Thursday, April 2, 2015

Guru's News and Muse: Leslie's Post-WNBA Tour Comes To Philly

The Guru interrupts what will be a loooong blog to apologize for some glitch that never put the content into the previous post headline about Lisa Leslie Don't fear because all will be re-addressed here with new content. The Guru is curious, though,whether it was a link from somewhere or the new-look web page that caused his daily number to shoot up since there's been nothing new until today.

Guru's News and Muse: Leslie's Post-WNBA Tour Comes To Philly

The Guru interrupts what will be a loooong blog to apologize for some glitch that never put the content into the previous post headline about Lisa Leslie Don't fear because all will be re-addressed here with new content. The Guru is curious, though,whether it was a link from somewhere or the new-look web page that caused his daily number to shoot up since there's been nothing new until today.

Also, attention those who need to know spread the word. The AP marching orders to voters has arrived and the preseason AP poll will be released, in the earliest date ever on Oct. 30, which may occur BEFORE the world series is over. This begins season 34 and hopefully the people now working on the Guru's primary laptop will rescue the Guru's poll history files. Won't know for the next two weeks. OK, now on with the blog.

By Mel Greenberg

 Less than a month following former WNBA star Lisa Leslie's entrance into retirement, the three-time Olympic gold medalist will be visiting Philadelphia Friday with a different purpose than in the past when she was usually in town to visit her longtime friend and Olympic teammate Dawn Staley.

Leslie, who starred at Southern Cal in college, will speak at a luncheon at Thomas Jefferson University, about the fight against liver cancer. The native of Los Angeles is visiting hospitals across the country in that cause.

She lost her stepfather two months after a diagnosis in December, 2001, that he was in Stage III of primary liver cancer.

Leslie's illustrious career officially ended when the Sparks lost to the eventual WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury in the Western Conference final's deciding Game 3.

Speaking of Staley, who now is in her second season coaching at South Carolina following an eight-year run at Temple, she apparently has leared a little marketing along the way.

On Thursday, 24 hours in advance of the official beginning of fall practice, Staley hosted a 32-team 3-on-3 tipoff tournament on campus for Gamecock students.

Spectators were treated to free food and drinks while the coaching staff did some commentating on the competition.

  The final will be played at halftime of the season-opener against Penn State abd Staley will pick up to tab for the winning team's books for the spring semester.

                  Jimmy V Dinner and Auction

    The Gur was in New York Wednesday night for the annual ESPN-hosted Jimmy V event named for the foundation and late North Carolina State men's coach Jim Valvano, who was a victim of cancer.

   Rutgers will again be a host of the women's game against Florida, while during Jimmy V week on the network, Indiana will meet Pittsburgh and Georgetown will meet Butler in a doubleheader at Madison Square Garden.

   Scarlet Knights coach C. Vivian Stringer, inducted last month into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., gave a short and eloquent presentation about fighting the disease, herself being a breast cancer survivor.

  She gave a short list of statistics of what has been lost from last year's team through roster departures, attempting to give some comfort to Florida coach Amanda Butler. However, Stringer promised her team would finish strong by the end of the season.

  Butler, a southerner, perhaps had the funniest line of the night in the crowd of New Yorkers, saying, "I guess yu can tell from the few sentences I have spoken, I am not part of your family."

                                  CAA Cites Drexel's Marginean and Delaware Duo

     The Collonial Athletic Association earlier this week announced its 25-member silver anniversary team and reigning CAA player of the year Gabriella Marginean of Drexel, a senior, is the only current player in the group.

   Former Delaware stars Tiara Malcom, now a Blue Hens assistant coach, and Tyresa Smith were also named to the team righfully dominated by Old Dominion, which had 11 players named.

    The Monarchs had won every CAA tournament since joining the conference before Drexel on the way to a title eliminated them in last season's semifinal.

   JamesMadison placed five players, while Richmond, now with the Atlantic 10 but a CAA winner prior to ODU's entrance, placed Pam Bryant Jordan on the squad.

   Here's the list:

       Meredith Alexis (James Madison), Mery Andrade (Old Dominion), Kristine Austgulen (VCU), Sydney Beasley (James Madison), Lucienne Berthieu (Old Dominion), Sylvia Bragg (East Carolina), Pam Bryant (Richmond), Monique Coker (Old Dominion), Natalie Diaz (Old Dominion), Shareese Grant (Old Dominion), Tonya Hargrove (East Carolina), Alisa Harris (James Madison), Celeste Hill (Old Dominion), Quanitra Hollingsworth (VCU), Floretta Jackson (James Madison), T.J. Jordan (Old Dominion), Kyra Kaylor (William and Mary), Clarisse Machanguana (Old Dominion), Hamchetou Maiga (Old Dominion), Tiara Malcom (Delaware), Gabriela Marginean (Drexel), Ticha Penicheiro (Old Dominion), Nyree Roberts (Old Dominion), Tyresa Smith (Delaware) and Tamera Young (James Madison).

     A panel of current and former coaches made the picks.

    While a coach of the team was not named, that honor should go to Old Dominion's Wendy Larry with Delaware's Tina Martin, and James Madison's Kenny Brooksand former coach Sheila Moorman as assistants.

   The group includes 17 former CAA players of the year, including Marginean's honor of last seasaon, 10 all-Americans and nine players drafted by the WNBA.

     One sign of how the conference has grown is the number of recent players named such as James Madison's Tamera Young and Virginia Commonwealth's Quanitra Hollingsworth.

    If she former national high school player of the year Elena Delle Donne, who resumes her basketball career as a red-shirt freshman on Friday, lives up to her pre-college hype, she most likely will be on the 30th anniversary team a year after her proiected expiration of eligibility.

   Delle Donne, of course, orginally accepted a scholarship from Connecticut, left after less than 48 hours on campus a year ago for the start of summer school, enrolled at Delaware near her home and played volleyball last season, saying she had lost her passion for the sport, where she had been acclaimed since the ninth grade.

  Upon announcing her return in June, she said she now understood it wasn't the lost passion as a cause but a serious case of home sickness.

                                       Geno cvs. Geno

     Speaking of UConn., with Huskies coach Geno Auriemma heading the Olympic squad for 2012 which has a slew of his former and some current players on the roster, the Guru would like to see an exhibition game between that group and UConn where Auriemma could coach against himself taking each team for a half.

   And here's a thought as the season gets under way, although most likely not to happen, if Connecticut goes unbeaten into the Big East tournament, it's mathematically possible the Huskies could meet Villanova after a NCAA-record tying 70th straight win.

  That was the number the Huskies reached in 2003 before Villanova ended the run with a stunning upset in the Bg East title game. Diana Taurasi and company, however, recovered to win the second of three-straight NCAA titles.

                                        New Big East Hire

       In recent years there has been jokes in Knoxville about the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame's hire in 2006 of Karen Tucker as director of programs. She had been a beat writer covering the Huskies and the WNBA's Connecticut Sun before taking the job in the home of arch-UConn rival Tennessee.

     Well, maybe now the player-to-be named later in the deal to go up North has been picked.

   The Big East on Thursday annouced the hire of Danielle Donehew to a new position of associate commissioner of the conference for women's basketball. She had been executive director of the new WNBA Atlanta Dream the last two seasons.

    But before that Donohew was an assistant athletic director at Tennessee and is a former start at GeorgiaTech.

     At the Conference office, Donehew will be assuming duties relating to the oversight and management of all aspects of BIG EAST Women’s Basketball including television, scheduling, branding and messaging as well as management of the Conference championship.
 

     -- 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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