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.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Guru Postgame Scout: Drexel Drowns Drought at Saint Joseph’s

Another in our on-going anonymous specialist givng insight. Since no games Monday, the games of Saturday and Sunday will be caught up and blended together.


St Joes jumped out to an early lead by getting to the rim off the bounce. Aylssa Monaghan handled Drexel’s defense and single handedly got herself to the rim.  But the game was back and forth as each team had periods where they controlled the momentum.

 

The Hawks showed a full court pressure that slowed down Drexel’s offense.    However, when Drexel got out of the backcourt trap quickly, they were able to go coast to coast scoring at the rim.

 

St Joes inside game is impressive.  Their post players have great hands and use their bodies effectively.  They split defenders, gather and power through the defense.  They use their shoulders to create space, then elevate and score off the glass. Drexel could not handle the physicality of St. Joe’s inside game.  

 

St Joe’s ran their sets well and controlled much of the first half.   The Hawks offense runs through the hands of the point guard using ball screens to create space and movement.  Once in a rhythm St Joe’s scores easily.

 

Toward the end of the second quarter, Drexel disrupted St Joe’s offensive rhythm and point guard play by trapping the ball screens.   St Joes turned the ball over or took forced shots as time ran out on the 30 sec. clock. Momentum shifted toward the Dragons.

 

St. Joe’s could not match the speed of Drexel’s perimeter players.  Drexel beat St. Joes’ first line of defense and the Hawk’s help side rotation was late.  Drexel scored at the rim.

 

Both teams zoned, but Drexel’s zone effectively limited St Joe’s post touches and forced turnovers as the shot clock wound down.

 

Drexel’s Greenberg, Brown and Marecic were able to penetrate St Joes defense and create scoring opportunities.  But it was defense that tipped this seesaw game to theDragons.

 

Mike Siroky’s SEC Report: Individuals Making an Impact

By Mike Siroky

The best player in the best conference – those Southeastern Conference teams ranked in the Top 20  by the Associated Press – got named to the talent pool for international play (as in Olympic) teams by USA  Basketball. Texas A&M had the national Game of the Week as a rookie went off for 45. Not only did another senior keep or projected streak alive by winning the weekly conference honor, but she also captured the weekly national award.

 

No. 4 South Carolina 

A’ja Wilson is the best player in the best league. Now she is among the world’s best, being elevated to the 2017-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team pool, from which the 2018 USA World Cup Team will be selected. Of course, the frontrunners are the 13 Olympic and/or FIBA World Cup Gold medalists. But Wilson is among five current college players selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee.


And the team, as will be the Olympic, is coached by Wilson’s college coach, Dawn Staley. Just, as Brianna Stewart had a bit of an inside track for the most-recent Olympiad when the coach was Geno Auriemma, so does Wilson have a familiar set of eyes on her.


The other collegians are Kelsey Mitchell of Ohio State, Napheesa Collier and Katy Lou Samuelson of UConn, and Asia Durr of Louisville. The selectees are to gather on the South Carolina campus, mornings Feb. 9-11


It will be interesting to see if the college players adjust their regular season play. UConn and Louisville are off, Ohio State has a game Feb. 11. South Carolina has an afternoon game Feb.11, but it’s at home so Staley and Wilson will already be there.


Bianca Cuevas-Moore, the fastest player in the league, will accept a redshirt year as her “banged up” knee has not responded so far. It may well be it is more than banged up.


Te’a Cooper, the sophomore import from Tennessee after sitting out last season with a knee rebuild, is expected to be cleared for the SEC season. Senior transfer Lindsey Spann from Penn State, with 22 3s, has missed four games while resting a sore knee. She is projected to be fine for the SEC season too.



The only thing on the to-do list was Savannah State and the completion of the Carolina sweep Nine players were plenty enough.


 The best crowd for women’s basketball worldwide, 13,343, appreciated the effort. With fewer players, the stars play longer. Wilson had 26 points in 26 minutes, 12-of-16 from the  field and she even tried two 3s, hitting one. Alexis Jennings, the transfer from Kentucky, had the double/double, 10 points, 13 rebounds (11 on defense) in 27 minutes. Reserve Harrigan Herbert scored 21 in 21 minutes, hit all seven free throws, 7-of-10 from the field. Usual point guard Tyasha Harris did not start as Staley experimented, but still had 12 assists.


Staley has 231 program wins, best in history.


“I came here 10 years ago to turn the program around and win the national championship,” she said “That got done with some incredible people: Coaches, players and the community. I think it's a tribute to what everybody has contributed to our program,” she said.


This week, they play at Temple, where Staley will be back in her native Philadelphia coaching against her Virginia teammate and longtime friend Tonya Cardoza, before having the Christmas holidays off until the start of the SEC season.


No. 5 Mississippi State


The Bulldogs had Oregon and Maine at home. They started holiday festivities against the Ducks with the annual Christmas at the Hump.



 Christmas Tree Cakes were given to the first 500 fans, and Santa was in the 5,445 house for pictures prior to his upcoming flight. He  read “The Night Before Christmas” to children on the court at halftime. He had such a good time that he came back for Maine.



Also at the Maine game, admission was free if fans brought a stuffed Teddy Bear.  They then had a  Teddy Bear toss at halftime, flooding the court with the bears going to area children



They took care of Oregon from the start, a 22-14 second quarter completing a 45-33 half . By the end of the third, it was 70-55 and Teaira McCown had 30 points, 14-of-16 from the field and 14 rebounds. Victoria Vivians had 15 points on 5-of-9 from the floor (2-of-4 3s) and 3-of-4 from the line, two assists and four rebounds. Morgan William had scored 13, 5-of-7 from the floor, 3-of-3 from the line, three assists. It ended  90-79. 



Vivians scored 15 in the final quarter for 30, 5-of-8 on 3s. McCowan finished with five blocks, 35 points in 35 minutes and  19 rebounds. They joined Tennessee at 10-0.



It is the first time two Bulldogs scored 30 in the same game since 1992.


"Very proud of the resiliency of this team," coach Vic Schaefer said. "The resiliency and the effort were tremendous. Oregon has a great basketball team. They have so many weapons. Scoring 90 points against their defense is impressive. On offense, our execution was great.


"A big key to the game were the minutes provided by Jazzmun (Holmes)," Schaefer said. "She really came in there late in the first half and gave us a lot of energy. That is when we got our separation in the game. Teaira really came out and gave us a great first half. Victoria took things over in the second half."


The Maine ingredient was the bench, with 35 points as 11 scored in the 83-43 blowout. State is 11-0, the first in the league chronologically there this season. 


McCowan’s seventh double/double, 18 points, 11 rebounds, was accomplished in 26 minutes.


The crowd of 4,953 cheered the 100th career wins for superlative seniors Vivians, William and Blair Schaefer. Vivians scored 12. In the coming weeks, all starters will up their playing times because league contests do not allow the luxuries of runaways.



 “Maine played extremely hard,” Schaefer said. “They had some travel difficulties getting here. For us, we were bland today, boring at times. It is typical coming off a big win. We had a hard time getting going. It’s a W. We will celebrate that. We give God the glory for 11-0.



“There are two big games ahead in Las Vegas. We are trying to go undefeated in non-conference. It hasn’t been done many times.”



The Bulldogs defined this one in the second quarter, allowing nine shots and six points, the dreaded single-digit lockdown. The Black Bears were held without a point over the final 6:11 of the half, State scoring a dozen unanswered and continuing a 20-0 run to start the third.



Mississippi State scored the final 12  of the half to build a 45-18 lead at halftime. 


They participate in the two-game Duel in the Desert tournament in Las Vegas this week. It is not a round robin. They play Las Vegas and Syracuse. The Orange still has players left from their national championship runnerup team of two seasons ago, though the majority now are rookies and sophomores for mercurial coach Quentin Hillsman. They ran into UConn in the second elimination game last season and lost there by 30.


No. 7 Tennessee


Jamie Nared kept the streak of senior winners going by winning the league player of the week honors. She also won the weekly national accolade by the United State Basketball Writers Association. 


The Lady Vols kept the program holiday traditions alive by visiting with guests from a children’s hospital.



Junior center Cheridene Green, from London, England, really like the interaction.



"I like having conversations with them, too, especially the ones that are like really mature for their age," said Green. "They don't ask me, 'Why do you talk like that?' or they don't say, 'Why do you sound funny?'


"They just say, 'You sound different.' Like yeah, different, thanks. Not funny, different."


They were California dreamin’ at  Long Beach State in what was a simple 90-61 runaway. They join Mississippi State at 11-0.


MeMe Jackson and non-starter Anastasia Hayes each scored 15, Russell and Westbrook 14, Nared 11. Double/doubles arrived for Nared (11) and Russell (10). Jackson only took 22 minutes, Nared 25, Russell 28, 


Coach Holly Warlick stretched out her thin bench by playing everyone.


“Any road win is a great win,” Warlick said. “We were concerned about it. They made us work. I loved our togetherness, the ability to defend and rebound. We just played hard. We’ve been preaching that, playing hard and playing together.


“You have to not just have leaders, you have to have followers. These young ones follow. Jamie and Mercedes have done a great a job. When I recruited them (the freshmen), I said they are awesome basketball players, but they’d get a chance to play. And I don’t say that every time.  They are competitive ladies, they al want to play. But they don’t care who starts They push each other and pull for each other.”


They hit four 3s in the opening minutes. Warlick said it just about quality shots.


“Our emphasis is, ‘Get the best shot you can get.’ Any shot that goes in is a great shot. We had great looks.”


“We just had a couple days of really good practice,” Russell said. “We come into practice every  day with the idea we can improve. It’s definitely been a lot of fun You can see it on the court, just a great group of girls.”


“It was a shooter’s gym,” said Jackson. “We were getting open and having good looks. We get energy every day. Everybody’s doing their thing and doing their job and that’s what love. Pushing pace, getting stops and scoring in transition. They (the freshmen) listen to everything we say and we listen to them, too. Any night it could be anyone.”


They drew 1,532


The first road trip of the season ends Thursday at Stanford before a 10-day Christmas break


No.19 Texas A&M


The Aggies went to undefeated and unranked Sothern Cal, winners of their first eight, two at home. The Aggies stared ahead, 21-18 at the first break. Rookie Chennedy Carter had 15, 6-of-7 from the field. USC was hanging in by hitting 54 percent from the field. Neither trend could last.


But the Trojans tried, launching a 9-3 start of the second quarter.


Suddenly, A&M had the deadly single-digit target for the second quarter and coach Gary Blair’s continual worry about a lack of consistent offense was too real. Sure, 30-29 at break was not beyond a recovery, but the EMTs were nowhere in sight.


USC was down to 43 percent from the field. But A&M was at a miserable 26 percent, even with Carter hitting half her shots. Blair likes to brag on leadership. He went four deep on the bench and found none. A rookie dong it all is seldom the fix.


Directly after intermission, Blair had made some adjustments and on came a 12-9 run. Back came the home team11-1. A&M was not effective on either end and was down by seven, no cure available as the quarter ended in a five-point hole.


Undismayed, they cobbled a 17-7 run and retook the lead. It was never easy. Carter splurged to a young career record 46, 4-of-8 on 3s, but an all-time program record and the best in the league this season. Her average had been 18.3 and it rose to 21, second only to Wilson of South Carolina.  Let’s make her league rookie of the year right now.


Danni Williams hit 4-of-6, missed all seven 3s, but obviously her nine second-half points were necessary. Khaalia Hillsman had one free throw in the first half, five points in the second, finishing eight below her average. 


Down the stretch, the exchange of points had A&M down by one with three minutes to go. In the next minute, Anriel Howard hit a jumper, one of three baskets. USC hit a free throw and Carter hit two. Each side missed. USC hit a layup, but Carter drove for one of her own and a free throw.  


The Trojans came out of a time out with a set play for a 3. But there was just half a minute left and A&M had a two-point lead, as if that mattered in this game.


Another 3 by the home team. One-point lead with 20 seconds left. Carter’s jumper at nine seconds left gave A&M a 75-74 lead. USC finally missed a late 3. Ballgame. Texas A&M is 9-2, three road wins. USC was a wild 6-of-24 on 3s.


“Whoever the offensive coordinator is, he deserves a raise,” said Blair. “Oh, that’s me!


“What a night! I will remember this night. This night was so special because we did not have a lot of firepower from our posts. It was one of the best exhibitions of setting up her own shot, driving to setting up her teammates. She did it all.”


Carter said, “I just feel like you have to play hard on both ends. That’s the key. You have to play hard. Half the time, I did not know what the score was. I was just looking for my players.


“My teammates were a big part of getting me open. I just set my man up and they set the screens and I just tried to finish.”


 Each side hit 45 percent from the field. A third loss carried a probability of leaving the national stage again. But a road win against an 8-0 Pac 13 team instead added to the Blair legend.


Texas A&M joins South Carolina in the Duel in the Desert, against Hawaii and No. 9 Oregon this week, then finishes Texas bragging rights when SMU closes the year December 28. Oregon has lost to Mississippi State by 15 and defeated Ole Miss.

 


Trend: Georgia, unranked at 9-1, gathered with its fans to build more than 60 bikes for deserving children in a tradition that goes back a dozen seasons. 


For the second straight season, Missouri , a ranked team, has declined to participate in our coverage.

 


 Trend: Tennessee is the top-scoring team in the conference without any individual in the top six scorers.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Saint Joseph’s Avery Marz Is the USBWA 2018 Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award Recipient

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

This is the text making the announcement on Hawk Hill in Philadelphia of recovered stroke victim Avery Marz, a Saint Joseph’s senior, as the 2018 United States Basketball Writers Association Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award recipient to be presented at the Women’s Final Four in Columbus, Ohio. Full release later tonight and believe we will have vidseo at some point. 

You first read about her in AP National Women’s Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg’s story last month.

Thank you and thanks to everyone here for poviding a venue to take care of business right here in town and not have  to do it elsewhere.

As many of you know, this game and my involvement with it over time has resulted in wearing several hats — some of which you know one being at the Inquirer from the time that typewriters came to an end and continuing through many technologies — some of which had their share of nightmares.

And most of the Hawks know as a benefit of my escape to independence in 2010, it enabled me to ramp up and begin covering many of you in the summer league and I think commissioner david kessler is here and if not now was intending to come.

And there is a national hat being women’s rep and coordinator of the United States Basketball Writers Association — meaning i get to organize and emcee our awards press conference at the Women’s Final Four, this year in Columbus, O., but also the whole process which also includes our ongoing national players and freshmen of the week.

While it is true many of our awards don’t come into focus until March since they are based on season performance, we have others many of which we began putting names on such as the Ann Meyers Drysdale national player of the year, the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award, which speaks for itself, and the Mary Jo Haverbeck Award, which goes to someone in collegiate dept. publications helpful to the membership.

And there are others that come along such as community service — and certainly St. Joseph’s, Drexel and everyone in this area has done their share to garner special attention.

And while you all see the end game, since i have a reputation for springing surprises with the announcement part, you have no idea how many hoops, pardon the expression, must be jumped behind the scenes.

I think part of this comes from ways Coach Summitt loved nailing me with surprises during our long relationship.

But doing this requires a lot of moving parts, for example several years ago it involved picking the right moment to break the word to USA Basketball media liaison Caroline Williams and what we did was at a USA Olympic practice she was overseeing, the team was called into a circle, I started to talking like i was about to name a player and then I switched to Caroline to break it to her she was our winner.

Many of you saw the TV coverage when coach Summitt made a surprise appearance to help  give the award to the late Lauren Hill.

And last year I lost three weeks of my life which i’ll never see again trying to surprise Appalachian State coach Angel Elderkin through a skype presentation, citing her battle with cancer while continuing to coach, and also dealing with ESPN to break the news to Holly Rowe, who also has been battling the disease.

I think at one point I looked up and said to the sky — Yo, can you make this easy one year. And sure enough I got an answer, which has already been shared with most but not everyone of you.

And so to spring the latest surprise and for the first time a local mix for me out of the Philadelphia Belles, the Atlantic 10, the Big 5, and most importantly, in this room, for her act of courage to embrace her love of the game, recovering from the stroke that sidelined her for two seasons, I’m pleased to announce the 2018 USBWA Pat Summitt Most Courageous winner, give it up for Saint Joseph’s Avery Marz.

Now Avery this is just the announcement so you only need to say a few sentences if you want to react and you have until the end of March to prepare your acceptance speech. And we can take some pictures. 

And while the media covering the championship gets instant access thru their credential, the NCAA allows me to compile a list of friends, family, teammates, to get a special pass to the press conference.

Right now we are looking at 3 p.m. the Friday several hours before the national semifinals in the arena and we have time before nailing down the precise moments since dealing with the NCAA always involves flex.

Last year i had to tear up half the script ten minutes before we began to re-shuffle the order of who to call up first but  for now understand this is the most prestigious of all our awards.

And I can tell you that after the national AP story on Avery from my friend Doug Feinberg got out there, I quickly began receiving emails from around the country, are you considering  ... and replied already on the case. 

 Now I know there’s a game to be played so back to you all and the normal business at hand.




 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Guru Report: Scaife Now Part of Rutgers Scoring Mount Rushmore Leading Payback to Princeton

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers redshirt senior Tyler Scaife was in no rush Wednesday night to get to the ritual of blowing out candles on a cake to mark another birthday for the native of Little Rock, Ark.

She was too busy lighting the Rutgers scoreboard in the first half with 18 of her game-high 24 points as the Scarlet Knights continued their payback tour by victimizing nearby New Jersey state rival Princeton 70-50.

Just one more debt remains on the non-conference portion of their schedule when Houston comes visiting 6 p.m. Saturday.

Scaife, who was 4-for-5 on three-pointer attempts, missed all of last season due to a heart defect that has since been resolved and now her focus is on leading Rutgers (11-2) back to national prominence and in the process has sandblasted her profile, moving from 10th onto the Mount Rushmore of all-time scoring greats to third in program history.

Her latest performance was the fourth straight reaching 20 or more points and eighth overall on the 11-game schedule to date.

Scaife, whose Wednesday game aired on the Big Ten Network, now has 1,884 points after passing Philadelphia’s Kahleah Copper and is behind frontrunner Sue Wicks (2,655) and Cappie Pondexter (2, 211) — quick, pick  the one who will belong:

Wicks is a retired former WNBA all-timer with the New York Liberty, while Pondexter and Cooper are teammates on the WNBA Chicago Sky. Scaife, a likely first-round pick in next spring’s WNBA draft, is sitting 116 points behind becoming the third 2,000-point scorer in Rutgers history and just 327 away from pushing Pondexter aside.

With Rutgers deep, Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer doesn’t need to rely on Scaife to play most of regulation, especially with her team opening up large leads.

“When we took it to another level, you may have recognized the style of play,” she said, an allusion to her famed 55 pressure defense. “The names and players may change, but the style doesn’t change. Maybe the ghost or spirit.

“Last year we didn’t have any ghost or spirit,” she said of her worst-ever six-win record.

And if there was a low point, which is why Wednesday’s win is another impressive measuring stick, it came down the road at Princeton’s Jadwin Gym where the Tigers produced a thumping 64-34 victory.

Understand, the Tigers are one of the Ivy League powers alongside Penn, and this season Princeton (6-3) is better, only losing previously at home to just Georgia Tech and narrowly to then-No. 24 Villanova.

“I thank God that I’m able to live to see another day,” said Stringer, who is on her own national countdown to an join an elite group. “It makes a world of difference. It was very scary last year. I hadn’t seen anything like that before.

“That’s over. I don’t want to think about it. This game is one we lost big time to. Coming up Saturday (hosting Houston), we had a 10-point lead, 2 minutes, 10 seconds left. How do you lose like that?”

Wednesday’s win brought Stringer’s combined record at Cheyney, Iowa, and Rutgers to 988-392, placing her within 12 wins, which if all attained by later in the season she is targeted to become the fifth women’s coach to reach or surpass 1,000 career wins.

The late Tennessee legendary Pat Summitt and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer have already passed the milestone while Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma at 999 is favored to reach the number when the Huskies host Oklahoma Tuesday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena near New London, Conn.

That same evening if North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell beats Washington Sunday, she also would get her first shot at 1,000.

The way the Big Ten schedule is set, which opens with Rutgers hosting Purdue, Dec. 28, the real heavy hitters don’t come on the horizon until a stretch of nationally-ranked conference teams beginning February 1 at Maryland and then it’s home with Michigan, at Ohio State and home with Maryland before finishing out at Wisconsin, hosting No. 25 Iowa, and then visiting Northwestern.

That stretch is also where Stringer could be knocking on the door to No. 1000.

Almost similar to the fabled 2007 season when Rutgers advanced to the NCAA title game, Stringer will have a stretch to build chemistry before meeting the conference big-timers, which back then was when her team was part of the old Big East.

“The whole conference is a challenge but seeing some tough teams early like South Carolina, which we lost competitively, we’ve seen a lot of different styles. I know I feel much better heading into the conference than last year.”

Scaife was asked what it was like rising to be mentioned among the likes of Wicks and Pondexter.

“It means a lot,” she said. “Cappie, she’s like a mentor to me. We talk all the time. I met Sue a couple of years back, so to be able to just have my name up there, it means a lot. It’s very humbling. Two great players to ever come through Rutgers, I’m just happy to be right behind them.”

Elsewhere on the boxscore, Rutgers’ Jazlund Rollins had 12 points and Ciani Cryor dealt a career-high nine assists while Princeton’s Sydney Jordan and Abby Meyers each scored 11 points and reigning Ivy player of the week Bella Alarie scored 10.

Alarie was Ivy freshman of the year last season.

Though Rutgers is known for its defense, the Scarlet Knights are on a marskmanship streak shooting 51.6 in the three recent  games combined.

Princeton next visits Wagner Sunday.

Looking Ahead

With this being finals week, the Guru local schedule is idle until Saturday when Temple hosts Marist at 2 p.m. in McGonigle while Rider travels to Newark in North Jersey to play NJIT at 1 p.m. on ESPN3. 

On Sunday, Saint Joseph’s hosts Drexel at 1:30 p.m.; La Salle visits Delaware State at 6; Penn State is at Pittsburgh at 2; besides the Princeton-Wagner game.

Nationally, Tennessee is at Long Beach; UCLA is at Seton Hall; DePaul is at Notre Dame; Georgia Tech is at Georgia; Ohio State is at Cincinnati; and Louisville is at Kentucky.

And that’s the report.






  









                                                                                                                                                 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bob Heller’s Philly WBB Small College Report: Lincoln Lions Roaring Along While Unbeatens Reduced to Zero

By Bob Heller (@Bob_Heller1)

 

 It was an exciting week in Philadelphia small college women’s basketball as the area’s lone unbeaten team was upset and then the team that upset them was soundly beaten in their next game. Several other teams were perfect on the week, getting back on the winning track or starting modest winning streaks.

 

We’re going to start our notebook off though, we the hottest team in the area right now and that would be Division II Lincoln University.  


The Lions ran their winning streak to four games, defeating Washington Adventist 77-53 on Thursday before crushing Chestnut Hill College 88-58 on Sunday improving to 5-3 on the season.   

 

Chestnut Hill College was the team that upset #11/#17 University of the Sciences on Saturday, ending the Devils seven game win streak and handing them their first loss, but we’ll get to that game a bit later.

 

Back to Lincoln, the Lions put on an explosive performance in the final two quarters against Chestnut Hill, outscoring the Griffins 25-15 and 20-8 to cruise to the win.  


LU point guard Brianna Logan broke the school’s record for assists in a game with 12 and recorded her first career double-double by adding ten points. Teira Pendleton led the Lions with 20 points while McKenzie Spencer added a career high 17.  Shahra Madison notched her second consecutive double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. 

 

The Griffins (5-5) were led by Jaeda Wildgoose’s 13 points while Cassie Sebold contributed 11 off the bench.  Shannon Glenn added ten points.

 

Madison and Division I transfer Michelle Fitzgerald both recorded double-doubles in the Lions’ win over Washington Adventist with Fitzgerald scoring a career-high 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while Madison chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds.  Logan had a career-high 16 points.

 

Back to Chestnut Hill, the Griffins outplayed nationally ranked USciences on Saturday, pulling away late to earn  a 72-65 win and hand the Devils (7-1) their first loss of the season.  Glenn scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Wildgoose had 13 points and 10 rebounds.  


The Griffins scored four straight points to break a 51-51 tie midway through the fourth quarter and take the lead for good.   An Alex Thomas three-pointer win the final seconds brought the Devils within three, 68-65, but they could get no closer.  Sarah Abbonizio finished the game with a career-high 26 points while Thomas added 18.  Jordan Vitelli chipped in 11 for the Devils who shot an uncharacteristically low 20% from three point range (6-30) and 31.8% from the field (The Griffins shot 43.6%).

 

The USciences upset was the Griffins’ lone victory on the week as another hot team in the CACC, Jefferson Universit,y defeated Chestnut Hill  81-71 in overtime on Tuesday and earned their third straight win on Saturday, defeating Holy Family University 73-67.

 

Against the Griffins, Jefferson’s Caitlyn Cunningham scored a game-high 24 points off the bench with seven rebounds while Jessica Kaminski notched a double-double in the win behind 15 points and 13 boards. 


Ayoola Oguntuase also scored 15 points in the game.  Vicky Tumasz had 19 points for the Griffins while Wildgoose had 18 points and 17 boards.

 

A tie game heading into the fourth quarter, the Griffins took a four point lead early in the period before a 3-ball from Cunningham and a basket by Oguntuase erased the deficit and gave the Rams a one point lead. 


Jefferson, formerly known as Philadelphia U., extended their lead to six with under a minute to go in regulation before the Griffins rallied with an 8-2 run to send the game into overtime.  


Trailing by one with three second left, Sebold was fouled and had a chance to put the Griffins ahead, but made just one of two to tie the game at 67-67.

 

In the overtime the Rams dominated, outscoring the Griffins 14-4 to earn the victory.

 

On Saturday against the Tigers, Kaminski notched another double-double with 11 points and 11 boards and also dished out seven assists in the 73-67 win.  Cunningham led the team with 18 points.  Elizabeth Radley led the Tigers (1-9) with 23 points.

 

The Tigers outscored the Rams 23-5 in the second quarter and led 41-28 at the break before the Rams countered with a 21-11 effort to close within three and then take the lead early in the fourth quarter before pulling away for the win.

 

Jefferson now has an area best nine wins with only one loss, and moved up to third in the latest D2SIDA Regional poll; USciences dropped to fourth. 

 

West Chester University got back on the winning track with a 72-53 win at home against Mercyhurst University on Saturday, the Golden Rams’ lone game of the week, improving their record to 5-3.

 

A low scoring affair in the first half, the two teams were tied at 22-22 heading into the third quarter.  West Chester scored the first five points of the period enroute to opening up a nine point lead heading into the final period where the Golden Rams dominated, pushing the lead to 20 on five separate occasions before finishing up with the 19-point win and move to 2-3 in PSAC games this season.

 

Porscha Speller and Katherine Fisher had 14 points apiece to lead West Chester.  Mia Hopkins had a team high eight rebounds.

 

Chester County’s third Division II squad Cheyney University dropped an 87-46 decision to #16 Edinboro on Saturday to fall to 1-9 overall and 0-5 in PSAC games.  Briana Hedgepeth led the Wolves with 12 points.

 

Moving across counties and Divisions into Delaware County and the area Division III schools, Cabrini University had a perfect week, defeating Cairn University 59-40 and later Susquehanna 64-60 on Saturday, improving to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in CSAC games.

 

Against Cairn, the Blue and White were paced by Nomi Washington and Kate Lannon who each tallied 16 points. Washington added six rebounds and five steals, while Lannon chipped in five boards and two assists. 

 

The Cavaliers used a strong third quarter to pull away from the Highlanders, opening the period with a 13-2 run capped by three-pointers from Washington and Lexi Edwards to take a 38-19 lead and extended it to 49-27 by quarters end.

 

On Saturday, The Cavaliers used a late 12-2 run in the fourth quarter to secure the win over host Susquehanna University.  Washington again led Cabrini with 20 points while Lannon and Sabrina Hackendorn added 12 points apiece.

 

Cabrini held a 34-31 lead at halftime, courtesy of a Washington 3-ball at the buzzer but the River Hawks responded with a solid third quarter to lead by two 50-48 entering the final period.   Susquehanna pushed the lead to six midway through the fourth quarter before the Cavs produced their decisive 12-2 spurt to pull out the win.  Hackendorn had six of the 12 points.

 

Gwynedd Mercy University and Neumann University are also undefeated in CSAC games as the Griffins lost a pair of non-conference tilts and the Knights split two non-conference games.

 

Gwynedd Mercy opened the week with an 85-60 loss to DeSales University before falling to Kings College 58-53 to drop their overall record to 4-3 while remaining steady at 2-0 in league play.

 

In the loss to Kings Susan Bossler led the Griffins with 16 points and eight rebounds.  Gwynedd Mercy would hold a slim lead at halftime before falling behind by six early in the third quarter.  The Griffins rallied to tie the score at 40-40 before a Monarch bucket but the host team back on top 42-40.

 

A 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter gave the Griffins a four point lead.  King’s rallied to tie the game before the Griffins retook the lead 53-51 on a Bianca Adams three-pointer.  Kings closed out the game with a 7-0 spurt to pull away with the win.

 

Sydney Thompson led the Griffins with ten points in their 85-60 loss to DeSales.

 

Neumann opened the week with a 77-69 win over Rutgers Camden but lost on Saturday to Catholic University 65-42.  The Knights are 5-4 overall and 2-0 in league play.

 

Against Rutgers-Camden, Nafisa Saunders led four Knights in double-digits with a game-high 20 points. Lauren Leicht netted 13 points, including 7-for-9 at the line. Minika Glenn scored 11 points while Mariah Maciejewski added 10. 

 

Gabby Greene and Michelle Obasi led Rutgers-Camden with 17 and 16 points respectively.

 

The Knights used a 20-3 uprising in the second quarter, taking command of the game while reversing a 27-20 deficit to lead by ten at the half 40-30.  The teams played equally throughout the third quarter and the Knights held a 59-48 lead heading into the final 10 minutes. 


Neumann built up a lead as large as 15 points during the final quarter. With under a minute remaining, Rutgers-Camden hit a three-pointer to get back to within six, 73-67. Leicht and Saunders hit key free throws down the stretch to seal the win and prevent the comeback attempt.

 

Saunders was the lone Knight in double figures in Neumann’s 23-point loss to Catholic Universitywith 13 points.  Legler added eight.

 

Neumann led early in the first quarter before an 11-0 run by the Cardinals put the hosts in control with an 18-10 lead heading into the second quarter.  The two teams played evenly in the second quarter but the Cardinals doubled up the Knights in the third to take firm control of the contest, holding a double digit lead the rest of the way.


Eastern University won their first two games of the season last week, defeating a pair of CSAC schools, Rosemont, 70-39 and Immaculata 60-53.

 

In the “Battle of the Birds”, the Eagles jumped out to a 23-1 lead in the opening quarter and never looked back as they cruised to the 31-point win.  

 

Regie Robinson and Amanda Riiff finished with 16 points each, and Taylor Price picked up her first double-double of the year with 14 points and ten rebounds.

 

The Eagles held the Ravens to just 25.4% shooting from the field and used a 12-0 run to start the second half to take a 43-9 lead.  Rosemont did cut the deficit to 22 points with a 12-0 run of their own midway through the third.

 

Amber Lomax was the lone Ravens player in double figures with 11 points.  Rosemont falls to 6-2 on the season.

 

Eastern earned their second win of the year later in the week, defeating Immaculata 60-53 behind Brianna Young-Harris’ 19 points.  The eagles improve to 2-5 on the season.  Immaculata falls to 2-6.

 

Annie Kohutka led Immaculata with 19 points while Theresa Kearney added 11.

 

The Eagles led 23-20 at the half and held the Mighty Macs to just eight first half field goals and 27.5% shooting (8-29).  Immaculata used a 14-2 run in the third quarter to take an eight point lead 39-31 before the Eagles came back to close the gap to one at 41-40 heading into the final stanza.

 

A 10-3 run to start the fourth quarter put the Eagles in control as they held on for the seven point win.

 

Widener University split a pair of games, beating Albright College, 77-70 to start the week before falling to Lycoming 79-61, keeping their record even at 4-4 overall and 1-3 in league play.

 

In earning their first conference win of the season over Albright, Widener’s Madison Ireland scored  a career-high 28 points, 14 in each half as the Pride used a strong fourth quarter to come-from behind and win.

 

Albright led by six at the end of three quarters when the Pride scored the first seven points of the final period to take their first lead since 2-0. 


Widener later went on an 8-1 run to take a 73-68 lead with 2:26 left.  The Pride were a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line over the final two minutes to close out the game with the win.

 

Allison Gallagher scored a season-high 26 points as the Pride lost at Lycoming 79-61 on Saturday.  Widener got the early jump in the game as Gallagher scored nine of her points in the first with the Pride leading the majority of the frame before a late spurt gave Lycoming an 18-13 lead. The Warriors extended their lead as the second quarter went on, taking a 37-25 lead into halftime.

 

In the second half, the Blue and Gold battled back, opening the third period on a 15-9 run to slice the lead to six on an Ireland triple with 5:42 remaining. Lycoming recovered, however, and pushed the lead to 13 by the end of the frame and led by double digits the rest of the way.


Moving on to the Centennial Conference where the two top teams Haverford and #19 Muhlenberg met earlier in the week.  The match lived up to its billing as the two teams battled back and forth the whole way with the end result being a Muhlenberg win 53-51, handing the Fords their first conference loss.

 

Macy Goldbach led the way for the Fords offensively with 11 points while Sierra Berkel (nine points, 10 rebounds) and Samantha Wetzel (eight points, 10 rebounds) each narrowly missed double-double efforts.

 

A 9-0 run by the Fords gave the visitors a 17-12 lead before Muhlenberg rallied to retake the lead.  Haverford again rallied to lead by four at the break 23-19.  In the third quarter the Mules pushed the tempo with an 11-1 run to take a 39-30 lead before Ford 3-ball made it a six point game at 39-33.

 

Haverford tied the game at 39-39 in the fourth quarter before the Mules powered their way back to a five point lead 44-39.  Haverford whittled the lead back down to one on three separate occasions, the last being 52-51 in the final minute but the Fords could get no closer.

 

The Fords played their final game of 2017 Saturday at home against Washington College, cruising to a 58-32 win to improve to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play.



Wetzel led the Fords with 18 points while Berkel added 12.

 

Haverford scored the first eight points and never looked back jumping out to a 12-3 lead at the end of the first quarter and increasing that to 26-7 by halftime.  The Fords outscored WC in each of the four quarters 

 

Ursinus also lost to Muhlenberg last week, 76-70.  Lydia Konstanzer had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bears. Toni Suler added 13 points while Marisa Morano chipped in ten points.

 

The game saw six ties and eight lead changes as the two teams battled it out on the hardwood.  


Ursinus held a 26-25 lead midway through the second quarter before the Mules rallied to lead 40-35 at the break.  A fairly even third quarter saw the Mules maintain their lead and increase it to seven midway through the fourth, 66-59. 


 The Bears clawed back within one on two occasions before the Mules were solid down the stretch and held on for the win.

 

Ursinus opened the week with a 12-point win at Swarthmore, keeping the Garnet winless in league play at 0-5.  Konstanzer had 15 points to pace the Bears.  Audra Woodside led Swarthmore with 15 points.

 

Finally we go briefly over the river to Rowan University, which split their two games last week, opening the week with an 87-82 win over the College of New Jersey before falling at Montclair State 61-48 to move to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in league play.

 

The Profs got a career high 30 points from Alex Raring in their win over TCNJ.  Dominique Peters and Olivia Rulon contributed 17 points apiece.

 

After a close first half (40-39) the Profs used a 25-4 flourish in the third quarter to lead by 22 65-43 before TCNJ cut the deficit in half 69-58 by the end of the quarter.  TCNJ pulled within three points with an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter and later tied the score at 76-76 on Jen Byrne’s triple with 2:56 left.  Back-to-back baskets from Raring put the Profs back up by five 81-76 which would be as close as the Lions would get down the stretch.

 

Raring led the Profs with 17 points as they fell to nationally ranked Montclair State on Saturday 61-48.


In weekly awards handed out by the New Jersey Athletic Conference, Stockton’s Sasha Williams, a senior forward from Cherry Hill West, was named player of the week while Shannon Devitt of The College of New Jersey, a freshman forward out of Westfield High, earned rookie honors.

 

Final exams are upon most of the area and many school will not see action during the week until Saturday if at all.  We’ll have a new notebook for you at least once more before Christmas.



The Guru Report: Nwokedi 3-Pointer Triggers Rare Penn Big Five Win Over Saint Joseph’s

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

PHILADELPHIA — By the math, if nothing else, the Big Five women’s basketball race is still wide open, even if a clear frontrunner exists, though one of the quintet has been vanquished.

A rare three-pointer from Penn’s Michelle Nwokedi late in the game Monday night on Hawk Hill at Hagan Arena triggered an even rarer conquest by the Quakers who beat Saint Joseph’s 57-50 for only the second time here and third time overall in what is now a 43-game series between the two schools, mostly within the annual local round robin.

The last win for Penn (3-4, 1-1 Big Five), which snapped a two-game losing streak on this season, came at home in The Palestra three seasons ago and the previous win here occurred on Dec. 1, 2004.

Saint Joseph’s (5-4, 0-3), in what has been a nearly two-week scoring slump, dropped its fourth straight, a slide that began losing at Temple after an early lead, continued West of here on the Main Line with the worst loss ever at Villanova, then on to an upset setback down at Towson in suburban Baltimore, and now to Penn to be knocked out of Big Five race at 0-3, following the first home loss of the season.

The Hawks’ remaining City Series game is at La Salle, January 28, which is also the first of two with the Explorers in the home-and-home setup within the Atlantic 10.

Penn, which went 0-4 against the locals last season, will visit Villanova, Jan. 17, and Temple a week later.

The Wildcats (9-0, 2-0), who moved up to No. 20 in this week’s Associated Press Poll, will come out of the finals break to visit La Salle Dec. 20, a week from Wednesday, before next month’s game with Penn.

The Quakers arrived here after a 13-point-lead-yielding loss at La Salle and then improving in Saturday’s competitive loss to then-No. 3 Notre Dame at The Palestra.

“I didn’t know that either,” said Penn coach Mike McLaughlin of the lopsided Hawks domination. “This is the ninth time playing them since I’ve been here and only second time we’ve beaten them.”

The triumphed extended McLaughlin’s program record now at 10 Big Five wins in his nine seasons at the helm of the Quakers.

“There were a few we didn’t close and in this one we did close,” he said.

Saint Joseph’s led briefly by three late in the first quarter before Penn took over to build a 10-point lead in the second quarter and still have some comfort at 29-21 at the half.

It got to 12 and stood at 11 at the end of the third before the Hawks stirred with a 9-0 run in the final stanza, moving within a field goal at 45-43 with 6:09 left in regulation.

Then Penn responded as freshman Eleah Parker, who had a career night with 15 points, 4 blocked shots and eight rebounds, went inside and then after Saint Joseph’s failed to score on the next possession, Nowkedi, the reigning Ivy player of the year who had been 0-for-12 from beyond the arc, took a pass from Parker and zipped a triplet to extend the lead to 50-43 with 4:05 left.

“That was a dagger,” said Hawks coach Cindy Griffin. “That really hurt us.”

It got to nine on a layup from Nowkedi after a Saint Joseph’s miss on the ensuing possession and the Quakers were able to manage things so that only 15 seconds remained when the home team got back within six.

“We didn’t play particularly well at La Salle, we started well, but credit to them, but it’s good to get this one, especially going into finals. We’re starting to get better,” McLaughlin said.

“The only way we can make Notre Dame what we did, in terms of competing at a high level, a Top 5 team, is to come out here and make it worthwhile, and come out here and play with confidence and we did that.

“I thought we dictated all night, except maybe early in the first quarter, I liked the way we played.”

Nwokedi had 14 points, three assists, four steals, and a pair of blocks, to go with the three-pointer, making her only long-range attempt in the game for the two-time reigning Ivy League champions.

“She made a bunch last year. I’m glad she was in the gym all day,” McLaughlin said. “That was a good shot for her. But she put a lot of work today, spent an hour in the gym, I’m glad it paid off for her.”

Anna Ross was efficient at the point again, scoring five and dealing five assists.

Penn returns from the break to host Rhode Island Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. at The Palestra, then on Dec. 28-29 the Quakers head up to NJIT’s tournament in Newark to open with VCU and then meeting either the host Highlanders or NCAA participant Long Beach.

“Then we open with Princeton (Jan. 6 at home), and it all begins and we still have those two Big 5 games, so we’re going to embrace this one,” McLauhlin said.

On the Saint Joseph’s side, the Hawks were once again bedeviled on the offensive side, hitting at a 36.1 percent clip from the field, and Penn forced 17 turnovers.

Sarah Veilleux had a game-high 16 points while Adashia Franklyn had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Avery Marz, who has come back this season to finally play after being sidelined the previous two recovering from a stroke, got her first start and got three points in 13 minutes of play.

Chelsea Woods, currently sidelined with some health issues, didn’t play but Griffin got 20 minutes off the bench from Jaryn Garner, who was granted a fifth year of eligibility right before the season began. She grabbed seven rebounds.

“What a great Big Five game, what a great Big Five battle,” Griffin said afterwards. “I was proud of some of our kids who hadn’t been playing well, started playing well. Jaryn did a nice job off the bench. Avery’s start was inspirational, she did a nice job for us as well.

“Penn has been a team trying to find their way. They worked hard and made some key baskets. Proud of the way our kids battled back and put ourselves in position to win the game.

“We have to find ways to win. I told them (her team) I don’t mind 50-point games as long as the other team has 49.”

The Hawks are off the rest of the week and return Sunday to host Drexel, at 1:30 p.m. on the front end of a doubleheader with the men. The tip had originally been set for 1 p.m. depending what schedule you might possess.

Local Honors and Notes

Villanova’s move to No. 20 this week in the AP Poll is the Wildcats’ highest ranking since No. 9 in January, 2004. Junior Adrianna Hahn is the Big East player of the week.

Temple’s Mia Davis picked up another freshman of the week citation from the American Athletic Conference while Princeton’s Bella Alarie took Ivy player of the week honors, and Rider swept the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference awards with Kamila Hoskova being named player of the week and Jaiden Morris taking the rookie award.

It’s a lite week for finals on the schedule but the Guru’s next stop Wednesday night in the battle of U.S. 1 or N.J. 206 — take your traffic poison — or NJT/Cab-or-Uber-or-Lyft as Rutgers hosts Princeton at 6 p.m.

And that’s the Guru’s report.