By Mel Greenberg
St. Joseph's still needs to win the Atlantic 10 tournament at this point in time to get to the Big Dance.
However, after Britany Ford's game-winning shot Sunday that gave the Hawks a win at Richmond, coach Cindy Griffin's team could be on the floor somewhere to the beat of someone's music when March Madness arrives.
The reason is an expanded universe in the postseason. The WNIT is going to field an exapnded 64 teams, while a new event _ the Women's Basketball Invitational from a group out of Milwaukee -- will be running a 16-team event.
The WNIT says it is already talking to teams in this area -- probably seeking Temple if the Owls don't make the NCAA field -- as well as Delaware and Drexel, whose fate will be known after the Colonial Athletic Association slamdown concludes.
But the Hawks are now a factor at this hour because they have a shot to finish fourth in the Atlantic 10 with a two-game sweep this week of Massachusetts on the road Thursday and Duquesne at home Sunday.
Fourth place means a bye and maybe a win in the quarterfinals. That's the good news. But the bad news is the fun could end there in terms of NCAA hopes if St. Joseph's runs into No. 6, soon to be No. 5?, Xavier in the semifinals.
On the other hand, Ford was on the way to showing great promise her freshman season when she keyed an upset of George Washington and a near-upset of host Xavier in the conference title game.
So anything is possible.
Temple travels to Richmond Wednesday and finishes at home Saturday against George Washington needing a win to get at least third place to have a shot at advancing to the conference title game.
Meanwhile, the CAA offered another day of entertainment in a conference that isn't getting much notice but might have more teams worthy of NCAA play than some of the so-called BCS conferences.
Drexel rallied from a 16-point deficit in the second half, only to lose in the final two seconds in overtime in an upset by Hofstra that put the Dragons' efforts on hold to lock up a bye. They fell into a second-place tie with Virginia Commonwealth but have the tie-break for No. 2 because of a season-sweep.
Gabriela Marginean had 31 points to bring her total to 2,461, just 30 points short of passing former Philadelphia U. star Tammy Greene who has 2,490 points in the mid-1990s for the record in the area for all combined divisions.
Drexel could have moved into a first-place tie with Old Dominion, which lost at home to James Madison, the host of the CAA tournament for the second straight year.
Delaware won at William & Mary as Elena Delle Donne scored 24 points and set a season-scoring record for the Blue Hens.
Her 54-point performance Thursday night was better than a slew of schools in single games in the last week.
One of them was Rutgers, which got waxed by Syracuse, 76-45, at home Sunday.
No question things look desperate for the Scarlet Knights in the NCAA scenario. They have no signature wins, though one more chance comes when No. 22 St. John's visits Wednesday night.
But if that should fail, they may still be alive by default. If they can extend themselves in the Big East tournament, it could be that they will fall on the last cut decisions for at-large bids and could back into a slot. Of course, this is based on a small bubble and not many wrong winners, so to speak, in conference tournaments.
Three pieces of noteworthy poll news are on the horizon waiting for Monday's relase by the Associated Press.
If Xavier moves to No. 5 it will be the first time an Atlantic 10 team has been in the top five since former member Penn State was No. 1 in the final poll of 1990-91 just before the Nittany Lions left the conference for the Big 10.
It will also be the first time a mid-major has been in the top five since Louisiana Tech early in the 2001-02 season, though BCS terminiology for the women did not exist at the time.
Connecticut and Stanford will make it 16 straight weeks at 1-2, eclipsing the 1-2 of UConn and North Carolina -- remember them? -- for the first 15 weeks of several seasons ago.
Georgetown might move into the Top 10, a first, off its upset of Notre Dame, who were No. 4. If the Irish stay above 11th, the Big East may have four teams in the Top 10.
That said, it's time to wrap up and wait for Monday's updates.