PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/10/2013 – The Temple Owls believed that their season could be turned around with a run through the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Owls got halfway there, but fell victim to Fordham three-point shooting in the second half losing 66 – 55 to the Fordham Rams. Temple was looking for a spot in the final, but their Atlantic 10 association ends with a loss in the semifinals.
It’s disappointing,”Cardoza said. Obviously we wanted a championship, and the fact that this is our last Atlantic 10 makes it very disappointing. But the fight that these guys gave, it took us to the last three games to do what we were asking. I asked them to remember this feeling.”
The early advantage went to the Owls as they dominated the inside. Gradually, the shots that were not falling for the Rams began to fall. With 5:29 to play Temple was mounting a charge at Fordham getting to within 53 – 48 on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Rateska Brown, who scored 15 points in the game and a team-high 4 from beyond the arc. Fordham answered with three-pointers by guard Arielle Collins sandwiched around a jumper by forward Mariah Strickland to stretch the lead o 61 – 50 with 2:13 to play. Temple would get no closer than 8 points the rest of the way.
“As soon as we came down the floor and made a mistake, they capitalized,” said Cardoza. “Whenever we left someone open, they were knocking down shots especially in the second half. In the first half we were lucky that they were missing. In the second half every one of them who had an open shot nailed it.”
“Every time they made as run, we couldn’t stop it.”
Fordham made 10 of 27 from three-point land. In the second half the Rams made 7 of 13 attempts.
Temple got inside points from junior forward Natasha Thames who registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Senior forward Victoria Macaulay ended her career with 14 points and 9 rebounds. She leaves with a healthy respect for her fellow Temple Owls.
“My teammates have been playing their hearts out helping me in the post,” said Macaulay. “It’s a shame we couldn’t finish it.”
“We enjoyed being around each other and I didn’t want that to end.”
As a team Temple had a 24 – 12 edge in points in the paint, and a 22 – 8 edge in second chance points.
The season comes to an end for the Temple Owls. A new day begins as this game was their last in the Atlantic 10 conference. The team looks forward to a new league, but their focus in
to get better.
“We have a lot of heart,” Brown said. “We have a lot of fight in us. The past few days we played our heart out. We have to get in the gym and work on our defense.”
Fordham will move to the championship final against the Saint Joseph’s Hawks. Fordham Coach Stephanie Gaitley, a former coach on Hawk Hill, relived some memories of her time here as her team secured the victory.
“It is very surreal,” said Gaitley. “I looked up and see my kids and m family, there are a lot of good memories at Saint Joe’s. But I feel very fortunate to be a part of Fordham. The school wanted to be part of the Atlantic 10 and to celebrate it in front of family and friends. The fans were terrific.”
She will also recall her Villanova roots as they meet the Saint Joe’s. The rivalry lives between the schools.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
Click the link to Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship Central