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Ten Best Local (City) D-I Women's Games in 2009

By Mel Greenberg

Taking a cue and operating under the rules of Jonathan (must be calendar year), here are the top 10 women's games produced by the city Division I teams in 2009 -- though replaceable ones loom this week right into Duke-Temple on New Year's Eve. Some dates aren't listed below because the Guru forgot to scribble them and he is writing live into the blog and we know what happens if we accidentally go elsewhere on the internet with an open file, don't we?

Drexel swept the top three spots because of the notoriety caused by all three of those contests.

1. Mar. 14 -- Drexel 62-41 over Old Dominion. Must start here. Though the Dragons had routed the Monarchs during the regular season, the win here in the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals ended ODU's 17-year perfect run through the conference tournament.

2. Mar. 15 -- Drexel 64-58 over James Madison. In winning a first-ever game in Harrisonburg, Va., the Dragons maintained composure off the previous day's win to take the CAA and first-ever bid to the NCAA tournament. Some will argue this should be No. 1 but this can't happen until the ODU game was handled first.

3. Feb. 26 -- Drexel 74-69 over Va. Commonwealth. The Dragons roared back to beat the Rams, break a first-place deadlock to go on to win the CAA regular-season title outright after handling Towson the next time out.

4. Mar. 8 -- Villanova 58-47 over Notre Dame. In beating the No. 5 Irish in the Big East quarterfinals, the Wildcats wrapped up a certain NCAA at-large bid in Hartford, Conn.

5. Temple 74-65 over No. 13 Xavier. The upset in the Liacouras Center helped the spur the Owls on the road back from oblivion and provide momentum towards another NCAA at-large bid. It also made first-ever coach Tonya Cardoza the first Temple coach in any sport to beat a ranked team in their inaugural season.

5. Temple 59-49 over George Washington. If there was any doubt about the Owls' postseason NCAA prospects, Temple finished eradicating the naysayers with a win in the nation's capital that completed a sweep of the top four teams in the Atlantic Ten across the final weeks of the regular season.

6. Jan. 24 -- Villanova 55-48 over Notre Dame. The Irish were No. 13 when the Wildcats posted an upset -- though a better one was still to come in the second meeting -- in the Pavilion to start a seven-game spurt in the powerful Big East that helped make Harry Perretta the conference coach of the year.

7. Feb. 14 -- Villanova 50-46 over DePaul. The Valentine Day massacre came at the end of the run and put the Wildcats into the national discussion to stay among bracketologists forecasting NCAA postseason prospects.

8. St. Joseph's over Richmond 70-42. This is really a stand-in because the Hawks' triple-overtime Big Five win agaisnt Villanova in the front part of the season was better and enabled St. Joseph's to go on to share the City Series title with Temple. But this win was one of the better ones after the New Year, coming against one of the upper teams in the Atlantic 10.

9. Jan. 11 Temple over St. Joseph's. (missing score). A narrow win in the Hawks' temporary Gallagher Center home at Philadelphia U. (the Hagan Arena was under construction) helped ensure that the Owls could at least tie for the Big Five title and keep the run alive until Villanova snapped the string last week.

10. Feb. 12 -- Drexel 67-55 over Old Dominion. If the rules were different, La Salle's season-opening win in overtime at Villanova would be here. So this is as good as any to make the list because it helped establish the Dragons as the new power in the conference, though overtime wins against William and Mary, as well as Northeastern, also were factors that kept Drexel's school-record 16-game win streak alive.

-- Mel