Friday, September 4, 2015

Guru Muses NCAA WBB Tournament Scene

By Mel Greenberg

Guru Muses NCAA WBB Tournament Scene


By Mel Greenberg

   NORFOLK, Va. - Thoughts and observations collected while busy working the Temple beat down here for print side.

  First, believe or not right about now the Guru blog has turned five years old.

  It was back in 2005 that the Guru was asked by his place of employment to be part of what was then a new initiative in getting into the blogosphere. Since then he has written under two other platform programs after starting under, which remains available for viewing in the archives.

  Ironically, Temple opened in the NCAA tournament at Connecticut in 2005 but under the former pod system the Owls were in a different quad from the Huskies.

    One of the early observations in the first few blogs had to do with the hotel in East Hartford where the Guru was housed.

     The Guru had left his room to do an interview and noted in the hallway to the maid that there was a problem with one of the lights. Several hours later when the Guru returned to his room, the beds had yet to be made, etc.

   To which the Guru observed: "Apparently, `Could you have someone do something about replacing the lightbulb in the lamp between the beds' is the foreign equivalent of, `You don't have to make up my room today.'"

    The Latest on La Salle

    The Guru hears that the lawyering is in the final stages before La Salle can announce Pittsburgh associate head coach Jeff Williams as the Explorers new coach succeeding Tom Lochner.

      A former colleague of Williams, whose team is still alive here in the tournament, acknowledged off the record that he was heading for 20th & Olney.

      Whenever La Salle is set to announce, the Guru informed some members of the athletic department that the Guru must drive back from here to Philadelphia the morning after Tuesday night's Temple-UConn game -- a 4-6 hour excursion depending on traffic and police radar traps. If the Guru's attendance is mandated, the time frame needs to be adjusted. And you thought ESPN had influence.

            By the way, did you know they are building as light-rail system from downtown here out to Virginia Beach?

           Just mentioning it after seeing Providence just railroaded Old Dominion, the host school here, out of the WNIT. Also, times have changed. Crossing the Bay-Bridge-Tunnel is now $12 each way.

         Geno-Tonya's Cellular Connection

          So Sunday night after checking into the hotel here downtown, the Guru went to the lounge in search of snacks and ran into Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, his wife Kathy, and several other members of the UConn staff and adminstrators with the team, which is also staying here.

           Within a matter of moments, the Guru's cell phone went off receiving a call from members of the Temple staff seeking the Guru's sociality.

             When the Guru noted his whereabouts to the Owls, whose coach Tonya Cardoza was a longtime assistant to Auriemma, he suddenly became the carrier for some back-and-forth banter between the two groups.

              The remarks were rather humorous though considering the Guru was not in working mode at that moment, what was said will be left unsaid here for now.

               Beth and Debbie Jinx Strikes Again

               By now many of you know the season-long story: Persons who have appeared on the weekly podcasts of broadcasters Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli under the aegis of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association have had losses and other misfortunes occur to their teams soon after getting praise from the duo.

                So almost a week after Texas A&M was named one of the teams capable of making a long run, coach Gary Blair's squad was upset in the second round Monday night by Gonzaga.

                 Nice to see WBHOF classmate Andy Landers advance with Georgia.

                Locals Elsewhere

             It's been noted often of Germantown Academy graduate Caroline Doty and former Cardinal O'Hara star Meghan Gardler's place on Connecticut's roster.

              Two others still in the tournament are UCLA freshman Markel Walker, a McDonalds All-American who attended Girard College as a freshman and University City as a sophomore before moving to Pittsburgh: and DePaul sophomore Keisha Hampton, who led Engineering & Science to a 25-5 record and the Public League championship her senior year. The team lost to eventual champion Mount St. Joseph's in the PIAA state tournament quarterfinals.

                     Courant Events

              The Guru made a guest chat appearance on the Hartford Courant's UConn women's chat Monday afternoon with beat writer and good friend John Altavilla.

              Although the Guru forgot the total, he was informed by John that the appearance was second-best being topped only by former UConn star Renee Montgomery, who is now a member of the WNBA Connecticut Sun.

                 Incidentally, the Guru's print preview of Temple-UConn is elsewhere on in the Inquirer Sports section.

               And while we're noting Temple again, G.P. Gromacki, a former assistant to Dawn Staley, was named the WBCA Division III coach of the year for his work at Amherst. Sounds like he needs to be in the mix for the Massachusetts opening.

                 -- Mel      

Inquirer Sports Columnist
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About this blog
Mel Greenberg covers college and pro women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has worked for 38 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. He was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Click here for Mel's list of All-Decade players from Philadelphia-area schools.

Other contributors

Jonathan Tannenwald is a producer with In addition to covering the local college scene, he spent two years as the Washington Mystics beat writer for Women's Hoops Guru. He also writes his own blog, Soft Pretzel Logic, which covers men's college basketball, football, and other sports.

Kathleen Radebaugh is a recent graduate of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She covered women's basketball for the school's newspaper, The Hawk, and served as sports editor her sophomore year. She was also a four-year member of the varsity crew team.

Erin Semagin Damio covers the University of Connecticut and the WNBA's Connecticut Sun for the blog, and contributes other features. The Storrs, Conn., native also attends Northeastern University, where she is a coxswain on the varsity crew team.

Acacia O'Connor is based in Washington, D.C., where she reports on the Mystics and the college basketball scene in the nation's capital. A graduate of Vassar college, she played on the varsity women's basketball team and was editor of the student newspaper.

Click on any of the contributors' names above to e-mail them.

Reach Mel at

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
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