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, January 20, 2011

Guru Report: Milestones Galore

By Mel Greenberg

On a night of milestones across the City of Brotherly Love Wednesday Philadelphia University coach Tom Shirley plus the Penn women’s basketball program equaled Temple junior star Kristen McCarthy.

Now that you are completely baffled by that opening statement, here’s the numerical translation.

Shirley finally gained his 600th win courtesy of his Rams’ 76-60 victory over Chestnut Hill College in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference home game at the Gallagher Athletic Center as Christine Wooding scored 20 points, Taylor Magnus scored 15 and Stephanie Agger scored 12 points.

Now in his 30th year of coaching including an eight-year stint at Allentown College (now called DeSales University), his alma mater, Shirley became the 20th NCAA coach across all divisions to reach the number, though Old Dominion’s Wendy Larry can hit the total Thursday night if the Monarchs win their home game against Virginia Commonwealth in the Colonial Athletic Association.

North Carolina-Greensboro coach Lynn Agee was at 598 out of the weekend.

So that’s 600.

Next up are those Penn Quakers (6-8) who won their 400th game in the program’s history by beating La Salle, 45-40, at home in The Palestra to break an 0-24 City Series slide since Dec. 1 2004 when Penn beat St. Joseph’s.

Quakers freshman Alyssa Baron scored 17 points while Ashley Gale scored 13 for the Explorers (5-13).

“Our defense was great and our offense was just good enough to carry us,” aaid Penn second-year coach Mike McLaughlin.

“It’s a big step forward for the program to win a Big Five game. When we came here that was one of our goals to move forward to try to win at least one Big Five game a year. I’m really happy for our seniors who have never won one of those.”

So that’s 400.

Add them together and you get 1,000, which also happens to be the career point total Temple junior Kristen McCarthy passed at the Liacouras Center in a 53-43 victory over St. Joseph’s in a key Atlantic 10 victory. She is now at 1,010.

McCarthy became the 18th player in the history of the program to have a grand total of points and moved to 17th in the school record books for career scorers.
Shey Peddy had 19 points for the Owls (12-6, 4-0 Atlantic 10), who won their fifth straight and also 10th straight over the Hawks. It was only the second game in the last 11 in the series between the two schools that was decided by more than six points.

McCarthy finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Hawks (11-7, 1-3) got 10 points each from Kelly Cavallo and Samira Van Grinsven while Cavallo also grabbed 10 rebounds.

The two teams meet again Feb. 23 at St. Joseph’s Hagan Arena in a game that also will count in the Big Five standings and both teams could be 3-0 that night.

Overall Temple has now beaten the Hawks 16 of the last 17 games and the one loss was decided at the buzzer at St. Joseph’s.

The Hawks have lost four of five and has been the case both Katie Kuester and Michelle Baker, the two leading scorers, were limited by the opposition.

“Anytime we play Temple it is usually a low scoring game on both ends,” St. Joseph’s coach Cindy Griffin said. “I was happy with our defense. We out rebounded them. I felt we held their two leading scorers in check, though Peddy obviously had a very good game for them, but the defensive effort was terrific.

“It flips to the (Hawks’) offense and our two top scorers – they struggled today. I think it has a lot to do with how Temple was guarding us, for sure, but I think we have to get better in some areas and to compete those two need to play better. That’s where we are right now.”

St. Joseph’s next hosts Massachusetts on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Temple coach Tonya Cardoza, in her third season, nearly mirrored Griffin’s comments but as a winning coach.

“Since I’ve been here it’s always been hard fought and down to the wire,” Cardoza said. “They’re a team that never quits. They work extremely hard. They’re disciplined and no matter what, they always give us a hard fought battle.

“But I thought our guys came out and did a great job defensively trying to shut down their top scorers – trying to make sure we didn’t give up any threes (first time this season Hawks were stopped in that category).

“But I think our defense is doing a great job right now and we have to continue that right now. We got a little erratic on offense but a lot of that had to do with what St. Joseph’s was doing pressuring us and forcing us to take bad shots.”

Temple plays at Penn Saturday at 2 p.m.

Wildcat Non-Strike

Villanova remained winless in the Big East as the Wildcats (8-10, 0-5) fell at home at the Pavilion 58-53 to Providence (9-8, 2-3) despite Laura Sweeney’s 19 points.

Villanova coach Harry Perretta remained stuck on 594 victories and at this moment in time it could be said he is six wins away and perhaps a summer also before he crosses the 600 plateau.

Record Night For USP

The University of the Sciences of Philadelphia has been known for its success in rifle as a sport but it was a night for other shooters in the Bobby Morgan Arena as the Devils (10-4, 6-2) topped Georgian Court 79-50 in a CACC game that was USP’s fourth straight win.

The Devils set a school record for field goal shooting percentage, targeting the basket at a 59.6 percent rate topping the former mark of 59.3 percent set on March 2, 2004 against NJIT.

Marissa Chesnavich was 8-for-8 and finished with 17 points while becoming the first CACC women’s player to have two perfect nights in the same season hitting seven or more shots. She was 7-7 earlier in the year against Wilmington.

Caitlin Shaw had a game-high 21 points for USP, while Alyssa Hamm had 14 points and Colleen Christian scored 10.

Commiserating Greetings To UConn

In the continuing non-disclosure of whatever caused UConn coach Geno Auriemma to leave freshman Samarie Walker home from the North Carolina trip to play the Tar Heels because of a personal matter, Temple assistant coach Wilnett Crockett, who had her share of grief playing for the Huskies, was told perhaps a whipping girl award was ready to be claimed in the role Crockett once endured.

“Well, my heart goes out to her,” Crockett said while giving an indication she had no idea of Walker. “But I’ll tell you he never did that to me – he never left me home.”

Crockett has also said she has nothing but good feelings after the fact of the results of her career at UConn.

Things The Guru Noticed

Xavier coach Kevin McGuff picked up his 200th victory as the Musketeers beat St. Bonaventure 76-56 in an Atlantic 10 game at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

Richmond kept pace with Temple and Xavier as unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play rallying from an early 12-0 deficit and upsetting host Duquesne 72-58 at the Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh.
Coach Suzie McConnell-Serio’s Dukes visit La Salle Saturday night.

In a battle of Mountain West Conference teams unbeaten in league action, TCU edged BYU 54-51 at home for the Horned Frogs’ seventh straight win.

Dayton (11-7, 2-2) beat George Washington 80-64 as the Atlantic 10 Colonials fell to 5-12 and 0-3 and it doesn’t seem that long ago that GW was several cuts above the WNBA Washington Mystics.

Texas A&M beat Texas in Big 12 play leaving the Longhorns at 11-7 overall and 0-4 in the league. Texas is getting close to be flung to the limbo land of the bubble in terms of who might make the NCAA tournament.

On Thursday night Drexel is at George Mason – the Guru contemplating heading that way in suburban Washington – while Delaware is at N.C.-Wilmington.

Penn State, meanwhile, gets a major test at Purdue as the Nittany Lions attempt to stay at least tied with Michigan State at the top of the standings.

That’s all for the moment.

-- Mel


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