Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Guru Report: WNBA Readying Earth-Shaking News On Monarchs?

By Mel Greenberg

Guru Report: WNBA Readying Earth-Shaking News On Monarchs?

By Mel Greenberg

 The Guru interrupts enhanced coverage of Temple's 62-51 upset of Rutgers to take a brief detour into the world of the pros.

Sometime in the next 24-48 hours (it's 4:30 a.m. in the East) the ultimate fate of the Sacramento Monarchs may be revealed, though it could take a little longer depending on ongoing developments involving the franchise in the land of tremors.

In the most recent episode of the 2005 league champions (missing banners from the Arco Arena aside), the Maloof family had decided to jettison the WNBA sister of the Sacramento Kings to focus more on their NBA property and the WNBA announced negotiations were going on with unidentified persons to move the Monarchs to the Bay Area.

The results of those efforts should be known momentarily because the owners' meetings will be held Thursday in New York -- in fact they all broke bread together Wednesday night while Temple was having the time of its life in nearby Piscataway, N.J., producing another stunner on the Scarlet Knights in the current series that began in 2001.

If tea leaves are to be read, one can speculate that the news of the Monarchs' future may not be promising because by now if a deal was in place leaks would begin flowing in the direction of what is left of newspaper sports departments in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, or one of the 'tweeners.

The owners need to know what the impact is in terms of roster dispersal if the Monarchy is ended. If that is a reality than what is the meaning of 12 besides the new size of the reduced league that lost the fabled Houston Comets a year ago. In an effort to save jobs, will each of the surviving teams be allowed an increase of one from the current 11-player limitation?

As of Wednesday afternoon, none of the owners or Monarchs players had been informed of an outcome and there were indications that several meetings were still to be held.

The league has no planned releases for Thursday. But if bad news is conveyed surely word will travel quickly especially once the Monarchs players begin getting informed and start racing to post information on their twitter and facebook accounts.

If there is another dispersal, another Maryland alum could land on the Washington Mystics if Cheltenham's Laura Harper gets picked by t.

However, if the Monarchs will be allowed to attempt to rule again, other issues that may be discussed is whether the former Detroit-now-Tulsa team stays in the East or moves to West. There could even be a swap with Minnesota shifted East.

On the other hand, , if another vacancy develops there will be a need to a create balance at 6-6 in the two conferences. Surely, Tulsa-Detroit would seem the most likely candidate to move West.

Some coaching rumors could also emerge considering interim tags have yet to be removed in such places as New York, though one would think Anne Donovan would be allowed to continue outright with the Liberty.

And Los Angeles has to fill the slot left from Michael Cooper's departure to the collegiate world at Southern Cal. The Sparks reportedly want to have a new leader in placed by early January.

And now back to the current season.

                                  Temple On a Roll

   It didn't take long for Temple (6-1) to shake off Saturday's loss at Hartford.

   Since the resumption of the series in 2001 of former conference rivals from the days the Scarlet Knights (4-4) competed in the Atlantic Ten, the Owls have been able to enjoy visits to Rutgers' Louis A. Brown Arena more than many teams who have had to contend with the defensive schemes of Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer.

   Temple picked up its third victory Wednesday night in Rutgers' house in the current series and unlike a year ago in Philadelphia during Tonya Cardoza's coaching debut season, the Owls did not let this one get away.

   LaKeisha Eaddy snapped out of a scoring slump with 16 points, while Shaqwedia Wallace added 14 points, Kristen McCarthy scored 12, and freshman Natasha Thames scored 10. Brittany Ray was the lone double-digit scorer for Rutgers, hitting her average of 15 points, though only two of them came in the second half.

Hitting the recent two-game stretch, speculation was Temple might grab a win against Hartford and needed to be at least competitive against Rutgers.

    The projection flipped in reality, which McCarthy said resulted in changes made after the Hartford loss.

    Additionally, it also helped to play well when an NCAA tournament committee member was in the house to do a little on-site inspection of the Owls for future reference as well as the first of several looks at Rutgers.

     Temple already owns a signature win in its opener in overtime, rallying at the Liacouras Center from an 18-point deficit against Illinois, which has since won seven straight.

      There's also a win against Auburn, though the Tigers are not the same team as a year ago but will still feed into Temple's RPI strength.

In fact, if the Owls stay consistent they may continue on a winning stretch into the New Year's Eve encounter with No. 11 Duke in McGonigle Hall and enter the arena with a record of 11-1.

The toughest stretch beginning with the Blue Devils will include road stops at No. 12 Florida State and the Atlantic 10 opener at powerful Xavier, currently ranked ninth, the highest-ever for the Musketeers.

    But then everything is manageable the rest of the way, though Dayton, Charlotte, George Washington and St. Joseph's -- because of the local rivalry with the Hawks -- can't be taken lightly.

   In previous years, Temple had to scramble down the stretch to get into the NCAA tournament as an at-large team after a run capturing A-10 automatic bids.

  If this keeps up, the Owls won't be squirming in their seats on Selection Monday as they were a year ago waiting until their name finally came up on the screen during the ESPN broadcast.

                 Jump shots

      Congratulations to West Chester coach Deirdre Kane for her 400th career victory with the Golden Rams' triumph at Philadelphia University. Penn came its closest yet in producing a first win for coach Mike McLaughlin. The Quakers (0-6) fell to Lafayette, 62-56, at The Palestra. Drexel (3-2) avenged last year's early loss to American with a 50-40 win at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. With super freshman Elena Delle Donne sidelined until at least the weekend due to a sprained right ankle, Delaware (2-3) fell to Columbia, 75-63, in New York.

         More to come and when the news breaks, besides ths blog, your Guru is now drinking the kool-aide he wanted to avoid and twittering at @womhoopsguru while aslso owns a facebook account.

          - Mel

   

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
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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