaza) on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, N.J.

“Super proud of the win,” Dillon said. “Our team came in here ready to go at both ends of the floor, knocked down some big shots and set the tone, defensively.

“Summing it all up, extremely excited, proud, to see Maddy climb to the top of the list. I just said as an alum and player who was aware of Shelly’s accomplishments and what she did, you heard a lot about it, she held that record 30 plus years.

“To be part of Maddy’s journey and watch her work to this point has been an absolute pleasure. She still has so much more to do. It’s going to be exciting as she leads the team,” Dillon continue.

“It’s a huge accomplishment, breaking the record and being our leading scorer, but I still thought the job she did on the defensive end. She did for us what needs to be done to win this game and everything and the record would take care of itself, even if it wasn’t tonight. All she cared about was us winning this basketball game,” Dillon said.

“When I got here her sophomore year, she felt she had to score for us to be successful, to get 20+ each night for us to win. She has learned trusting her teammates, and their abilities, and giving them confidence, putting them in positions of scoring and, yet, with that mentality, she’s actually scoring more. What she does, it’s relentless. She wants to win.

“She wants to be the best. She’s not going to talk about it. She wants to put the time and effort into it. Dangle a goal and she’s going after it. She’s not backing down. It’s not like she’s going into a game with a set number, but she’s going to work for it, each time she’s out there. She knows if she’s her best, we have an opportunity to be successful.

“It’s a maturity factor of her seeing how far she can lead her team. She showed it last year. And still more. So that carrot’s still out there.”

With the climb through the numbers just beginning, including local men, here’s the updated list of how Siegrist compares. 

Gabriela Marginean – drexel -2581

Diana Caramanico – penn 2415

*Maddy Siegrist – Villanova 2414 – 1/20/23;  2 to pass diana b5 168 pass drex top wom 

Shelly Pennefather – villanova 2408

Mia Davis — Temple 2376

Sue Moran – Saint Joseph’s 2340

Marilyn Stephens – Temple 2194

Nancy Bernhardt – Villanova 2018


Big East Record Sarah Behn, B.C. 1546

Maddy 1393 needs 153 possible feb 18 UConn game here fox to break



Better than anyone else villanova penn drexel st joes. 

Temple – Mark Macon 2609 — needs 1966

La Salle Simmons — 3217 — out of reach likely

Tom Gola 2461 — needs 48

Michael Brooks 2628 — needs 214 — would make her second gender combo under simmon

Ken Durrett – (3 seasons ) 1,679 passed it

Larry Cannon (3 seasons) 1,430 passed it

Towson Edges Delaware: The building win streak of the Blue Hens came to an abrupt end to Towson, 69-66, at home in a Colonial Athletic Association game at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark.

The Tigers (10-7, 4-2 CAA) under first-year coach Laura Harper, a former Cheltenham and Maryland star, have won four straight.

In this one, the third quarter was fatal to Delaware (10-7, 3-3), the Tigers outscoring the home team 23-10, though the game was tied 56-56 midway through the next period.

Towson went 9-5 the rest of the way and the Blue Hens were unable to force the game into overtime.

Nakiyah Mays-Prince had 12 points for the home team, while Makayla Pippin and Michelle Ojo each scored 10.

Towson’s Sky Williams scored 16, while Kylie Kornegay-Lucas had 14 points with six steals, and Patricia Anumbgba had 13 points and four steals.

Delaware is off until next Friday, hosting Elon ast 7 p.m. on Flohoops.

Nationally noted: All the action was in the PAC-12  beginning with a Top 10 battle between No. 2 Stanford and No. 8 Utah, the Cardinal winning 74-62 at home in Palo Alto.

Cameron Brink scored 25 points and 14 rebounds with three blocked shots, while Haley Jones had 25 with 12 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots as Stanford (18-2, 6-1 PAC-12) adjusted when freshman Talana Lepolo went down with an ankle injury and replaced with freshman Indya Nivar.

Bouncing back from Sunday’s upset loss at Southern Cal, the Stanford win increased Tara VanDerveer’s all-time record total to 1174.

“I think our team had something to prove ourselves and what better opportunity than against a team like Utah,” VanDerveer said. We have a lot of teams in the PAC-12 that are (NCAA) tournament teams and they’re a tournament team.”

Utah (15-2, 5-2) got 25 points from Alissa Pili while Gianna Kneepkens scored 19.

“Until people knock off Stanford they’re still at the top and we’re all chasing them,” said Utah coach Lynne Roberts.

No. 24 Colorado edged host California 73-66; and No. 9 UCLA won at Washington State 51-47, while Southern Cal won at Washington State 51-44; but Oregon State upset No. 23 Oregon 68-65 putting the Ducks in danger of being ousted in the next AP Women’s Poll released on Monday.

Looking Ahead: Another day, another showdown date in the Ivy League, this one with Penn trying to come back from Monday’s loss at Princeton, hosting Yale in The Palestra at 2 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+.

Rider is hosting Fairfield at 2 p.m. in the Broncs’ Alumni Gym in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) game on ESPN+ In Lawrenceville, N.J.

Temple visits Memphis at 3 p.m. on ESPN+ while in the Ivies, the other local has Princeton visiting Dartmouth.

In the Patriot League, Lehigh travels to nearby Lafayette at 2 p.m. in the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Pa., on ESPN+.

On Sunday involving the locals, in the Atlantic 10, La Salle goes to Loyola Chicago at 3 p.m. on ESPN+ while at 2 p.m. in a key match Saint Joseph’s hosts Fordham at 2 p.m. in Hagan Arena on ESPN+.

In the Big Ten, Penn State hosts Wisconsin at 5 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center in State College on the B1G network, while Rutgers hosts Michigan State at 3 p.m. in Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway, N.J. On the B1G+ subscription network.

Drexel visits Towson at 2 p.m. in the SECU Arena in suburban Baltimore on Flohoopds.

And that’s the report. 


Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Guru Report: La Salle Nips Saint Joseph’s 61-58 Gains A-10 Series Split in Local Rivalry

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — Saint Joseph’s seemed recovered from last weekend’s narrow loss at Atlantic 10 reigning champion and preseason favorite UMass Wednesday night back home in Hagan Arena and potentially heading for a conference sweep of La Salle until the Explorers owned the third quarter 21-12.

Nevertheless it was still anyone’s game in a defensive dual in the final 10 minutes until La Salle’s Claire Jacobs drove to the basket and snapped a tie with 1:39 seconds left in regulation.

Neither team was able to drop a shot through the basket the rest of the way though with 15.2 seconds left the Hawks had possession, the planned play was covered, but Laura Ziegler had a chance to tie, launched a three and it failed as the final seconds ticked away for a 61-58 win by La Salle.

It’s the third straight win for the Explorers (12-8, 3-2 A-10) after Saint Joseph’s (14-4, 4-2) won another close one in the series 68-64 back on New Year’s Eve at Tom Gola Arena that was also the final Big Five game of the season, giving the Hawks sole possession of third and also the conference opener.

The familiarity from both sides is a reason for the usual low-scoring grind-it-out manner between the two, causing yours truly to quip, the first meeting was a typical Big Five game, the second, a typical game between two Big Five teams in the A-10, being the city series games were already sealed in the history book.

“We know everybody,” said La Salle coach Mountain MacGillivray, who said his first experience with the women’s game was watching Hawks coach Cindy Griffin when she was a player at her alma mater. “Our players know one another. Sisters (SJ - Katie Jekot) (LS - Julie Jekot) are on both teams. 

“It’s not a rivalry of animosity. It’s the way basketball is supposed to be,” the La Salle coach explained. “It’s a rivalry of you really like these people on the other side and you really want to beat them. And I know it’s the same way for them with us. It’s a lot of fun to play these games. You don’t ever like to lose to somebody and you really don’t like to see somebody you really like to lose either. That’s the challenge.”

In fact as men’s coach Fran Dunphy is back at his alma mater at La Salle after successful runs with Penn and Temple, women’s assistant Chris Day had a long stint under Griffin, was part of Penn’s Mike McLaughlin’s Ivy champions, and was brought abroad when MacGillivray was hired.

“It’s more than an Atlantic 10 game,” Griffin said. “I think it adds a bit more flavor because there are local kids on both teams, and just the familiarity of the style they play. 

“You know it’s going to be a possession game. We got them at their place in an possession game. They got us today.”

Jacobs, one of three Australian sisters on the Explorers, scored 18 points and her youngest sibling Mia had a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, the latter a career high. Amy had six points and five rebounds.

Talya Brugler, the reigning A-10 rookie of the year from last season, had 17 points and six rebounds, while Laura Ziegler and Katie Jekot each scored 11, Jekot also dealing seven assists.

Of the defense of Saint Joseph’s at the end, MacGillivray said, “On that last play they were trying to get open and we were everywhere they were.

“We’ve been playing some pretty good basketball lately,” he said. “Our intensity level, our compete on the boards has just been different since we’ve come back (after the Christmas/New Year’s break) and I couldn’t be more proud, and it’s starting to pay off in wins.

It’s a season of blossoming for both teams — La Salle was picked second in the conference, though the Explorers had struggled a bit until recently.

The Hawks had tied the best overall start in Griffin’s 22-year-era, 14-2, which also occurred when she returned to her alma mater from Loyola, Maryland.

Then came the two tough losses this past week.

“We missed layups and free throws, that’s what we did, we missed layups and free throws and we had some shots that were earlier in offense —- we wanted a different shot,” Griffin said. “I think all shots are good but we wanted the best shot, and so I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves in some situations.”

La Salle goes to new member Loyola Chicago on Sunday at 3 p.m. while Fordham, one of the better teams in the league, comes here at 2 p.m., both games on ESPN+.

Mindful of these past two losses depriving the Hawks of being in a super situation in the league, Griffin said, “We’ve got to be better in these two-minute situations. The good thing is that we’re in them but we want to come out on top, and we’ve got to be better down the stretch taking care of the ball and getting the shots that we want.”

UMass beat host Fordham 66-57 as Ber’Nyah Mayo had 18npoints for the visiting Minutewoman (14-4, 45-1 A-10), Sam Breen, the reigning A-10 player of the year, had 10 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists, and SydneyTaylor scored ten.

Anna DeWolfe had 33 for the Rams (12-7, 4-2), shooting 7-for-15 threes, and Asiah Dingle scored 18.

Penn State Swept by Minnesota: After giving away the earlier Big Ten encounter in overtime up in Minneapolis, the Lady Lions were seeking redemption in Wednesday’s game at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College but it was not to be as the Golden Gophers under Hall of Famer Lindsay Whalen gained a 75-67 triumph.

Early in the fourth quarter Penn State (11-8, 2-6 Big Ten) still had a chance until Minnesota (9-10, 2-6) went on a 10-run to open a nine-point lead to ride to the finish.

MaKenna Marisa scored 25 points for the home squad, while rookie Shay Ciezki had 17 points and Leilani Kapinus had eight points, six steals, and 10 boards. Additionally, Alexa Williamson, a transfer from Temple, grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds.

The setback came in spite of Penn State forcing 25 turnovers.

Alanna Micheaux had 31 points for Minnesota completing a double double with 10 rebounds. Mara Braun scored 15 points and Mallory Heyer scored 12.

“We have to get tougher, we have to get more discipline, it comes down to those two things, other than that I don’t have much else to say,” said Lady Lions coach Carolyn Kieger. 

Next Wisconsin visits on Sunday at 5 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

Lehigh Explodes in Overtime: Mackenzie Kramer knocked down a three-ball for the host Mountain Hawks with 1.4 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and then Lehigh enjoyed its new life with 19 points in the extra five minutes to grab a 72-65 win over Loyola Maryland in the Patriot League at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pa.

The visitors got the last regulation shot off but it did not drop.

“First thoughts are you gotta find a way sometimes,” said first-year coach Addie Micir. “Scrap, claw, fight. Really proud of how we ended the fourth quarter. It just showed some resilience, and we looked like us in the final five minutes of overtime, scoring 19 points.”

Of her game saver, Kramer alluded to not having a great shooting while her teammates still had confidence in her to take the shot.

Lehigh (9-9, 5-2 Patriot League) has turned things around of late, winning four-of-five.

Kramer scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and 16 of her 21 points after halftime against the Greyhounds (7-11, 2-5).

Frannie Hottinger had 15 points and Lily Fandre had 11 points and a personal best six assists.

Lehigh goes to traveling partner Lafayette at the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Pa., on Saturday at 2 p.m. on ESPN+.

The Leopards in their annual School Day game Wednesday morning edged visiting American University 59-57, in the league, Makayla Andrews on the line with one second to gain her 19th point.

American ‘s last chance got negated when Halee Smith, who had nine points, stole the pass by the Eagles (3-15, 2-5 Patriot) for Lafayette (5-12, 2-5).

Abby Antognoli had 12 points for the Leopards. 

American’s Emily Johns had 15 points, Molly Lavin scored 11, and Anna LeMaster scored 10.

Nationally noted: No. 25 Texas, after getting back into the rankings, fell to host Texas Tech 68-64 in the Big 12, while No. 6 Indiana beat host No. 21 Illinois 83-72,  and No. 10 Iowa in overtime beat host Michigan State in the Big Ten, 84-81.

In the Big East, St. John’s recovered from last Saturday’s meltdown at Villanova to beat visiting Marquette 66-61 at Carneseca Arena in Queens, N.Y.

Jordan King had 27 points and Chloe Marotta scored 24 for Marquette (11-7, 4-5 Big East), while Jayla Everett and Kadaja Bailey each scored 18 for the Red Storm (15-3, 6-3).

DePaul’s struggles continued, losing at Georgetown 87-73 at McDonough Arena in the nation’s capital despite Darrione Rogers scoring 22 points and Aneesah Morrow getting 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Demons (11-8, 4-4 Big East) in the loss to the Hoyas (9-9, 2-7).

In the Iowa game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich., Monika Czinano broke a school record for the Hawkeyes (15-4, 7-1 Big Ten), shooting 11-for-11 to score 22 points while Caitlin Clarke, trailing Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist and Drexel’s Keishana Washington for the NCAA scoring lead, had 26 points and 11 rebounds, scoring in double digits an NCAA best 71 straight games. 
Michigan State fell to 10-9 and 2-6 in the conference.

In the loss by Texas (13-6, 4-2 Big 12) at the Longhorns’ Moody Center in Austin, Shaylee Gonzales had 10 points for the home team as the visiting Red Raiders improved to 15-4 overall and 3-3 in the conference. Sonya Morris scored 17 points and Rori Harmon scored 12 with Texas next headed for Baylor Sunday.

Genesis Bryant had 18 points, while Kendall Bostic had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Illini (15-4, 4-3 Big Ten).

Indiana (17-1, 7-1) had 30 points and 10 rebounds from Mackenzie Holmes, Grace Berger scored 18, Chloe Moore-McNeil scored 12, and Yarden Garzon, the reigning USBWA national freshman of the week, scored 13.

Looking Ahead: On Thursday, Rider heads to Iona in New Rochelle, N.Y., in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for a 6 p.m. tip on ESPN3, while Rutgers hosts Michigan in Jersey Mike’s Arena at 8:30 p.m. in Piscataway, N.J., on the B1G Network.

Nationally, Duke takes its unbeaten Atlantic Coast Conference record to nearby North Carolina in Chapel Hill at 8 p.m. on the ACCN, while LSU, one of three remaining unbeaten teams, hosts Arkansas at 9 p.m. on SECN. 

And that’s the report.   


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Guru Report: X Marks No. 22 Villanova Big East Win Over Xavier Putting Maddy Siegrist On the Cusp of Dates With History

By Mel Greenberg @Womhoopsguru

VILLANOVA, Pa. — With Maddie Siegrist quickly scoring the first six points against the Musketeers here in a Big East game in Finneran Pavilion Tuesday night the notion stirred could it be possible that the senior from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was going to get all 45 points needed to puncture the 36-year-old Villanova career scoring record of the legendary Shelly Pennefather, maybe even tack of seven more to pass the 22-year-old Big Five mark owned by Penn all-timer Diana Caramanico before the Wildcats head for Friday night’s revenge rendezvous against Creighton at 9 p.m. (FS1-TV) in Omaha, Neb.

Siegrist went on to knock a bunch, but not all, of those points off, scoring her roughly national-leading average 27 points with 10 rebounds for another double-double in an easy 76-38 victory as ‘Nova maintained second place behind No. 5 UConn.

Technically, if Siegrist, the reigning conference player of the year, as well as preseason choice, had not at times looked human with a few missed foul shots or bunnies, or suffered the hand injury that took her out of seven games early last season, this report would be further along with other milestones expected before her time here is marked in the front of the arena in the tributes area saluting the men’s and women’s programs past successes.

So, unfortunately to be there live in the Midwest to witness history as Siegrist likely handles the remaining 18 points from her career total of  2,391 or even hits the next milestone at 25 doesn’t offer affordable options.

There was the jokingly thought offered to ‘Nova coach and alumna Denise Dillon how much would it take to withhold her superstar or yank her at 16 until the more easily attainable next stop at UConn in Hartford at the XL Center happens a week from Sunday.

“Hell no,” Dillon responded with a big grin.

And with good reason.

The first Creighton meeting here in December is the ugly one on what is now a gaudy 8-1 in the Big East besides the overall 17-3 that was applied when the Bluejays, then No. 13, sliced and diced the Wildcats 67-46, getting them kicked out of the Associated Press women’s poll.

But Creighton has also since slipped out while ‘Nova two weeks ago returned on what is now a 11-1 run, including eight straight.

Siegrist stuff, all of which we’ll get to in a few paragraphs, notwithstanding, Dillon’s group was a well-oiled machine attacking Xavier (7-12, 0-10) as would be expected, as Lucy Olsen, who scored 19 points, noted, saying in her words why the ‘Cats  won’t allow any stinking trap games.

“You can’t take any team lightly, I mean everyone in the Big East is competitive, you have no idea, so we had to come out really strong, we had to play our game,” Olsen said.

“I just took what the offense gave me,” she said of her performance. “We worked so well as a team, so that made it easier to open it up for me. I think just working as a team helped me get a little bit of rhythm going.”

Fernanda Ovalle scored 12 for Xavier, the sole player in double figures for the opposition as the Wildcats swept the season series.

So now Dillon is in a place she has already been in the past coaching Drexel, handling a team that is NCAA tournament material and guiding it to the best profile while the star player is on the verge of knocking down once thought unbreakable records.

It happened the season when Drexel marched to its first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title and NCAA tournament appearance while Gabriela Marginean soared past every all-time performance on local squads, eclipsing Caramanico, who’s Big Five mark is now imperiled, to become the No. 1 finisher with 2,581 points.

So you’re talking about potentially involved in a tight game, as could occur playing Creighton, while being aware of the impending milestone moment.

“You know milestones are going to be broken if you continue on pace with what you’re doing and you’re on the floor to do it, so it takes care of itself,” Dillon said. “It’s pretty wild, the whole with thing with Keishana (Washington of Drexel) and Maddy (1-2, Siegrist first right now in leading the nation), and Maddy on pace to break Shelly and Diana.

“I said to (former Villanova longtime coach) Harry (Perretta) about Gabby, you think a player like that only comes along once in you’re career, and then Shelly, Gabby, and now Maddy, it’s pretty cool.”

It’s more than cool.

The records about to happen are the first not the last of what is about to be a non-stop ride that when it ends and combine all the men’s and women’s greats as just basketball players in this city, besides Dawn Staley and several others who made their collegiate and pro playing marks elsewhere, Siegrist has enough games left that the potential ranking at the top will read — “L” Train Lionel Simmons, No. 1 at 3,217 and No. 2 Maddy Siegrist at a final number to be determined.

Siegrist, by the way, Monday night is receiving the amateur athlete award at the annual Philadelphia Sportswriters Association awards dinner at the Doubletree at Hilton on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, N.J.

On the women’s Philly list she quickly passed Temple’s Mia Davis Tuesday to move into fourth place behind Marginean, Caramanico, and Pennefather.

“We feel so blessed to have been here during Maddy’s era,” said former Saint Joseph’s star Katie Gardler, whose daughter Kenzie graduated last year and roomed with Siegrist.

Caramanico, who planned to be here if her long-held Big Five mark was about to fall, sent these remarks with the chance that it might happen Friday night.

“Maddy is a dominant force and she can score from anywhere,” Caramanico wrote. “She poses matchup problems for many opponents because of her size, speed, and strength. 

“As for breaking my record, I’m proud to have held that record for nearly 22 years. It was improbable that I had it at all as a 6-2 center with little ability to score outside of 15 feet. 

“Maddy’s domination on the court and record-breaking performance (as well as Mia Davis at Temple) is a sign that women’s basketball is reaching new heights,” she continued. “I had a good run and I’d like to congratulate Maddy…someone as dominant as she is belongs at the top.”

In the Big East, where Siegrist last weekend moved into second in points in conference games now with 1,370, the home office projects she could blast through the top spot held by Boston College star Sarah Behn at 1,546, when UConn plays here next month on Feb.18, a game that will air on one of the Big East national carriers.

After busting the Big East player of the week multiple honors count several weeks ago, she tacked on another this week, her 13th.

Incidentally, for those who ask what about UConn great Breanna Stewart, who didn’t play in the conference, based on her career mark, translating Stewie’s American Athletic Conference time, Siegrist has already topped the projection.

Now here’s what you’re looking at versus the men’s performers:

She has already topped the men’s marks at Villanova, Drexel, Saint Joseph’s, and Penn.

Temple’s Mark Macon is at 2,609, leaving her needing 219 points.

After La Salle’s Simmons, from the pre-Big Five era, Tom Gola’s number is 2,461, she needs 71; Michael Brooks is at 2,628, she needs 237. Two other La Salle greats she already passed, they only played three seasons, are Ken Durrett and Larry Cannon.

Temple Tumbled by Tulsa: In the only other local action Tuesday, the Owls’ finish made the 69-57 loss to Tulsa (15-3, 5-0 AAC), enabling to tie for first with South Florida in the conference, look more respectable in the Liacouras Center.

But the Owls (7-10, 2-3), dropping by 20 after the first quarter, didn’t finally get moving until the fourth period.

Temple’s Tariyonna Gary had a game-high 19 points, her best since her career-high 23 against ‘Nova, a game that saw Siegrist set the Liacouras record for best performance by an women’s opponent.

On Saturday Temple is at Memphis in Tennessee, the game airing on ESPN+.

Nationally noted: Only one game played and the harder No. 5 UConn falls with injuries the tougher the Huskies seem to be.

Leading scorer Azzi Fudd suffered an injury in the previous game on the same knee that had her miss eight games when it got hurt in the loss at Notre Dame and she did not make the trip for the Big East matchup at Seton Hall in Walsh Gym in South Orange, N.J.

That left the team back at the minimal seven healthy players for a game originally set this week for Thursday but became part of a domino move when a matchup with DePaul was set for this Monday, re-set from a postponement earlier when UConn dropped below the seven-player availability limit.

Not to worry.

No problem.

Final score: UConn 103-58, dropping the Pirates (13-6, 6-3) in third two-games back on Villanova. 

Of course, Villanova, not counting the upset the Wildcats pulled last season to breakup a long-running domination of conference games in both the American and Big East by UConn (16-2, 9-0) has yet to play against the national power this season.

Besides Fudd getting tested, Ayanna Patterson and Caroline Ducharme are sidelined in concussion protocol.

Geno Auriemma, whose victory total of 1164 moved him within ten of Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer’s all-time win mark of 1174, said the squad won’t whine over the ongoing injury predicament dating to last season.

“We just show up with the guys we have, and if we can put five guys on the floor then we feel like we have a chance to win every game,” he said. “Tonight was just one of those where everything felt right. We were really on top of our game today,” noting the turnaround from Sunday’s struggle with Georgetown in Hartford.

Dorka Juhasz had a double-double 22 points and 11 rebounds, shooting a personal best 4-of-5 from deep, while Aaliyah Edwards had 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and four blocks.

Aubrey Griffin scored 22 and grabbed seven rebounds, while Lou Lopez Senechal scored 17, Amari DeBerry had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Nika Muhl served 13 assists.

Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella praised UConn’s handling it’s situation, calling it “bad luck,” and saying, “And what they have done is still maintain one of the highest quality programs in the country.”

UConn took a close game early in the first quarter and blasted away on a 17-2 run and the differential kept growing from there.

On Saturday UConn hosts Butler in a Big East game on campus in Gampel Pavilion at noon on SNY and Flohoops.

Looking Ahead: Limited action continues Wednesday but locally, it’s still a major contest in the Atlantic 10 as La Salle visits Saint Joseph’s at 7 p.m. in Hagan Arena on ESPN+.

The Hawks took the season opener on New Year’s Eve against the Explorers at Tom Gola Arena, a game that opened conference play but also was the last of the ten-game Big Five city series that allowed the visitors to finish alone in second at 3-1 behind repeat champion Villanova (4-0).

Saint Joseph’s last weekend lost in the closing seconds at UMass the reigning champions and preseason favorites after holding leads most of the way. But the competition left the Hawks believing they can contend for the conference title. La Salle was picked second behind UMass.

Not local, but key to the conference, UMass at 7 p.m. visits Fordham at Rose Hill Gym in New York on ESPN+.

Penn State at 7 p.m. hosts Minnesota in the Big Ten in the Bryce Jordan Center in State College looking to get a split after letting the earlier meeting in Minneapolis get away in double overtime in Williams Arena.

In the Patriot League, Lehigh hosts Loyola, Md., at 6 p.m. in Stabler Arena in Bethelehem, Pa., while Lafayette hosts American at 7 p.m. in the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Pa.

And that’s the report.