PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/8/2013 – Temple Owls have been waiting to play a game like this all season. It was the ability to do little things that Coach Tonya Cardoza has been preaching all season long. When that all came together 10th seed Temple earned 52 – 45 win over the 7 seed Xavier Musketeers in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 Women’s Tournament. The formula was to
play aggressive defense, generate offense from defense, and play together.
“I’m asking them (the team) to do the little things,” said Cardoza. “All season long if we had done the little things, it would have been different. I’m glad they banded together, and decided amongst themselves to do the little things. Then make sure we took advantage of the opportunity.”
“We played good basketball, and if we just paid more attention, and would bear down a little more, and were a little tougher, we’d give ourselves a better shot.”
Turnovers have been problematic for Temple this season. Games would slip away as a result, but not in this game. The Owls won the turnover battle, not by much 20 – 18, and had a 22 – 17 edge in points off turnovers. The defensive intensity allowed the Cherry and White to stretch an 8-point halftime lead into a 40 – 25 advantage with 13:02 on the clock behind a 17 – 5. Xavier was held scoreless from the 18:07 mark until Musketeer guard Ashley Wanninger made a three-pointer with 12:37 on the clock. In that span Temple forced 5 Xavier turnovers. The Owls had five different players score in the run. Temple played together as a team. Xavier could not mount a run to get back into the game as they did not get back to back baskets until there was just over 6 minutes to play. In the game Temple was credited with 14 steals.
“We knew that we had this within us, and we picked the right time to do it,” Cardoza said. “This is a great win for us, and a confidence booster.”
Sophomore guard Ratkeska Brown led the Owls in scoring with a game-high 14 points making 4 beyond the arc. Brown also had a career-high tying 6 steals. Senior center Victoria Macaulay notched her 12th double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Junior forward Natasha Thames added 1o points. Wanninger led Xavier with 13 points.
Macaulay and Thames did the job on defense holding the Xavier front line of Jessica Pachko and Amber Gray to 15 points and 6 rebounds. The Cherry and White pulled down 38 rebounds to 30 for Xavier. 16 rebounds were off the offensive glass as Temple put in 13 second chance points to 9 for Xavier.
All the small details went in the direction of the Owls. They played the game Cardoza felt they could play, although she wondered why it took so long to happen. As a result Temple advances to the quarterfinal round and a game against second seeded Charlotte. Temple has earned another game, something the players want.
“I want another game, and another game,” said Macaulay. “We don’t want it to end, not yet.”
Charlotte is the next step. Will there be one after that for Temple?
“If we do the little things, let’s see what will happen,” Cardoza said.
Little things mean a lot.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
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