Friday, September 4, 2015

Guru Report: "D" Becomes Delaware's Central Focus

(Guru's Note: Was on the scene for a print story off a short session with a key Blue Hen to run later in the weekend. The Wilmington News-Journal was also in the house for a combo interview-video enterprise.)

Guru Report: "D" Becomes Delaware's Central Focus

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(Guru's Note: Was on the scene for a print story off a short session with a key Blue Hen to run later in the weekend. The Wilmington News-Journal was also in the house for a combo interview-video enterprise.)

By Mel Greenberg

NEWARK, Del. -- The Delaware women's basketball team had already been drilliung for close to an hour Thursday afternon when coach Tina Martin called a time out, not that any officials were in the house to blow the whistle.

She then gathered her players at center court to instruct them further.

The veteran Martin then turned and looked toward the rafters on the left side of the Bob Carpenter Center Arena where ten banners hung denoting Bue Hens success stories of past seasons.

"Every team that put up on of those banners, did so for one reason," Martin said to her squad. "They played defense."

That was the focus throughout the session.

Basically, redshirt-freshman Elena Delle Donne could be capable of scoring a ton of points as the 50 the former high school national player of the year threw down Sunday in a scrimmage at St. Joseph's. But Martin knows unless Delaware gets stops the other way there could be a bunch of high-scoring WNBA Phoenix Mercury-style results, but not necessarily in the Blue Hens' favor.

"We're a work in progress," Martin said afterwards. "We have the ability to be good,but until we learn how to play some defense, we still have a way to go.

"One good thing is we're sharing the ball and that's a good start," Martin added. "And of course, we haven't played a game yet."

That will come Tuesday night when Delaware travels to St. Francis, Pa., near Altoona, to meet the Red Flash in a game scheduled long before Martin knew Delle Donne was going to be part of her lineup.

For her part in Thursday's practice, Delle Donne could be observed soaking up whatever the coaching staff was

offering in terms of court education. On one play, she missed a shot from the top of the key and then bolted toward the basket through a group of defenders to grab the rebound and connect with a layup.

"People have to remember Elena is just a freshman and maybe she's even two freshmen because she's playing both the center and guard positions and I have four other newcomers who also have to learn the system," Martin said.

"College is a whole different situation than high school."

Though the media focus is on Delle Donne, the Blue Hens focus is getting everyone to work together.

"People that know the game know you don't get this done overnight. Everyone of my successful teams had to go through a learning process."

At one moment, Delle Donne was asked how much her season a year ago playing volleyball helped improve her already talented basketball skills.

She grinned and said, "It kept me jumping."

For now, Martin continues to do likewise to Delle Donne and the rest of her teammates.

A Guide to Beth and Debbie or Debbie and Beth.

Through the last two years a growing number of women's fans has began listening to the Shootaround podcast hosted by broadcasters Debbie Antonelli and Beth Mowins that is supported by the Women's Basketball Coaches Assocition (WBCA).

The podcast can be found on I-Tunes and downloaded into the music library or continued on to I-Pods and I-Phones.

Last winter the Guru finally caught up with the show, downloaded it into his device, and then played the podcast through his car radio while driving around.

This week, the broadcasts seem to be even better in that the stereo output gives the feel that Beth and Debbie are separately on the speakers of the automobile device.

Anyhow, a week the WBCA announced a preview of a new season beginning with the Southeastern Conference.

This week when the Guru went lurking in the I-Tunes library -- he didnt recall any advance notice or multi-notice a week ago -- he discovered a whole bunch of other conference previews -- Big East, Atlantic Ten, ACC,Pac-10, Big-10, Big-12 and Mountain West.

After downloading and exporting the podcasts to his I-Pod, he noticed something technology smart also frightening as executed bhy the duo.

As the ACC podcast began, the opening sounded familiar.  In fact, it seemed a duplicate of the SEC opening, which made the Guru wonder whether he hit the right podcast.

Then, as daylight began to seep out of the darkness (in more ways than one), the Guru realized what had occurred.

The first two segments are national in scope as is the final portion of each podcast. The third segment is conference specific.

Now the Guru is discussing this as a public service to the shootaround audience.

If there is interest in just one specific conference preview, no problem.

But for the info-glutens such as Helen, one of the outstanding contributors to the womenshoops site,the repetition can become maddening.

So, here's the Guru's tip how to streamline the whole thing.

First, take one conference preview of choice.

Then download the others as desired.

Once in your I-Tines library, go to the tab in each podcast that allows you to edit the start and stop time.

Make the ensuing conference previews kick-in at the 13-minute mark. That will allow you to go straight to each conference in-depth discussion without hearing the opening national intros repeatedly.

Once Beth and Debbie or Debbie and Beth go to the break, you can go on to the next conference podcast because the final segment is also a national segment that would be rehashed (begins approximately at the 9-minute remaining mark).

Of course, one can leave it all alone and just have that much longer to be in the company of the duo until the regular season podcasts begin.

                                   Attention Division II and Division III Locals!

 The folks at the ongoing Philadelphia Small College Luncheons throughout the season want to add bi-weekly player awards for Division II, III and junior college women's teams, according to Nate Ware, the president of the small coaches coaches association.

  Plaques will be given and each recipient is requested to be accompanied by her coach or SID.

Yes,the Guru agreed to be part of the process. Details will be revealed shortly.

                                      Local Division I Openers

The Guru on Friday night will be at Drexel for the Penn State game (7 p.m.) to lead a print roundup for the sports section and from the DAC will add reports on the other three Friday night openers: Illinois at Temple (7 p.m.), Loyola, Md. (coached by former St. Joe assistant Joe Logan) at La Salle, and St. Joseph's at New Hampshire.

Many nights this blog will extend the reports that will be limited in space due to print.

That's it for now. Got some transcribing to do.

-- 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 Philly.com. 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 poll416@gmail.com.

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
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