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, February 19, 2021

Guru’s WBB Report: Saint Joseph’s and Villanova Suffer Losses While PAC-12 Ranking Trio Sweep to Wins

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Villanova was more competitive against Marquette Friday night than when the Golden Eagles prevailed in their previous Big East meeting on the Main Line but the Wildcats couldn’t get enough shots to drop in the manner of the 17 three-pointers they rained on Butler earlier this week and the home team pulled away down the stretch for a 65-57 victory at Al McGuire xxxx in Milwaukee.

While the loss prevented Villanova (12-4, 7-4 Big East) from moving closer to Marquette (15-4, 12-3) for third, coach Denise Dillon’s squad did not slip out of fourth as they head for busy regular season finish this week visiting Georgetown Sunday at 2 p.m. in the nation’s capital, then up to Providence to play the Friars Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Rhode Island, and the wrap it up at home next Saturday hosting Seton Hall at 8 p.m. in Finneran Pavilion.

The Wildcats beat all three in their previous meetings.

The Big East tourney opens Friday March 5 near New London, Conn., replacing the American Athletic Conference, which Temple competes and will be played in Fort Worth, Texas.

Of course the reason for it having been there in all previous seven seasons was the former membership of Connecticut, which will still be around and likely be to be still holding its No. 1 ranking which the Huskies reacquired on Monday a week after upsetting the previous No. 1 being South Carolina.

The Big East made the formal tourney schedule announcement on Friday afternoon and said it will not be opend to fans, the effects of COVID-19 protocols.

The NCAA announced Friday for its women’s tourney, which is being played entirely in the San Antonio Region of Texas, that the arena for the Sweet 16 and Final Four will be open to 17 percent capacity but the earlier rounds will be restrictive to six tickets per families of Tier-1 level traveling individuals.

In the Big East, three games that Friday, all streamed on the conference digital network on the Flohoops apps, will have the 8-9 seeds meet at 11 a.m., the 7-10 seeds at 2 p.m., and the 6-11 seeds at 5 p.m.

On Saturday, the Friday 8-9 winner will play the top seed, likely Connecticut, at 12 p.m. on FS1.
Following will be the 4-5 game, likely involving Villanova, at 3 p.m. on FS2.
After a break, Friday’s 7-10 winner will meet the No. 2 seed at 6 p.m. on FS2.
And the last quarterfinal will feature Friday’s 6-11 winner against the No. 3 seed at 9 p.m., also on FS2.

In Sunday’s semifinals, the the winner of Saturday’s 1 seed will meet the 4-5 winner at 3 p.m. on FS1
And the 2 seed winner will meet the 3 seed winner at at 6 p.m. on FSI

Monday’s championship will air at 8 p.m. on FS1.

Now, as for the stats from the Villanova-Marquette game, Brianna Hirlihy had 19 points for the Wildcats, while Maddy Siegrist, who missed portions in foul trouble, still managed another double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

In this one, the visitors were 7-for-9 from the line, but after the near-record night on Tuesday, Villanova made just a 4-for-24 effort from beyond the arc.

On the other hand, Marquette was 0-for-3 in outside shots.

Selma Lott scored 22 with 11 rebounds, while Lauren Van Kleunen scored 15, and Camryn Taylor scored 10.

Saint Joseph’s Woes Continue: The Hawks’ current slide reached seven after dropping an Atlantic 10 road contest to Richmond 68-58 in the Spiders’ Robins Center in Virginia in the afternoon making up the postponement from Thursday due to inclement weather.

On the bright spot, Kaliah Henderson had a career-high 19 points for Saint Joseph’s (5-8, 3-8 A-10), shooting 8-of-16 from the field. She also grabbed nine rebounds, just two under her personal best.

Alexis Santarelli scored 11 while Gabby Smalls scored seven and grabbed 12 rebounds.

The Hawks were in this one until near the end, trailing 60-58, with 2:42 remaining in regulation, but then going 0-for-7 the rest of the way, while the Spiders (11-6, 8-4) nailed one from beyond the arc and went 5-for-6 from the line to make it a 10-point differential at the finish.

It was an uneven affair in terms of flow with the teams combining for 57 attempts from the line. The visitors connected on 20-of-26 while the Spiders were 25-of-31.

Being right in Richmond allows without any travel difficulty Saint Joseph’s to go into Saturday’s scheduled game at VCU at 7:30 p.m., while the Spiders will host a one-day rested La Salle squad at noon, which will also be Richmond’s senior day.

In the win over Saint Joseph’s Kate Klimkiewicz had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Spiders.

“A good win for us,” said Richmond coach Aaron Roussell. “In this league, you’re going to have to win a multitude of ways. I thought we gave up way too many offensive rebounds.

“We overcame some things with rebounding but we got to the free throw line and got some easy baskets.”

Atlantic 10 Tourney Moved a Week Later: Meanwhile, in the latest incursion by the coronavirus, it’s going to be a throwback to an earlier time with the Atlantic 10 announcing switching the original dates of the men’s and women’s tourneys so the women will play the last of the two weekends before Selection Monday like the early days of the conference, though back then the NCAA women’s committee would use Selection Sunday, trotting out their field ands pairings in the afternoon just ahead of the men’s field.

The entire women’s championship will now be played March 10-14, still in Richmond, Va., while most of the men’s event will be a week earlier though the men’s championship will still be held Sunday, March 14 at 1 p.m. on CBS Sports.

The women will still retain conference TV partners CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports and ESPN to air games, while CBS Sports green lighted the men’s championship game switch.

The switch allows the women some makeup dates for postponed games impacted by the COVID-19 protocols.

PAC-12 Heavyweights Prevail:  The top three teams, which are also in the Top 10 of the Associated Press women’s poll, came through unscathed in the first of the two-date weekend attractions in the PAC-12.

No. 10 Arizona clipped California 59-50 in Berkeley, while No. 8 UCLA had little trouble routing No. 13 Oregon at home in Pauley Pavilion, and No. 6 Stanford routed visiting Arizona State 80-41 at home in Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, setting up Monday’s showdown for the conference title with visiting Arizona at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

But to be in position Arizona (15-2, 13-2 PAC-12) in the mantinee attraction had to repulse a great effort from the winless Golden Bears (0-14, 0-11), who have missed nine games due to COVID-19 protocols but managed to perform much better in their first game back then they did in the first meeting last month with the Wildcats in Tucson, who thrashed them 69-33.

Those were the fewest points Arizona has ever yielded to a conference rival in the PAC-12.

Fortunately for coach Adia Barnes’ group, they were carried by Aari McDonald, who scored 28 points to run the current Wildcats win streak to seven.

Tied at 43 going into the final ten minutes, Arizona responded with a 16-7 finish.

Cal’s Dalayah Daniels had 24 points and 10 rebounds.

The team has just eight healthy scholarship players and for experience lone senior Archer Olson, a starter, is a former walk-on.

Michelle Onyiah had a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the home team, which out-rebounded the Wildcats 40-26, but were countered by Arizona getting 21 points off 18 turnovers by Cal while only committing six.

Meanwhile UCLA completed a sweep of Oregon with surprising ease at home in Pauley Pavilion considering the Ducks (12-6, 8-6 PAC-12) had shown some grit Monday night back home rallying on Stanford before losing to the Cardinal in the closing minute.

Michaela Onyenwere keyed s balanced attack, scoring 17 points for the Bruins (13-3, 11-3 PAC-12), while Lauryn Miller scored 16, Natalie Chou scored 14, Charisma Osborne scored 13, and reserve Chantel Horvat scored 10 points.

Nyara Sabally scored 12 for the Ducks, while Te-Hina Paopao scored 11.

“Coach Cori (Close) has been challenging these last couple of games as a dress rehearsal, as she’s calling it. We really want to get ready for the tournaments and we want to showcase our best but mostly to prepare ourselves for what’s coming,” Miller said.

In the first Reveal by the NCAA committee on Monday, UCLA was given a three-seed in the first of two projections before the real tournament field is displayed on ESPN on Monday night, March 15, at 7 p.m. The next Reveal is March 1.

“You just saw a lot of aggression from a bunch of different people at that point,” she said of the Bruins attack late in the first half, shooting the ball, attacking the basket. It just felt like every board was coming to us, fighting and scrapping.”

UCLA, which has had to play with an undermanned roster due to having trouble getting  the Bruins’ foreigners into the country, had nine available for this one.

“I was really proud of our balance,” Close said. “It started with Lauren Miller, her steadiness, her leadership, her defense, her rebounding. Oregon is a tremendous program, period. That’s why this win means a lot because we have so much respect for them.

“They’re really talented. I thought they played their best team game against Stanford last weekend. I just texted (Oregon coach) Kelly (Graves), ‘You guys are playing your best basketball.’ And he’s a really good coach. I wouldn’t want to play them in the NCAA tournament. They’re going to continue to get better. They’re going to learn from every experience and they’ll get after it.”

As for Graves, “We’re going to learn from this,” he said. “We need to figure out how to play tougher.”

The Ducks have lost three straight.

On Sunday, Oregon goes to Southern Cal at noon in the Galen Center in Los Angeles on the PAC-12 network, while UCLA will be hosting Oregon State.

Stanford, meanwhile, is starting to acclimate to being back in the Cardinal’s own building after missing the first two months because of stringent COVID-19 protocols in Santa Clara County in Northern California.

Kiana Williams had 18 points and three steals in the win over Arizona State. Hannah Jump scored 17 for the Cardinal (20-2, 17-2 PAC-12), Lexi Hull scored 12, and Haley Jones scored 11.

“I think for (Williams) getting back in our gym and having opportunities to get shots up is big,” said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. “She’s staying late after practice, taking advantage of this and that is making a big difference for her. She’s playing at a really, really high level.

“Our defense played really well,” said VanDerveer of playing the Sun Devils (10-8, 5-8). “I like how consistent our team was. I like how hard they played. Everyone stepped up and tried to do what we asked them to do. Arizona State is difficult to play against because they’re super aggressive.”

The win extended VanDerveer’s record Division I women’s victory to 1,114, with her next game coming Sunday. UConn’s Geno Auriemma is second at 1.108, playing Saturday at Georgetown.

The late Pat Summitt had the record at 1,098 when she retired from Tennessee at the end of the 2012 season to fight Alzheimer’s Disease, which claimed her several years later.

VanDerveer passed her in early December, while UConn’s Geno Auriemma moved into second last month.

The Rest of the Nation - Wins for No. 23 South Dakota State, No. 18 Arkansas, No. 25 Missouri State, and Cal Baptist In No. 23 South Dakota State’s 86-78 win at North Dakota State in the Summit League, the Jackrabbits picked up their 15th consecutive triumph in dominating the Bison in Fargo, N.D.

SDS made 25 foul shots, out rebounded the Bison 36-26,  shot 52-9 percent from the field, showed better depth, 21-6, scoring from the bench, and in the paint were 36-26 victors.

Tylee Irwin had a career high 25 points for the Jackrabbits (18-2, 11-0 Summit League), while Paiton Burckhard had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Myah Selland scored 10.

“We played really well offensively,” said South Dakota State coach Aaron Johnston. “Most of those points early were all in the paint and that’s great to see that we didn’t come out and settled on jumpshots.”

In the Southeastern Conference, Chelsea Dungee was at it again for Arkansas, scoring 38 off 11-for-22 from the field as the Razorbacks at home in Bud Walton Arena hung an 84-74 setback on Ole Miss (9-8, 3-8 SEC). It’s the fourth time this season she has scored 30 or more points and fifth in her career scoring 37 or more points.

Dungee also set a record for the most 37 or more points for either a man or woman scored in Bud Walton Arena.

The win enabled Arkansas (16-7, 6-6) to get to .500 in conference play, though it looks like the final regular season game between No. 5 Texas AS&M and South Carolina will determine the top seed in the SEC tournament.

In the Missouri Valley Conference, No. 25 Missouri State beat visiting Bradley 62-56 in Springfield at JQH Arena for the 10th straight victory. It’s the fifth time the program has moved to 10-0 inside the conference and the overall 14-2 is the best start since the team in 2003-04 went 20-1 from the season opener.

Jasmine Franklin had a career-high six steals on the Braves (12-9, 8-6 Mo. Valley), who triggered a wild third period with a 14-0 run but the home team countered with a 9-2 response to finish the period ahead 49-44 heading into the final10 minutes.

Bradley scored five to tie it early in the fourth but after a near-five minute drought the home team scored to make it 55-53, Sydney Wilson then followed with an old-fashioned three-pointer to make it 58-53 with 59.3 seconds remaining. Then it was Bradley within a possession but Brice Calip hit two foul shots to make it 60-53 with 20.6 to play.

Franklin had 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Abby Hipp scored 12, and Calip had 11 points.

The two teams play again at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Cal-Baptist’s unbeaten run on the season nearly ended but Ane Olaeta ands Britney Thomas rescued the squad for an 81-77 victory in the Western Athletic Conference over visiting Grand Canyon in overtime.

Though the NCAA is not listing the Lancers (19-0, 11-0 WAC) because they are in transition to Division I, they continue to just try to win, this time tying inactive Princeton with a 22-game win streak.

The Tigers are part of the eight-team Ivy mandate to not field winter sports teams, including basketball.

Thomas scored 24 for Cal Baptiste, while Tiena Neale scored 13, collecting nine in the first half, while Olaeta scored 12 and dealt 12 assists.

Caitlyn Harpert scored 11. Sydney Harper scored 10.

Looking Ahead: Locally, on Saturday, as mentioned, in the Atlantic 10, Saint Joseph’s is at VCU at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN+ while La Salle is at Richmond at noon, alson on ESPN+

Rutgers will be after five straight in the Big Ten when the Scarlet Knights host Illinois at noon, while No. 9 Maryland hosts Minnesota at noon on the Big Ten Network, and No. 24 Northwestern hosts Illinois at 3 p.m.

In the Colonial Athletic Association, front-running Delaware is at preseason favorite James Madison  at 6 p.m. and Drexel is at Towson in Maryland at 2 p.m.

Rider is done until the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament next month in Atlantic City.

No. 1 Connecticut makes stop No. 3 on the Huskies’ five-game road trip in the Big East visiting Xavier at 3 p.m. in the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, while No. 9 Maryland hosts Minnesota at noon on the Big Ten Network on Saturday. No. 19 DePaul hosts Creighton at 2 p.m. in the Wintrust Arena in Chicago in the Big East, while No. 19 West Virginia hosts TCU at 2 p.m. in the Big 12 

No. 16 Gonzaga off its Thursday night’s upset loss by  BYU goes to San Diego at 6 p.m. in the West Coast Conference..

No. 12 South Florida hosts Tulane at 7 p.m. on ESPN+

And that’s the report.




Post a Comment

<< Home