Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stone Hands and Delle Donne's Shot Give Temple and Delaware Wins

By Mel Greenberg

Stone Hands and Delle Donne's Shot Give Temple and Delaware Wins

By Mel Greenberg

Temple and Delaware were slipping, slipping, into the past Tuesday night at separate road stops when both were rescued from galling defeats.

The Owls (7-1) rallied in the last two minutes to beat host Hampton 54-51 in Hampton, Va., as senior Jasmine Stone ensured a much happier bus ride back to Philadelphia with career highs of 15 points and 19 rebounds.

"We didn't shoot the ball very well but Jasmine came to play and without her we don't win the game," Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said. "It is certainly great having her the entire way this season."

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Stone had been sidelined the previous starts of the last two seasons satisfying NCAA eligibility requirements. But eaqch time she worked her way back to help Temple in the Atlantic 10 portion of the schedule. Now, her efforts are helping the Owls, who dropped the Pirates to 2-5, appearing on everyone's early speculation lists as to who are the best bets for at-large NCAA bids if conference titles and resulting automatic bids aren't obtained.

"Even in our Rutgers win, Jasmine may not have had big statistics but her presence on the floor was a major factor for us," Cardoza said.

The crowd at the Hampton game included many hometown friends and family of Temple assistant coach Waynetta Veyney who recently taught the Guru how to use the chat application on facebook.

Temple next hosts Ohio U. Thursday night at the Liacouras Center. The Owls then visit Kent State Saturday, host Villanova Nov. 20, and after the holidays visit Akron Dec. 28 before a New Year's Eve afternoon visit from Duke.

Delle Donne Delights

It was once a moment that Connecticut fans once envisioned when Wilmington's Elena Delle Donne originally committed to the Huskies in September 2008 prior to her senior season at Ursuline Academy where she went on to become the national girls high school player of the year.

The Big East title or an NCAA game is on the line in the closing seconds and the 6-5 versatile player throws down a shot just before the buzzer to come to the rescue.

However, her last-minute decision to stay home and enroll and at nearby Delaware precluded that setting, though Maya Moore is all the rescue personnel UConn needs in many situations.

But on Tuesday night up in Orono Maine, Delle Donne performed in the manner of all expectations with a jumper with 1.1 seconds left to give the Blue Hens (4-3) a win over Maine (2-5) in a grueling confrontation.

Posting her third double double of the season in five games -- she recently missed two due to a right ankle sprain -- Delle Donne finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds.

"It was a pretty rough game, definitely some ups and downs," Delle Donne said afterwards in quotes transmitted in the Delaware game report. "I had not doubt we were going to get the win. My teammates set screens to get me open, and I was able to get the shot off."

To an extent, the physical play will be beneficial in the long run for Delaware as the type of confrontation it will face against certain teams in the Colonial Athletic Association, let alone the NCAA tournament if the Blue Hens find their way to the Big Dance.

"I'll tell you what -- it was one of the most physical games we've played all year," Delaware coach Tina Martin said. "Everytime someone went to the basket, it was very physical."

Delle Donne scored the final five points in the closing seconds after the Blue Hens trailed the Black Bears.

"We got a couple of good looks late in the game, but they weren't going in," Martin said of some Blue Hens frustration. "At the end, we got the screens we needed. The shot dropped -- Elena carried us tonight. Jocelyn Bailey set a great screen, and Elena stepped through two defenders to get the shot off."

Incidentally, UMBC coach Phil Stern, in Sunday's game story in the Wilmington News-Journal after Saturday's win by Delaware, said of Delle Donne: "It's a joke she's playing at this level. She is one of the top three players in the country."

The last time Delle Donne appeared in a Delaware uniform at a campus complex named for the Carpenter family, it was on the other side of Newark as a member of the CAA-champion volleyball team on which she made the all-conference freshman squad a year ago.

On Friday night, she'll be in a different building in the Bob Carpenter Center, where she helped Ursuline win several state high school titles in front of sellout crowds.

The Blue Hens, after seven road games, finally make their home debut and will remain there Sunday when La Salle visits at 1 p.m.

"Our kids and the coaching staff, we're all tired of playing on the road," Martin said.

Noteworthy Elsewhere in the Area.

George Washington wasn't involved in the battle for bragging rights near Trenton, Tuesday night, but

Princeton (6-2)  continued to do damage with a rally against host Rider (1-7) in Lawrenceville, N.J.

Tigers freshman Niveen Rasheed matched her career high with 21 points and added 10 rebounds.

"She competes," Princeton coach Courtney Banghart said. "She obviously loves the game and what you are seeing is a true competitor, and a kid that will always have a special place in any program."

Addie Micir had 21 points in a game in which Rider bolted to a 21-9 lead.

"..It showed maturity that we can play from behind," Banghart said. I was pleased with a pretty balanced attack from our first five."

Rider visits Penn Saturday afternoon at The Palestra where new Quakers coach Mike McLaughlin is still looking for her first victory after seven games.

Northwestern coach Joe McKeown, the former George Washington coach who is a graduate of Father Judge as is McLaughlin, said after Saturday's win over the Quakers in Evanston, Ill.: "Penn is going to be OK down the road. They really ran some nice stuff and they played hard."

Though McLaughlin is no longer at Division II Holy Family in Northeast Philadelphia, the Tigers (4-1) continue to win.

They opened play in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Conference Tuesday night with a 74-58 win over host Wilmington (2-4) in Delaware as Catherine Carr scored 24 points.

Earlier in the day, Carr became the first female winner of the Sam Cozen player of the week award given out by the Philadelphia Small College Coaches Association.

           Looking Ahead

St. Joseph's is at Villanova on the Main Line Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in a reunion of two teams that went into triple overtime last season before the Hawks after the teams were tied 43-43 in regulation.

Unfortunately, there are no nearby cheesesteak sandwich places near by like last year for the Guru to run to and get a snack between baskets.

It is not known yet if center Ashley Logue will return after missing the last game because of a concussion.

Prairie View A&M, coached by former WNBA star and Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, visits Rutgers Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.

A year ago the same visitors rallied in the second half, putting the Scarlet Knights in a tentative situation before Rutgers emerged at the finish.

Friday besides the Delaware game, which should have a large crowd, Villanova will host Binghamton.

      Reeve Praised by Former Boss

New York Liberty coach Anne Donovan checked in soon after former La Salle star Cheryl Reeve was named the new coach of the WNBA Liberty on Tuesday.

 Reeve, a native of Sewell, across the Delaware River in South Jersey, is a graduate of Washington Township High. The former Detroit Shock assistant was also an aide to Donovan when the two were at the former Charlotte Sting franchise in North Carolina.

"I'm excited that Cheryl's gotten this opportunity," Donovan said. "She's put in a lot of time and a lot of work and has had so much in the league and has been an integral part of the Shock's success through the years and through the championships, so I'm excited for her to get the opportunity in Minnesota. I know she'll do a great job."

-- 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 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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