For a moment, Denise Dillon’s voice caught in her throat. The question put to Drexel’s women’s basketball coach Saturday afternoon had been unfair, asking her to sum up four years of a career for the Dragons player sitting next to her.
Did Dillon know what she was getting four years ago?
“We knew we were going to put a lot on Bailey Greenberg," Dillon said, Greenberg next to her inside the Daskalakis Athletic Center. “The response has been an absolute pleasure … It’s hard to imagine that time is coming to an end.”
Cue, voice catching. Dillon recovered in a heartbeat.
“I just appreciate everything she does for this university,’’ Drexel’s coach said. “It’s on and off the court. We’ve got some work to continue to do.”
The Dragons had just cut down a net, symbolic of their share of a Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title, after surviving Saturday’s battle with College of Charleston, 72-60. Greenberg hadn’t been on fire. She just got her usual 17 points. She averages 17 points, after averaging 17 points last season, when she was CAA player of the year.
In some ways, Greenberg is this luxury item, the kind that good teams need. This player may do this and that player could do that. Just put Greenberg down for her share, both ends of the court.
You show up at a game earlier this season and write a single page of Greenberg first-half notes: “Jumps center … shoots a three up top … posts-up … crashes boards … plays back of the press … moves the ball … cuts to hoop ready to catch and shoot … fills the lane on fastbreak … fakes a dribble, hits elbow jumper.”
She plays the game of basketball, fully. That earlier one wasn’t even a big game for Greenberg, just an average game, won by the Dragons.
What’s just ahead … Drexel is the top seed in the CAA tournament, after sharing first place with James Madison, after each demolished the other on their homecourts, but now are headed for neutral ground in Elon, N.C.
“It’s huge," Greenberg said of the next step. “We got our first goal. On to the next."
When your father Chip averaged almost 17 points a game as a La Salle senior (1985-86) and your aunt Kelly set La Salle school records for career and game assists and your great uncle Charles played for La Salle’s 1954 national championship team and your grandfather Joe also had played for the Explorers in the ‘40s, there were certain expectations, and some probably included playing for La Salle.
“My mom went to Drexel," Bailey pointed out, after explaining that her dad knew where she was headed as the recruiting process moved along, that Market Street provided the fit she was looking for.
Fair to say Bailey Greenberg rises to the top of the Greenberg list in terms of college accomplishments? Chip Greenberg said he thought that’s more than fair. He figures that years from now, Bailey, Drexel’s third all-time leading scorer, will be pretty high on Drexel’s list of top players.
“I can’t say that," Bailey’s dad said. “I’m way, way, way, way down the list at La Salle.”
Again, this was not merely the Greenberg Show Saturday. Aubree Brown, her senior teammate, is a guard with a superior sense of the court, a second point guard, second in the CAA in assists. Junior point guard Hannah Nihill had four steals and eight assists and somehow led Drexel with five rebounds, and those weren’t just balls bounding out to her. She went inside and scrapped for them, ignoring the usual facts and expectations about her 5-feet, 3 inches. Sophomore guard Keishana Washington hit a lot of Saturday’s biggest shots, finishing with 18 points in 27 minutes, and a +/- of 24 befitting her importance.
“Sophomore and junior year, I had to do a lot more of the scoring," Greenberg said. “This year, it’s been a really great evolving role, because I don’t have to be the one to do it.”