Sunday, November 29, 2015

Guru Musings: WNBA Philly Connections Continue With Drexel's Marginean

By Mel Greenberg

Guru Musings: WNBA Philly Connections Continue With Drexel's Marginean


By Mel Greenberg

New Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was not on the scene in her home area this winter to see much of Drexel senior Gabriela Marginean.

One reason was she was busy making a career move after the former WNBA champion Detroit Shock, of which she had been assistant coach and general manager, moved to Tulsa under a new organization.

That resulted in her joining the Lynx, where her former boss Bill Laimbeer is an assistant on the NBA Timberwolves side as an assistant coach.

Still, the South Jersey native had made enough trips in previous years scouting talent and seeing some Drexel games as Marginean worked her way to eventually become the all-time career women's collegiate scorer in the Philadelphia area with 2,581 points.

"We are looking forward to seeing what Gabby can do after such a stellar career at Drexel," Reeve, a former La Salle star in the late 1980s, sent the Guru in a text message after the draft Thursday that arrived too late to use in the print story for Friday editions. "We believe she has a skill set that differs from the existing group of Lynx post players.

Of course, prior to Marginean being taken in the third round, Reeve was involved in part of the trigger for several blockbuster transactions.

Renee Montgomery and the No. 1 overall pick, which became Tina Charles, were dealt near their UConn roots to the Connecticut Sun in ezchange for Minnesota home girl and WNBA All-Star Lindsay Whalen and the No. 2 overall pick, which became Virginia star Monica Wright.

The Lynx had the third overall pick also on Thursday and chose Nebraska star Kelsey Griffin, who was dealt later to the Sun in another transaction.

Marginean is the latest in a group of persons from the area who have landed in the women's pro league.

The most prominent in the past decade is former Temple sensation Cadice Dupree, who was picked sixth overall by the Chicago Sky and has become a perennial All-Star.

She was involved in the recent mega three-way deal that was highlighted by fiormer Rutgers star Cappie Pondexter landing with the New York Liberty and Dupree being sent to the WNBA defending champion Phoenix Mercury.

On Sunday Dupree was invited to join the spring training of the U.S. Senior Women's National team in training in Storrs, Conn., under NCAA champion coach Geno Auriemma, who will guide the Olympians in London in 2012.

A year after Dupree was picked, Temple's Kamesha Hairston went in the bottom of the first round to the Connecticut Sun, where she played a few seasons.

In 2008, two graduating Maryland stars, Willingboro's Crystal Langhorne and Cheltenham High's Laura Harper, were first-round picks with Langhorne playing at the nearby Washington Mystics and Harper with the former Sacramento Monarchs.

Former Delaware star Tyresa Smith saw time in Detroit with the Shock, while St. Joseph's assistant coach Sue Moran, an all-time Hawk star, spent time earlier in the last decade with the Liberty in Madison Square Garden.

Of course two of the all-time notables are Dawn Staley, the former Temple coach and Dobbins High graduate, who played for the former Charlotte Sting and Houston Comets before her retirement, while former St. Joseph's star Debbie Black played for the former Miami Sol and then with the Connecticut Sun.

Black is now an assistant to her former Hawks coach Jim Foster at Ohio State but told the Guru at the Women's Final Four in San Antonio that she is ready to make her next coaching career move.

Down the road, two area persons who will be talked about as WNBA prospects are UConn sophomore Caroline Doty, a graduate of Germantown Academy, and Delaware freshman Elena Delle Donne.

Meanwhile, beyond the immediate region, Penn State senior Tyra Grant was taken by Phoenix, which recently sent former Nittany Lion all-time scoring star Kelly Mazzante to New York in the Pondexter deal.

Former Penn State stars Suzie McConnell-Serio, now coaching Duquesne, and Helen Darling, have played in the league.

Chicago with the fourth pick took former Rutgers star Epiphanny Prince, who bypassed her senior season to play in Europe. Pondexter is New York will reunite wth former Scarlet Knights stars Kia Vaughn and Essence Carson. Another of their former teammates -- Matee Ajavon -- plays for Washington, while Tammy Sutton-Brown, one of the Rutgers stars of the 2000 Final Four squad in Philadelphia, is on the defending Easterrn champion Indiana Fever.

Pndexter, who was taken in 2006 as the second overall pick, teammed with former UConn star Diana Taurasi to bring the Mercury two WNBA titles in the past three years.

Rashidat Juaid, a former Inquirer player of the year at Camden Catholic who just finished at Rutgers, went in the third round to the Los Angeles Sparks.

         -- 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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