When Temple and Saint Joseph’s meet on the court every possession means something. Nine of the last ten games between these teams have been decided by seven points or less with two games going into overtime. Both of last year’s games were one-possession games. This season Temple wins by 53 – 43 at the Liacouris Center. Turnovers and defense told a large part of the story for the Owls.
“I thought our team came out and did a great job for us defensively,” Temple Coach Tonya Cardoza said. “Staying on them and not allowing them to get easy looks, we could force some turnovers. The pressure affected them a little bit.”
Saint Joseph’s committed 17 turnovers that resulted in a 17 – 10 edge for Temple. The Owls defended the three-point line as the Hawks were 0 – 8 from distance. Temple did not fare much better making 1 of 13 from beyond the arc. But a 7-point edge in points off turnovers and 3 from deep equals 10 points which was the differential.
“It’s always a low scoring game and we didn’t take care of the ball well enough,” Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin said. “That was truly the difference.”
The contest was tight as predicted. The Owls, who never trailed, led 17 – 14 with 8:04 to play in the first half. Temple went on an 11 – 4 run to take a 28 – 18 halftime lead. In the second half the Cherry and White scored 10 of the first 14 points of the half. Temple led 38 – 22 at the 13:39 mark.
Saint Joseph’s began their comeback closing the gap to 43 – 38 with 6:16 on the clock. Temple answered behind a 3-Point play and two free throws by Junior Guard Shey Peddy to get the lead back to double-figures. Peddy scored a game-high 19 points and had 5 steals.
Defensively, Temple held Saint Joseph’s leading scorers Junior Guard Michele Baker to 4 points and Junior Guard Katie Kuester to 2 points, both on foul shots. Temple looked to contain the three-point shooting of Kuester.
“We talked about not letting her make threes and not getting shots off,” Cardoza said. “Finding her coming across halfcourt, the shots she did get were far away.”
Griffin knew her team needed the shooting of Kuester and had to make threes to win, but did not.
“It’s very tough,” Griffin said. “We went 0 – 8 from the 3-Point line. We haven’t had a game like that all year. We weren’t getting any looks.”
Junior Forward Kristen McCarthy scored 14 points and she added 11 rebounds. McCarthy made a jump shot with 5:38 in first half to give her 1,000 career points. There was a congratulatory roll-out for McCarthy. She appreciated it, but her goals lie ahead.
“I think it’s a good milestone, but it is something I will look back on,” McCarthy said. “Right now it doesn’t mean much because I am looking for better things. I want to continue to win in the Atlantic 10.”
Saint Joseph’s Junior Forward Samira Van Grinsven and Junior Forward Kelly Cavallo led Saint Joseph’s in scoring with 10 points each. Cavallo pulled down 10 rebounds.
Temple improves to 12 – 6 overall and is 4 – 0 in conference. Saint Joseph’s is 11 – 7 and 1 – 3 in the Atlantic 10. The feathers fly again when the Hawks host the Owls on February 23.
Turning Point of the Game
Temple took their largest lead at 38 – 22 with 13:39 on the clock. Saint Joseph’s began a comeback cutting the gap to 43 – 38 on a Baker jump shot at the 6:16 mark. Peddy answered with a 3-Point play and two free throws to give Temple a 48 – 38 lead, and control of the game. Saint Joseph’s got no closer than 8 points from that point.
Key Stat of the Game
The game was very close statistically. The standout stat was turnovers. Saint Joseph’s committed 17 and Temple had 9. Temple had a 17 – 10 edge in points off turnovers.
Key Players in the Game
For Temple – Guard Shey Peddy who scored a game-high 19 points and 5 steals. Peddy made 6 of 13 from the field and 7 of 8 foul shots. Also noted is Forward Kristen McCarthy who scored her 1,000th career point. McCarthy finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
For Saint Joseph’s – Forward Kelly Cavallo who registered a double-double with 10 points and rebounds.
Point Where the Game Was Decided
With Temple leading by 8 Mc Carthy rebounded a missed jump shot by Peddy. Her offensive rebound and lay up gave the Owls a 51 – 41 lead with 1:11 left to play.
Thoughts and Musings
This game is always a close contest. An Atlantic 10 and Big Five game that means something to each team. Saint Joseph’s leads the all-time series 40 – 30, but Temple has won the last ten straight games. Nine of the last ten games have been decided by seven points or less. Both games last season were one-possession games.
“The five games I’ve been here have been hard-fought and came down to the wire,” Cardoza said.
Cindy Griffin knows this game is meaningful to both teams, and bragging rights are on the line. And this is a local rivalry of players that know each other well.
“I think we’re so familiar with each other,” Griffin said. “These kids play against each other in the summer. You have kids like McCarthy and Wallace who have been through this for three years, and some of our kids are juniors too. I think familiarity and a local team that you always want to do your best against, it means a little more than just an Atlantic 10 game. There is a little more at stake than a simple Atlantic 10 game.”
Many players are not Philadelphians, they may not have grown up with the Big Five, but they have learned what this is about. There is no reason to see the competitiveness of the games to end soon.
Written By: Glenn Papazian