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.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Guru Report- National: Mid-Majors Fla. Gulf Coast and South Dakota State Strike Again

(Guru’s Note: Because of the newsworthiness, Saturday’s report is split into a local and national segment)

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

When the pairings for the Mayan Division of the Cancun Challenge were drawn up with three days of quality opponents, the expectation was that on Saturday both No. 21 South Florida and Notre Dame would hit their matchup both 2-0 across the Thanksgiving holiday, though not necessarily with relatively ease.

Two powerful mid-majors had other ideas, however.

Unranked South Dakota State of the Summit League followed its Thursday 61-50 upset of South Florida on Friday by handing Notre Dame its second-ever Thanksgiving competition loss 65-59, holding off a rally by the Irish who are now 4-4 as they continue to suffer from the mass graduation of last season’s NCAA runners up.

And unranked Florida Gulf Coast, followed Thursday’s 69-60 win over Notre Dame, beating South Florida, 81-77.

Thus, the Mayan Division championship will be contested 1:30 p.m. between Florida Gulf Coast (7-1), whose only loss is to Princeton; and South Dakota State (5-2), who had narrow losses to Drake (74-67) and Creighton (61-48) on the road to start the season.

In the Florida Gulf Coast win Friday over South Florida Nasrin Ulel had five three-pointers and scored a season-high 23 points against the Bulls (5-3), whose one previous loss prior to this week was from challenging No. 2 and defending NCAA champion Baylor 58-46 on the road in Waco. 

USF had also knocked Texas out of the rankings, beating the Longhorns 64-57 at home.

In the win over the Bulls, Keri Jewett-Giles added 19 points and Davion Wingate scored 12, while Tytionia Adderly had nine points and 10 rebounds.

USF had 19 points from Elena Tsineke while Bethy Mununga had eight points and 12 rebounds.

The Bulls came close to avoding the upset, pulling within three of the Eagles at 70-67 with 1:44 remaining in regulation but FGCU hit 11 of 14 foul shots to make it two straight days pulling upsets for the Eagles’ part.

Whither the Irish: Meanwhile, after a day following dusting off old records to find setbacks similar in Notre Dame history prior to becoming one of the national powers in the sport in Division I, coach Muffet McGraw’s squad suffered some more against the Jackrabbits.

The Irish almost escaped after trailing by 16 in the third and rallying for a lead at the start of the final period.

But that became the highwater mark of the effort.

ND’s Kathy Gilbert had 17 points, fueled by shooting 7-for-11 from the field, while Anaya Peoples had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Destinee Walker scored 12 points.

The Jackrabbits lived up to their name from the outset, making six of their first eight shots in bolting to a 15-2 lead.

Tori Nelson had 15 points and 13 rebounds for SDSU, while Paiton Burckhard scored 14, as did Myah Selland.

The Irish, incidentally, are at No. 4 Connecticut next Sunday.

 They are now 13-2 playing this holiday week, both losses happening Thursday and Friday, the showcase week games dating to 2009-10.

More Upsets as LSU edged No. 15 Michigan State, 58-56

In the Bahamas, the Tigers (6-1) used a strong second half to down the Spartans (5-1) as LSU’s Khayla Pointer for the game had 13 points, seven rebounds, four steals, and three assists.

The Spartans almost forced overtime at the finish but Taryn McCutcheon, who had 18 points, seven rebounds, and five steals, was just 1-for-3 from the line. Teammate Nia Clouden scored 12.

No. 2 Baylor Stops No. 17 Indiana Upset and Awaits No. 5 South Carolina.

Following Indiana’s Thanksgiving Day upset of South Carolina, the Hoosiers were looking for more of same facing the defending national champs Friday in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

For a while, the Midwesterners threatened until the Bears put a stop for a 77-62 victory as DiDi Richards scored 20, Queen Egbo had 14 points and 14 rebounds, Te’a Cooper scored 17, and Juicy Landrum scored 10 to run the unbeaten streak to 7-0.

Indiana (5-1), in taking its first loss, got 18 points from Grace Berger, while Ali Patberg scored 16, and Mackenzie Holmes had 11.

South Carolina bounced back from its loss to Indiana by topping Washington State 68-53 though coach Dawn Staley’s squad will be looking to restore its luster when it faces No. 2 Baylor on Saturday. 

Mikiah Herbert Harrigan had 20 points for the Gamecocks (7-1), while Aliyah Boston, a native of St. Thomas, had 15 points and eight rebounds. The Cougars (4-2) had 17 points from Chanelle Molina.

And that’s the report – the local report is underneath this one. 







Guru Report - Local: Delaware Wins First But Penn, Temple and Penn State Suffer Setbacks

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Delaware finally got onto the winning side of the scoreboard but for Temple, Penn, and Penn State it was a bleak Friday among the four of the Guru’s local 11 that saw action.

The Blue Hens took down tournament hosts Cal State Fullerton 72-55 in the opening round of the Titan Classic out West riding a first quarter 16-2 outburst to finally stop what had become a four-game slide since the launch of the 2019-20 season.

Extra good news also came Delaware’s way with the return of Nicole Enabosi, the 2018 Colonial Athletic Association player of the year, who missed all of 2018-19 with a knee injury.

She shot 4-for-7 from the field and made 5-of-6 foul shots to collect 13 points in 17 minutes of action behind teammates Abby Gonzales and Jasmine Dickey, who each scored 17, while Dickey enjoyed a double-double by grabbing 11 rebounds.

Gonzales’ total was spurred by nailing 5-of-7 three-point attempts, tying a career high, while grabbing a career-high eight rebounds.

The Titans (4-3) were led by Raina Perez and Carolyn Gill, who each scored 14 points.

“We did it together,” said Delaware coach Natasha Adair. “We did it together. We fight. No one sees it but us, day in and day out, the grind in practice.

“I thought we were very disciplined. This is a very tough Cal State Fullerton team, very well coached, with key players. I felt we contained them on the perimeter,” she said.

 “But I thought we imposed our will. That’s what we talked about, imposing our pace, our tempo for 40 minutes.”

This was the first meeting between the two programs, which each has a long history.

Delaware’s opponents in this tournament were pre-determined as opposed to normal winners format.

The Hens will meet Santa Clara at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and then return to the Bob Carpenter Center next Wednesday to host George Washington at 7 p.m. in Newark.

Penn Rally Falls Short at Duke in 66-50 Setback

The Quakers stepped out into the world of the Power 5 teams they like to mix with their Ivy League and other opponents but an explosive 22-11 third quarter rally went to naught with the Blue Devils of the Atlantic Coast Conference righting themselves 17-6 in the next period to hand Penn (4-1) its first loss of the season at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.

Coach Mike McLaughlin’s group had trailed by as many as 21 points in the second quarter before closing the deficit to five points before the final stanza got under way.

The two programs had met several times before with this trip Friday afternoon also serving as a state-homecoming visit for Penn junior Eleah Parker.

Freshman Kayla Padilla continued her fine play for the Quakers, scoring 15 points, dealing four assists and grabbing two rebounds while Kennedy Suttle matched a career high with 11 points while also grabbing five rebounds and three steals.

Parker was held to four points and four rebounds.

Duke (6-2) pulverized what had been a tough Penn (4-1) defense yielding an average of 45.5 points per game.

Leaonna Odom paced the Blue Devils with 23 points and 16 rebounds while Haley Gorecki scored 12 points, Miela Goodchild scored 11, and Onome Akinbode-James scored 10.

Penn heads back to The Palestra to host Hartford, Monday night at 7 before heading to La Salle Wednesday night for the Quakers’ second Big Five game of the season after recently winning at Saint Joseph’s.

Penn State Edge by Long Beach State in Cal Tourney

The Lady Lions (3-4) couldn’t strike gold in the opening of the Cal Classic Friday night, falling to Long Beach State 64-56 and thus will play the consolation game Saturday afternoon against North Carolina Central at 4 p.m. in California’s Haas Pavilion in Berkeley.

The 49ers were able to answer with enough runs to keep holding Penn State back from taking control.

Marisa Makenna had a career-high 16 point for the Lady Lions, who have lost three straight games, while Kamaria McDaniel scored 12 points making this the 13th straight game she has scored in double figures.

Long Beach State (2-4) of the Big West Conference got 16 points from Justina King, while Ma’Qhi Berry scored 14, and Jasmine Hardy scored 10.

Next Thursday, Penn State will be home to host Pitt as part of the Big 10/ACC Challenge and then will break until visiting Princeton, Dec. 14 at 3 p.m.

Temple Downed by Creighton

In the second night of the Cancun Challenge in Mexico, Temple was unable to recover from its loss to North Carolina, falling to Creighton of the Big East 69-59 in what was a closely fought contest.

Mia Davis had 18 points for the Owls (4-4), while Ashley Jones scored 14, and Shannen Atkinson had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds and was voted to the all-tourney team. Asonah Alexander grabbed nine rebounds.

Temi Carda scored 17 points for the Blue Jays (6-1), while Jaylyn Agnew scored 15, Olivia Elger scored 12, and Mykel Parham grabbed 11 rebounds.

The opponents both nights were pre-determined as opposed to the normal advancement/consolation structure.

Temple was ahead 16-11 after the first period before Creighton was able to top the Owls each of the remaining three quarters.

When Temple returns stateside, the Owls on Wednesday head for an 11 a.m. game at Towson, the defending CAA tournament champs, in suburban Baltimore.

Next Saturday, Dawn Staley’s South Carolina squad will return for the second time in three seasons, playing the Owls at 3 p.m. in McGonigle Hall.

Looking Ahead: Tourney Saturday for Several Locals

It’s already been mentioned for games in existing tournaments of the matches Saturday for Delaware and Penn State.

An intriguing weekend at Saint Joseph’s Hagan Arena in the annual Hawk Classic gets under way at noon with the hosts meeting American U. at noon, followed by Drexel meeting Mid-American champion Buffalo at 2 p.m.

This event is using the pre-determined structure so on Sunday American and Buffalo will meet at noon followed by Saint Joseph’s and Drexel at 2 p.m.

La Salle will look to continue its winning ways, playing UMBC at 1 p.m. in the Navy Classic at the Academy in Annapolis, Md., followed by the hosts Midshipwomen playing Kennesaw State at 3 p.m.

On Sunday the winners will meet for the title and the other two teams will play for third place.

With Rutgers having won its first game Thursday, beating Vanderbilt in the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas, the Scarlet Knights at 2 p.m. will meet Georgia Tech, which beat Seton Hall.

On Sunday, besides the conclusion of the Hawk and Navy Classics, Princeton in a single game will host Saint Francis of Brooklyn at 1 p.m. in Jadwin Gym.

  And that’s all the reports. 








Friday, November 29, 2019

Guru Report: Rutgers Wins But Other Turkey Action Tough Swallow For Temple, Notre Dame, USF, and South Carolina

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru 


It was a split holiday affair for Rutgers and Temple, the two Guru locals of his 11 who played on Thanksgiving in tournaments while there were shockers and a few other surprises on the national scene.


Down in the Junkanoo Jam in Bimini in the Bahamas, Rutgers rallied from an 11-point deficit to top Vanderbilt 62-56, to earn a day off, and then Saturday meet Georgia Tech at 2 p.m. in the championship.


It was the Scarlet Knights’ first win over the Commodores in three meetings, the last coming in 1995. They last appeared in the Junkanoo Jam when they won it in 2005.


The Yellowjackets (5-0) advanced by beating Seton Hall 79-54 sending the Pirates (4-3) into Friday’s consolation game against the Commodores (5-2), who were dropped by the, Scarlet Knights (5-1).


Rutgers had entered from meeting another Southeastern Conference member, losing Sunday at LSU for its first setback of the season.


It seemed for a long while, Thursday,  it might be two straight for RU in the game at Gateway Christian Academy, but ultimately Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer’s group was able to offset the seven-rebound deficit by limiting Vandy’s shooting to just 33 percent from the field.


The comeback was also charged by Tekia Mack, who had 18 of her 20 points in the second half. Her layup with 32 seconds left in regulation put the Scarlet Knights in the driver’s seat at the finish.


“We were running patterns that allowed us to get to the rim,” Stringer said. “We learned from our last game at LSU and didn’t have as many fouls. That gave us an opportunity to run the 55 effectively.”


The 55 is Stringer’s trademark pressing defense that has victimized many Rutgers foes over the years.


“It was a total team effort with a whole second group coming in to run the 55 and attack the rim effectively.”


There were six ties and eight lead changes.


Mack got her 20 points on 8-of-15 from the field and she also had five rebounds and two steals without committing a turnover in her 34 minutes of action.


Arella Guirantes had 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks, while the most spectacular of Khadaizha Sanders points came by way of a half-court three pointer as the opening half expired to give Rutgers momentum.


Vanderbilt’s 11-point advantage was built in the first quarter before the Scarlet Knights became to climb back into contention.


Mariella Fasoula, on several preseason national watch lists, had 17 points for the Commodores, while off the bench reserves Koi Love and LeaLea Carter scored 13 and 10 points, respectively.


Career-wise, Stringer moved into sole possession of fifth place all-time in the women’s game and fourth in Division I with 1,024 wins, breaking a tie with retired North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell.


Stringer’s first win this season was her 500th with Rutgers while the rest of her triumphs have come coaching Cheyney U. and Iowa.


In Georgia Tech’s win, the Yellowjackets shot 63.3 percent from the field and Lorela Cubaj topped four players scoring in double figures as she collected 16 point, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Francesca Pam scored 15 points.


Desiree Elmore and Alexis Lewis each scored 14 points for Seton Hall.


“We didn’t play all that well in the first half, but I thought we were resilient, come back and played a much better second half,” said new Yellowjackets coach Nell Fortner, a former Texas star as well as having former coaching stops at Purdue, the USA 2000 Olympic Gold Medalists, the WNBA Indiana Fever and Auburn before serving as an analyst for ESPN-TV.


Temple Felled by North Carolina


The Owls ran into rough sailing in the tropics Thursday night, losing to unbeaten North Carolina 71-58 in the Cancun Challenge in Mexico.


The winning Tar Heels (5-0), now under former Princeton coach Courtney Banghart, forced Temple (4-3) into  committing 30 fouls, enabling UNC to shoot 24-for-37 from the line.


Temple transfer Ashley Jones had 15 points, while freshman Asonah Alexander had a team high 16 points and Shannen Atkinson scored 10, shooting 5-for-7 from the field.


 Four Tar Heels scored in double figures, paced by Madinah Muhammad with 20 points, while Janelle Bailey had a double-double 19 points and 11 rebounds, Shayla Bennett scored 15, and Taylor Koenen scored 10. Additionally, Malu Tshitenge grabbed 11 rebounds.


North Carolina had the game well-in-hand by the half holding a 42-20 lead and additionally gained seven three-pointers.


The Owls, who had a season-best 50 rebounds, seven of which were a career high from Lena Niang, ultimately lost post players Mia Davis, Shantay Taylor, and Atkinson to foul disqualifications in the final quarter. 


The Temple 50-40 advantage came off the inside play with the Owls holding an 18-8 differential on the offensive glass.


“It was a real gritty battle,” Banghart said afterwards of her team’s first road contest. “It didn’t come easy-we fought hard.”


The Tar Heels, who have won all their games by sizeable margins, next play Missouri in Cancun Friday while Temple will next play Creighton of the Big East at 9 p.m. The pairings for both nights were pre-determined and not in formal tournament advancement structure.


Nationally Noted: South Carolina Stunned by Indiana


It was easy to have South Carolina’s attention earlier this month when the then No. 8 Gamecocks headed into Big Ten country upsetting then No. 4 Maryland, the conference favorite, in College Park.


Back to play another Big Ten representative Thursday down in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, coach Dawn Staley’s squad didn’t fare as well with No. 17 Indiana, losing to the Hoosiers 71-57 in the opening of the Paradise Jam.


Brenna Wise and Ali Patberg each scored 16 points for unbeaten Indiana (5-0), who handed No. 5 South Carolina (6-1) its first loss of the season.


The Gamecocks held a four-point lead in the final quarter before Indiana went to work and the Hoosiers also got 10 points each from Aleksa Gulbe and Grace Berger.


Mikah Herbert Harrigan had 13 points for S.C. and freshmen Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke each scored 10 for Staley’s bunch, which wasted an earlier second half rally erasing a seven-point deificit.


“We knew they were going to come out an make a run,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “They’re too good a team and Staley is too good a coach that we were going to get their best coming out in the second half.”


The Gamecocks found themselves in foul trouble in the final period and after the Hoosiers used an 8-3 run at the outset to edge ahead 55-54 and then Indiana hit the accelerator and blasted to a 16-3 run closing things out.


Boston, playing just 14 minutes, and Tyasha Harris both fouled out – S.C. was assessed with 23 – and though Indiana was 12-of-19, the Gamecocks were 7-for-15 from the line.


“We got ourselves in some foul trouble and were not able to play people who we needed to play,” said Staley, whose team will visit Temple for the second time in three seasons next Saturday.


The loss removes South Carolina from an early meeting playing No. 2 Baylor, Friday, which now goes to Indiana  while the Gamecocks face Washington State.


More Upsets: South Dakota State Surprises South Florida While Fla. Gulf Coast Beats Notre Dame


Mid-majors had their day besides dining on turkey Thursday with unranked South Dakota State beating No. 21 South Florida 61-50 in Cancun, Mexico.


Myah Selland scored 17 points and Paiton Bruckhard had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Jackrabbits (4-2) while Kallie Theisen had 10 points.


South Florida (5-2), which now plays Florida Gulf Coast Friday, got 15 points and 12 rebounds from Bethy Muninga.


It looked like the Bulls of the American Athletic Conference might escape when a rally led them to a 46-44 lead midway in the final period before South Dakota State exploded on a 15-0 run. They are now 11-28 against nationally ranked opponents.


Meanwhile, also in Cancun, Florida Gulf Coast took advantage of 25 turnovers committed by Notre Dame to down the unranked Irish 69-60.


Anaya Peoples tied a season high for ND, scoring 19 points while grabbing nine rebounds. Sam Brunelle had 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Katlyn Gilbert scored 14 points.


Florida Gulf Coast (6-1), whose sole loss is at Princeton, got 19 points from Davion Wingate, 16 points and 14 rebounds from Tytiona Adderly, 12 from Keri Jewett-Giles, and 11 from Ulel Nasrin.


Playing on only the Irish’s third-ever Thanksgiving Day and against a first-ever opponent, no question this was tough to swallow for ND, losing its first-ever Thanksgiving week showcase game in the decade beginning 2009-10. They are now 13-1.


The two programs are half of four – the other two being UConn and Baylor – who have won at least 25 or more games since 2010-11.


Depending how one classifies DePaul these days in terms of Notre Dame losing to the Demons 70-69 on Feb. 28, 2011, the last true Mid-major loss for the Irish was to Northwestern State (La.) on March 24, 1995.


Now Notre Dame must play the South Dakota State group at 11 a.m. Friday that just upset South Florida.


Looking Ahead: The Locals and Nationals


As already mentioned for the locals: Temple plays Creighton at 9 Friday night in Cancun, Mexico; Rutgers is now off.


Penn State plays Long Beach at 6:15 p.m. in Cal-Berkeley’s tourney; Delaware plays Cal State Fullerton at 9 Friday night in the Titans’ tourney.


In a singles game at 1 p.m. Penn is at Duke.


On the national front, you’ve been told about Notre Dame and South Dakota State meeting at 11 and South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast meeting at 2:30 p.m. in Cancun.


Elsewhere: as mentioned, Baylor and Indiana meet at 5:30 p.m.; North Carolina and Missouri at 6:30 p.m.; Syracuse and Stanford at :10:30.


We will track and tweet others as the action warrants.


And that’s the report. 







Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Guru Report: La Salle Makes Hay Beating Coppin State

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA – Just one game was played on the Guru’s local 11 schedule Tuesday night with Thanksgiving fast approaching and that event occurred right here at La Salle’s Tom Gola Arena where the Explorers kept their winning momentum alive with a 79-46 victory over Coppin State of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

It was over quickly with the home team taking a 7-0 lead and keeping the hammer down the rest of the way to extend the current win streak to four and overall record at 5-1 while the Eagles (0-6) are still looking to hang a larger number on the left side of their opponents’ outcome.

Although Coppin State hails from Baltimore, these teams have met just once a long time ago with La Salle getting a 71-57 victory on Dec. 29, 2003.

Right now, there are a lot of things going on up here the Explorers have not done in a long time like owning a winning record.

In Mountain MacGillivray’s second season, La Salle is just a victory shy of matching last season’s (6-25) overall total in which the first win occurred on Dec. 9 after eight previous attempts.

As far as first time, long time goes, the needle hasn’t changed since the previous game with the early streak the best in two seasons and it is the best start in 13 seasons, which at this stage of 2006-07 was 6-0.

In this one, it wasn’t the abundance of individual stats in the various categories but rather the overall number of players compiling them.

In all, 12 of the Explorers’ 13 players scored at least a point – reserve Sofilia Ngwafang only appeared for 5 minutes, 45 seconds, but did grab four rebounds. 

Freshman Claire Jacobs from Perth, Australia, scored 12 points while her twin sister Amy had eight and grabbed five steals.

A trio of players scored nine points, each: reserves Carley Lytton and freshman Kayla Braxton-Young, as well as freshman starter Jordon Lewis, who also qualified for the long-range travel connect of the night with a sizeable contingent of family members making the trip here from Houston.

Rutgers transfer Kate Hill dealt seven assists off the bench while senior forward-center Shalina Miller grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked four shots.

“In practice we’re more of a team,” Miller compared last year’s unit to this one, which has a bunch of new faces. “We pay more attention to the details. 

“That’s something we struggled with last year. We weren’t able to close a game out. This year we’re able to come up with a win, cause we’re able to close a game out.”

Oluwadamilola Oloyede, whose name is a far tougher match for any spellchecker than her town of Beltsville, Md., had 14 points and eight rebounds, while Chance Graham had 10 points and 16 rebounds for Coppin State.

MacGillivray was pleased with the way the offense was run, the cutdown to 13 turnovers while forcing 24, and taking three charges.

The current run includes the two comeback wins – one here from down 14 at the half to Harvard and the 20-point erasure of Penn State’s big lead up there late in the game, while the one loss was a narrow setback to Robert Morris here.

Next up comes this weekend in Navy’s tournament in Annapolis, Md., with La Salle meeting UMBC at 1 p.m. Saturday and then on Sunday meeting the winner or loser of the Navy-Kennesaw State game.

But MacGillivray, whose team went 3-13 in the Atlantic 10 a year ago and was picked last in the conference coaches’ preseason forecast, doesn’t want to discuss the opposition to date or just ahead in terms of their value.

“Right now, our focus is just La Salle,” he said. “We’re not there yet. But when we do, we’ll be much better than we are now.”

As to what’s ahead through the rest of non-conference play, following the Navy tourney this weekend,  Penn visits here Wednesday in the first Big Five game for the Explorers, while the Quakers are 1-0.

 Then it’s at Rider, at Drexel, and then back home hosting Villanova and Temple before tipping off the Atlantic 10 hosting Dayton, which is one of the league’s frontrunners with a coaches’ pick of second.

Nationally Noted: Speaking of Dayton, the Flyers hosted No. 4 Connecticut Tuesday night and though the Huskies had an injury riddled contingent on the trip to Ohio, the Huskies still came away with a 75-37 non-conference victory.

Megan Walker had 23 points and tied a career-high with 12 points for UConn (6-0), whose Crystal Dangerfield was sidelined with back spasms. 

Jayla Scaife had 12 points for the Flyers (3-3), who several years ago challenged the Huskies in an NCAA tournament Elite Eight game in Albany, N.Y.

Connecticut is off for eight days until visiting Seton Hall, a future Big East opponent, next Thursday.

UCLA Upheaves Yale: Now other PAC-12 players are getting into Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu’s triple double act. Japreece Dean had 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists to lead No. 11 UCLA to a 100-65 win over Ivy Leaguer Yale out west in Pauley Pavilion. Jordan Canada, now in the WNBA, got the last one for the Bruins (5-0) in 2017.

Ellen Margaret had 22 points for Yale.

Drawing Blanks at Army: When Army women’s coach Dave Magarity coached the Marist men, he earned over 250 victories. Earlier this season he reached 249 and it seemed he might become the first to win that many coaching separate genders.

But since then, Magarity has lost three straight games, falling at St. Francis-NY (70-64), then at home on a late rally by Columbia (71-62), then this week Tuesday night, the Black Nights were victimized by TCU, 66-52, at home at Christl Arena in West Point, N.Y.

The visitors are 5-0 while Army is 1-5

Looking Ahead:  Locals Turkey Trotting

We’ll be back with the national stuff in the next 24 or even later today, but here’s how the locals shape up across the Thanksgiving Weekend Holiday:

Thursday – Temple plays North Carolina, now under former Princeton coach Courtney Banghart 9 p.m. in Cancun, Mexico. 

Rutgers plays Vanderbilt at 3 p.m. in the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas. 


Friday – Temple continues in the Cancun Challenge in Mexico, playing Creighton at 8 p.m.

 If Rutgers lost, the Scarlet Knights play today, meeting the loser of the Seton Hall/Georgia Tech at 7:45 p.m. 

Penn State meets Long Bach State, 6:15 p.m. in the first round of the Cal Classic at Berkeley;.

Delaware plays Cal State Fullerton at 9 p.m. in the Titan’s tourney.

 Penn visits Duke for a 1 p.m. single game in Cameron Indoor Arena in Durham, N.C.


Saturday – La Salle meets UMBC 1 p.m. at the Navy Classic in Annapolis (Md.) at the Naval Academy.

 Saint Joseph’s hosts American at Noon followed by Drexel meeting Buffalo at 2 p.m. at the Hawk Classic at Hagan Arena (predetermined games).

If Rutgers won Thursday, the SKs meet the winner of the Georgia State/Seton Hall game at 2 p.m.

 Penn State meets N.C. Central or California 4 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. in the Cal Classic;

 Delaware vs. Santa Clara at 5:30 p.m. in the Cal-State Fullerton tournament (predetermined game).


Sunday La Salle vs. Navy or Kennesaw State, 1 p.m. or 3:15 p.m. in the Navy Classic at Annapolis, Md.

American vs. Buffalo, 12 p.m.; Saint Joseph’s vs. Drexel, 2 p.m. Hawk Classic at Hagan Arena (predetermined games).

 St. Francis, Pa. is at Princeton, 1 p.m. for a single game.


Monday – Hartford at Penn, 7 p.m.

And that’s the report.







Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Mike Siroky’s SEC Report: One Team Gets Tripped Up


By Mike Siroky


The best conference of women’s basketball, the Southeastern, had one of the Select Six, those ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, lose a game. One of the others is already 6-0, focused on the preconference 10.


As always, any SEC team but one which has ever won 20 is in the elimination games. The better teams can always find 10 in league play. The six should have 10 before conference.


The other trend is these six teams are likely to host first-round Sweet 16 qualifiers, which all but guarantees advancement to the next round. 


The first four have been there in recent history.


The next-best conference team so far avoided being ranked by losing its first after a 4-0 start.




The Gamecocks play certain in-state rivals every season, as they did before they were nationally prominent. 


SC has the No. 3 offensive average in the league (89) and is No. 1 in points allowed (45) which are stats that usually show up in these games.


South Carolina Upstate became South Carolina Upside Down State in the first blowout.


The was expected. The chance to play before a large crowd – 10,202 -- was the visitors’ only reward. A 64-18 at halftime came with all the reserves getting a chance. 


A 11-1 start of the third only extended expectations. SC limited them to single digits in each quarter. 


The final was 112-32, the most any Dawn Staley team has scored. The 44 field goals are also a program record. Yikes.


“I thought we put in 40 minutes, especially from a defensive standpoint,” Staley said. “I thought they locked into what we needed. 


“Offensively, I mean, we shared the ball. We had flow, we have rhythm.”


She may be new to this level, but freshman Aliyah Boston is showing she validates being the next great SC center of the Dawn Staley regime.


Boston had doubled, 18 points on 8-of-9 from the floor and 10 rebounds in the third. 


 The fun part of the start of the season is none of the other league coaches prove to be reliable talent scouts. None of them picked Boston worthy pf all-conference mention, where she obviously is going to be the freshman of the season and an all-conference selection by season’s end. 


Sort of makes you wonder why anyone pays attention in the preseason.


“She’s a focal point for us, getting her the ball in the paint,” Staley said. “But when we don’t give her the ball in the paint, she rebounds the basketball. She’s been very consistent rebounding the ball. 


“She’s been very efficient when we’ve gotten her the ball. She’s just a player that understands that she has to impose her will every single time we step on the floor, no matter what the competition.”


Senior point Tyasha Harris also had 18, with seven rebounds and six assists. She surpassed 1,000 points for her time in campus. 


Six Gamecocks hit double figures. The defense held the Spartans

to .159 shooting percentage.


 “After halftime, after we shoot and stuff like that, we huddle up and I tell them, the score starts over,” Harris said. “Just bring the same energy we brought in the first quarter.”


Another in-state rival, Clemson, came in next. 


After messing up a 10-season coaching career at Florida, this is where Amanda Butler landed. 


She is used to losing to Staley. 


Besides, Clemson had already lost by 13 to SEC third division Alabama. SC defended the SEC against the ACC once again.


 A legendary fan, A’ja Wilson, attended.


A 28-9 start helped; it was 48-23 at half. 


Senior center Mikiah Herbert Harrigan had 11 with eight rebounds and Boston 10. Clemson’s best player had four fouls. 


SC opened the second half, 6-0. With a 25-point lead, SC began to float off course. 


Four straight possessions yielded no points. Then freshman Bree Beale hit two straight 3s and Boston a layup, followed by another breakaway by Harris and the game was 61-27. 


Harris had risen to 10.  The fifth starter, Beale, had 11, making all five starters with at least 10. Clemson had burned all its timeouts.


Staley started infusing all the reserves, even though the regulars were on an 0-for-6 stretch. 


Still, 65-29 in the third is hard to waste.  Play integrity immediately fell off on both ends.


 So it wandered to an 84-49 end. They held Clemson to 26 percent from the floor.


“I thought we came with defensive pressure extremely well,” said assistant coach Jolette Law. “We addressed defensive pressure off the boards in the second half.” They drew 2,830.


No. 6 TEXAS A&M (4-0)


The Aggies visited the left coast and Southern Cal for its only challenge.


The first quarter was a 21-19 tussle, advantage home team, despite the Aggies hitting 56 percent from the floor. 


Kayla Wells was 4-of-5 from the field for eight and Chennedy Carter scored five. 


Neither team had established anything.


 The Aggies took a six-point lead by shooting even better, 76 percent to start the second quarter, as part of an 11-0 run.


N’dea Jones elevated to 10 rebounds and an eight-point lead with three minutes left in the half. 


Cierra Jonson was 3-of-4 from the field for six. 


The Aggies led by five in what was still a closely-guarded game at half.


A&M extended the lead to 11 in the third. Jones was up to 16 rebounds, 11 of them, defensive.


 Still, it was difficult to see which team was ranked and which wasn’t. This probably bodes well for SC in the elimination games.


Wells had 16 and Carter 10. What wasn’t working was the outside game. The Aggies had two 3s, the Trojans six. Each team had hit two free throws.


The Aggies closed it out, 74-64. 


Carter’s shooting was not great, 12-of-28 with one 3. She was 4-of-15 from the floor in the first half. 


But she scored 16 in the second half for 25. Wells was a calm 8-of-11 for 16. 


Because of Jones’ 18 rebounds, A&M won the boards by 14. They had 16 assists, half of those by Shambria Washington. 


They scored 15 points off the 12 SC turnovers.


“We worked very hard for this game,” said Jones. “We know we’re going to get everybody’s best shot. I wish my own shot was better. A couple of times my eyes sparkled, but the shots just weren’t there.”


 “We look at it like we’re going us vs. us, just to get better every game,” said Wells. “I just let the game come to me. If I had the shot, I took it, if it wasn’t there it wasn’t there.  I have been in the gym shooting a lot.


 “We definitely got a target on our backs,” she said. “So we have to be ready,” said assistant coach Amy Wright.


“Watching the game, it felt like they were shooting 80 percent. We have to approach every game like it was a Sweet 16 games or an SEC game.


“N’dea got a little pep talk from coach before before the game. He told her he wanted to see her run past those defenders and he wanted double-digit rebounds. So she hit her goals.


“Kayla has embraced being Robin to the Batman and Robin thing with Chennedy. Every play we called for her, she delivered.”


Only 682 bothered to attend on the football Saturday afternoon of Southern Cal/UCLA.


The Aggies head into an all-Texas December, nine games of which eight are gimmes. They should be well on their way to 20 before league play.




Imagine this: Only a 19-11 start at Jackson State. Jessika Carter was 3-of-3 and that was about it.

The Bulldogs straightened it out and won, 92-53.


Carter finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.


“To have the opportunity to come down here and play in the state capital in front of some of our 2,305 fans is a real blessing,” said coach Vic Schaefer. “I was proud of our team. I don’t think we played real well. 


“Too many turnovers. 


“Give Jackson State credit. I thought those kids played really hard tonight and played really well.


“You’re going to get everybody’s best shot. That is the way it is. Right, wrong or indifferent, whether you deserve it or not, if you are wearing maroon with the words ‘Mississippi State’ across your chest, you’re going to get everyone’s best shot. Our kids are learning that.


“I don’t think we played that well, and we scored 92 points. We will go back, watch the film and get better. We go on the road now and life is about to get real, real. We have to go to Marquette Monday night then to Canada.”


Rickea Jackson provided a spark off the bench with 13 points, while Andra Espinoza-Hunter recorded 12 points in her first start of the season. 


Myah Taylor rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points to go along with five assists and two steals.


State won rebounds, 57-45. Chloe Bibby had a career-high 15 rebounds, nine of which came on the offensive end.


Senior Jordan Danberry scored six with six rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks. State’s 12 steals led to 25 points off 22 turnovers.


State picked things up beginning with the second quarter. On defense, State held the Tigers to 4-of-14 from the field.


 The Bulldogs used a 13-1 run during the middle of the quarter and shot 52 percent from the floor to pull ahead for good. Carter and Jackson both dropped 11 points in the period to give State a 45-22 lead at halftime.


The defensive lockdown continued after halftime, holding Jackson State to 25 percent from the field in the third. 


The lead was 68-34. Nine different Bulldogs scored.


State continues its five-game stretch away from home, traveled to Marquette’s Monday night matchup then it’s on to Canada for the Greater Victoria Invitational next week.


Of the SEC player of the week, coach Vic Schaefer said of Carter, “she's confident and knows that I'm confident in her. She's got the greenlight. There's not a shot that I don't want her to take.”


The successful state tour continued, Schaefer knows you win in increments, locally, then conference, with the occasional foray against national non-league opponents.


“This state is so special to me, our program and all our teams here at Mississippi State. We have been to Biloxi, Jackson, trying to play in Tupelo, and now being able to go back to Jackson this year is really special.”


His focus on defense is reflected in the players. Most all of them were the scoring standout in high school.


Now their focus has to be full court.


"We could write a book on that,” said Shaefer. “It's them understanding the importance of playing both ends. Your great players want to be All-Americans’ well you've got to play on both ends.”


He cited former All-America Victoria Vivians, among that group that brought State to national prominence.


“(She) learned the importance of playing both ends here at Mississippi State and really came to appreciate the charge-taking, getting in passing lanes for steals, and helping us rebound. All of those things are defense.


“Any player understands that they're not stopping at half-court and for their teammates to play defense because they're on the offensive end. I think they understand the importance of that, and they have a sense of pride.’


It got incrementally better in the second quarter.


The Bulldogs started the conference work week against visiting Troy, two 3-0 teams.


The usual fast start had them up, 23-15 at the quarter stop. It extended on a 17-8 run to start the second. 


Jessika Carter was already 6-of-6 from the field, 2-of-2 at the line with seven rebounds and the tempo was set. Miyah Taylor had 11.


Coach Schafer was building experience with liberal substitutions. 


Rookie JaMaya Mingo-Young was second on point. She scored six, 2-of-2 each from the floor and the line. They built the lead to 66-38 at half, 12 assists and six steals making it work. It was over. 


Carter had a double/double, 17 points and 12 rebounds, with three blocks.


At halftime, fans participated in the annual Teddy Bear Toss, throwing stuffed teddy bears onto the court to benefit Le Bonheur Children's Hospital as the holiday season draws near.


"I'm really excited that we had more than 1,000 teddy bears tonight," said Schaefer. "That will be donated to people in this area for Christmas, which I am so proud of. I want to thank our fans for that. 


“It's always a special thing that we can do, and it teaches our youth and kids to give back to the community. I'm really proud of that and appreciate our 6,800 fans that were here tonight."


Mixing in different lineups, State maintained the lead through the third, a 30-point advantage for most of it. The final, 122-82, is only two points off the program record set the game before. The 49 field goals top the league so far.


Fifth-year senior Jordan Danberry scored 24 in 19 minutes, almost all after halftime. Taylor scored 20, a career high.


"(We)] certainly were fortunate to have Miyah Taylor on our team tonight," Schaefer said. "I thought her energy and effort tonight really stood out."


“In the game plan, the idea was to get back and play defense,” said Taylor.

“We have a practice squad of guys who really push us and make us better,” said Taylor. “I learned to take charges from them because they ae faster and so physical.” She had taken five charges on defense. 


“If you asked coach Schaefer if he was more proud of the 20 points or the charges, it definitely would be the charges.”


No. 14 KENTUCKY (5-0)


Morehead State was the first of what should be seven straight home wins.


By halftime, they had doubled the score, 48-24 -- the most points in a half this season. No Golden Eagle starter had more than 4. 


The Kats had started rotating in reserves. Rhyne Howard had 13 on her way to 24. Sabrina Hayes scored 14. It ended before 3,932 79-54 at Memorial Coliseum.


Howard has scored double figures 30 times in 37 games. The Kats forced 25 turnovers and turned those into 35 points.


In the third quarter, Kentucky kept the defensive pressure turned up, forcing four early turnovers and converting those into eight points.


In the process, the Cats built a 31-point advantage, 59-28, with 6:24 left in the third. 


That lead would eventually balloon to 34 points, 68-34, with 3:22 left in the period. Howard scored 11 points in the third quarter, and Kentucky took a 71-43 lead.


 Kentucky earned four days off.


Coach Matthew Mitchell focuses on the positives.


“The players really tried to take advantage of the practice opportunities even up until – we were still working on it during the warmup session,” he said.


“So many times tonight we had much improved execution and that’s a real credit to our players and practice – giving great effort and taking it to the floor, so still plenty of room for growth but that’s a good step forward tonight.


“We have been trying to start our defense with hustle. We’ve been working hard to be the aggressors on the possession and to be disruptive. I wanted our players to know that if the defense does this, this is what shot we need to take and you have to take some responsibility for the players out there.”


 Howard said, “I was just trying to work on my pace and just take the lid off the goal. I knew we had to come out faster than what we did last week so we were just trying to focus on running the plays.”


Senior guard Hayes said, “I think we just hit shots. We felt good. We started out the game well and we tried to keep it up. The fact that we were able to build a big lead early, I was just doing whatever I could do to help them out.”


Despite the win, UK dropped a spot in the national poll.


No. 20 TENNESSEE (5-0)


In their only game of the week, the Lady Vols welcomed in Stetson, which had already lost by more than 20 at Kentucky. The Lady Vols moved into the Top 20, a jump of four.


So far, coach Kellie Jolley is drawing 7,246 at home. This was the second of eight winnable home games.

 They have the longest win streak in conference. One suggestion of success: Their rebounding margin tops the league at 18.


In the second of six straight winnable home games, they cruised, 73-46, as 7,246 cheered the offensive effort.


Five players hit double figures. Most notable was the sighting of junior center Kasiyahna Kushkituah with 11 off the bench. She was part of that best recruiting class in the nation. 


It is now down to two, she and Rennie Davis.  Kushkituah injured a knee her first season and is finally back to form. She adds depth adds off the bench.


Though it is 5-0 for the third season in a row it is new for coach Kellie Harper. 


Freshman Jordan Horston scored 14 and junior Rennia Davis 15. Burrell had her first career double/double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.


Tennessee out-rebounded the Hatters 48-32, continuing the string of winning the boards in every game this season.


UT started with rainbows, with six 3s at the start, hitting 66.7 percent from behind the arc in the opening quarter. 


Horston hit two of the six 3s. The offensive thrust continued and UT led 58-35 at the end of three.


Sophomore guard Jasmine Massengill smiled at the idea of all the 3s going down at the start.


“We always think all of our shots are going in,” she said “So it was nice to see it happen. We were prepared to shoot the ball. Coach Kellie makes it easy.

“We work at our craft.”


Harper said, “It’s good to production from multiple people We performed better than we performed last week. It’s more than points. A lot of people are doing the little things.


“Out shootaround today was as bad as 3-point shooting as you could shoot. Our players can make shots. They were taking good shots, open looks. We have good players. They get in the gym and work on it.”


Unlike during Warlick’s final seasons, Harper has been able to transition practices to games.


Warlick was consistently saying she could not explain why great practices simply did not stay consistent at game time.


“Our practices got better,” said Harper. “We made some adjustments in the game. I am proud of hoe they reacted. Our motivation is for us to be better.”

No. 25 ARKANSAS (5-1)


In the first few minutes against Belmont, the Razorbacks opened a 20-point advantage, 14 from team leader Chelsea Dungee.  


Belmont is no punk team. It launched Florida coach Cam Neubauer to this level. He was 4-0 until running into his first ranked teams.


Arkansas rocked steady to 49-18 in the second Dungee was 7-of-9 (3-of-5 3s), 2-of-3 from the line. 


The Razor backs were hitting 62 percent from the field.


Three players hit at least 20, Dungee and SEC freshman of the week Makayla Daniels with 21 and senior guard Alexis Tolefree with 20, including 5-of-8 3s. With all the substitutions, no one doubled, but 


Arkansas won the boards, 40-28.


Coach Mike Neighbors said, “It’s not like you see on film for them. `They’re a lot faster, coach, than what that film showed.’ is what you get. I’ve been in that seat.


“Probably our most complete of the five we’ve played. They were a team that has been in the NCAA so that was good for us. It’s about us. 


“We put in new things each week. If you watch our films, we’ll have something new. I have not had the luxury of playing everyone which will help down the road.


“We got a new strength coach. They show their muscles a lot. They flexed on them and hey did it without fouling. 


“All our kids took it upon themselves. You look at Makayla Daniels drew eight fouls tonight. Layups, free throws and 3s, that’s what wins.”


“We matched their intensity,” Dungee said. “Starting out the game well is something we want to make our foundation, to set in stone, which we did not do last year. It comes from preparation, paying attention. Our goals have risen.”


 “It was the most physical game we’ve played all season,” Daniels said. You have to have heart and step up. We all have the common goal.


“There is surprise this year It can be anyone (on the team).”


They drew 1,608.


Besides being the first road game of the season, Neighbors said adjusting to the West Coast time zone was important as was the players getting to see the Berkeley culture. “It is something any of them have not seen before,” he said. “I was looking forward to showing them that as well.”


The cultural exchange handled, the Razorbacks did not defend the SEC against Cal and the Pac 12, 84-60. The Golden Bears entered unranked and 2-2.


Cal started hot from the field, 57 percent, but Arkansas led 14-11. 


Dungee and Amber Ramirez each had five. 


Cal upped its percentage to 66 percent (against a 39 percent average), but Arkansas held on at the end of the first, 25-20. 


They have scored at least 20 in 18 quarters. 


Dungee developed a defensive problem against 6-4 senior CJ West, who cut the lead to one and had her 10-point average, 4-of-5 from the field, with 10 rebounds. 


Cal scored seven unanswered in the final 90 seconds and spun into a 47-39 halftime lead. The Golden Bears caught a break when a foul at the buzzer was ruled at 0.1 and both free throws were good. No one could imagine how big that film review would prove to be.


Arkansas fell in love with 3 attempts and missed 10. Dungee scored 13. But Cal had won rebounds by 10. 


Cal senior Jaelyn Brown scored 19 against a 10-point average with 10 rebounds.


Arkansas cut the lead to one in the first five minutes of the third. Dungee used 7-of-7 from the line to get to 20 points. 


But Cal persevered for a 70-64 lead with one quarter left. It was obvious this was their night.


An Erin Barnum layin made it 77-76. But Cal had a four-point lead with 90 seconds left as Arkansas had gone cold, not scoring for three minutes. 


They won the second half by seven.


Cal had 28 defensive rebounds. They won rebounds, 49-32. Their bench won, 25-6.


Some day this season, Neighbors ought to look back at this one and wonder why. It certainly revealed the Razorbacks have to play at their best every night. 


They cannot defend against a strong center. 


In conference, South Carolina will offer a similar challenge.


West finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Brown had 30 with 12 rebounds, 10 offensive.

Unfortunately, the reality is only 1,032 bothered to show. All but one SEC team averages more than that.


It was 77-72 with six to go. 


Arkansas missed two attempts at rebounds with 5.2 seconds left, down by two. Two intentional fouls led to free throws and the final.


“You just walk in the locker room and tell them. ‘This is fixable’,” said coach Neighbors. “We can’t be disappointed. We didn’t get a lot of good looks. It’s the Pac 12 way.


“We will learn an awful lot about us,” he said, “We all had one or two ‘our bads.’ It’s a good film for us to have. 


“We had one turnover in the second half. But they had momentum and brought the crowd into it. I hope all the people at home realize how they carry us through. We would have won at home.”


This is Cal coach Charmin Smith’s first season and so a statement win. By losing convincingly to a unranked team in its first game away from campus, the Razorbacks dropped into the last ranking spot, the biggest fail of the week among all ranked teams.


Arkansas will spend Thanksgiving in the Bahamas, prepping for a two-day holiday festival.