Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Guru Report: West Chester's Deirdre Kane Approaches A Milestone

(Update: Current UConn No. 1 streak 28 not 27 in lower item posted Tuesday)

Guru Report: West Chester's Deirdre Kane Approaches A Milestone


(Update: Current UConn No. 1 streak 28 not 27 in lower item posted Tuesday)

By Mel Greenberg

In the overall history of women's basketball in the modern era, West Chester University in suburban Philadelphia is a place of major significance.

It was here that the late coach Carol Eckman, a Women's Basketball Hall of Famer, put together the first national tournament consisting of just colleges in 1969, lighting a path that led to post-season tournaments in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and then the NCAA.

It is place that former Queens mentor Lucille Kyvallos taught and that Immaculate coach Cathy Rush and Connecticut's Geno Auriemma, both Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers, went to school.

And it is a place in which current Golden Rams coach Deirdre Kane can reach her 400th career victory as earely as Wednesday night when West Chester visits Philadelphia University's Gallagher Center at 6 p.m .

Ironically, the gentleman on the other bench standing in the way is coach Tom Shirley, who needs just 21 victories himself to reach the 600 milestone.

As fate would have it, the two shared a table in late September at the retirement dinner for the Dept. of Recreation's David Kessler, who had been the longtime commissioner of the NCAA Women's Summer League in Northeast Philadelphia.

Kane had a brief stint as an assistant at Penn but 23 of her 26 seasons as a head coach where she has won five Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division titles.

She is currently 16th of the NCAA Division II list with a 399-289 record and her 182 PSAC wins are more than any other coach in the East Division.

Kane is a 1976 graduate of Dayton, earning the first women's athletic scholarship from the Flyers, who made news Monday with Dayton's first-ever ranking in The Associated Press women's poll.Jim Jabir is the current coach.

She starred at Paul IV in South Jersey, leading the team as its captain to a state title in 1972.

We'll see more once Kane reaches the magic number, put the Guru wanted you on alert.

Speaking of Dayton and AP Trivia

The Flyers' arrival in the poll made them the 147th team to earn a ranking since the 1976-77 launch and Jabir is the 230th coach to join the club of leading a team into the voting spotlight.

Dayton entered at No. 25.

Meanwhile, at the top of the list where Connecticut contines to dominate, the Huskies's current streak of No. 1 rankings reached 28, which is third all-time moving just ahead of Texas, which was first for 26 weeks from Jan. 27th 1985 until Dec. 9, 1986.

Believe it or not, the team in front of Connecticut is an earlier version of Auriemma's succeess story when the Huskies went 30 straight weeks from the preseason poll of 1999-2000 -- a time that resulted in NCAA title No. 2 in Philadelphia -- until Jan. 15 2001 when Notre Dame moved ahead.

Auriemma recently earned his 700th career victory on Friday night, while the Irish's Muffett McGraw, a former St. Joseph's star and Big Five Hall of Famer, recently passed her 500th victory.

The all-time mark is 36 straight, which was a wire-to-wire run over two consecutive seasons by Louisiana Tech fron the first vote of 1980-81 until the final poll of 1981-82.

More to Come in the Next 24 hours

-- 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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