PHILADELPHIA, PA 3/22/21012 – The season has come to an end for the Temple Owls women’s basketball team as the Orange of Syracuse got a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds from center Kayla Alexander beating Temple 82 – 68. Temple stayed competitive throughout, but the size of Orange proved to be too much as they pulled away at the end. The Temple run in the WNIT came to its conclusion.
“This is a disappointing loss for us,” said Temple Coach Tonya Cardoza. “We expected to go all the way and win this thing. We came out on the losing end. They were just too much for us to handle especially inside. We didn’t have an answer for their big kid (Alexander). And we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities when we did have them.”
Syracuse forced Temple into shooting 25 – 74 (33.8%) and 9 of 22 from beyond the arc (40.9%). On offense Syracuse went inside to Alexander for which the Owls had no answer. Syracuse had a 42 – 26 points in the paint advantage. The Orange went inside and never let the Owls get a run on offense. Cardoza felt the size was the difference.
“It was big on both ends of the floor,” Cardoza said. “Their guards are long and disruptive in their zone. When you think there is an opening, they collapse on you quickly. You have to shoot the ball well, and we didn’t shoot the ball well.”
Temple trailed 33 – 32 at halftime on a halfcourt buzzer beater by Senior guard Shey Peddy. Senior guard Kristen McCarthy gave Temple a lead at the start of the second half. The teams traded baskets with the Owls holding a 43 – 42 lead on two free throws by Sophomore forward Nikki Works with 14:50 to play. Syracuse put together a 14 – 3 run over the next four and a half minutes to move in front 56 – 46. Temple would get no closer than six the rest of the way. Alexander and forward Iasia Hemingway scored 22 of the 26 points the Orange put on the board from that point on.
Peddy scored 20 points to lead the Owls. McCarthy added 11 and pulled down 10 rebounds. Junior center Victoria Macaulay had 11 points and Works added 10. Senior guard B.J. Williams was credited with 6 assists. For Syracuse guard Carmen Tyson-Thomas had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Hemingway scored 13 and guard Elasher Hall contributed 11 points. Guard Rachel Coffey dished out 8 assists.
The season not only ended for the Temple team. It also ended the college careers of Shey Peddy, Kristen McCarthy, and B.J. Williams. Cardoza felt this senior class was one of the best in program history.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group in what they were able to do over the number of years they have been here,” said Cardoza. “It is going to be hard to replace them with the effort and passion they play with. I know there is a brighter future down the road for all of them.”
Peddy leaves as the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. She can look back on her accomplishments one day in the future.
“I guess so,” said a disappointed Peddy. “Right now it’s hard to think about it, but when the feeling goes away I can look back on what we have done for this university, and be proud.”
McCarthy has been a great scorer for Temple scoring in double figures 25 times this season recording six double-doubles.
“It hasn’t hit me yet, but as the time wound down it shocked me that I would not be wearing a Temple jersey again,” said McCarthy, a four-year senior. “You never think that moment will come, but I enjoyed my time at Temple. I took a chance coming all the way from California, but I give nothing but thanks for this opportunity.”
Williams is the distributor that leads the team in assists with 157 for the season, 367 for her career.
“B.J. is the one that doesn’t get a much credit as these two (Peddy and McCarthy),” said Cardoza. “She has been the glue that holds us together. She has grown and matured into a leader. It is great to see because she actually wants to coach. She is an unsung hero because she doesn’t get the attention.”
The other senior who did not play was Joelle Connelly. She scored her career-high 16 points against Penn earlier this season.
Temple finishes with a 23 – 10 record. The seniors will remember what the university has done for them more than the record.
“We appreciate everything this university has done for us, and the support means a lot,” McCarthy said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian