PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/17/2016 – The Temple Owls overtook the host Drexel Dragons in the fourth quarter to earn a 74 – 66 win and advance in the WNIT. The Owls will face Quinnipiac on Sunday in the second round. It is important for the Cherry and White team to have an opportunity to play another game.
“It is very important,” said Temple Coach Tonya Cardoza about keeping the season going. “I thought last year we picked up a lot of experience playing in the post season. We got those games under our belt, learning by being in close games. We have a majority of our players coming back and we want to keep them on the court. It will benefit us in the long run.”
Both teams played strong on offense. Temple was getting a uptempo game and getting the ball toward the basket. The Owls had a 30 – 16 edge in points in the paint. Those were not pound the ball inside points, they were take it to the rim scores. The Cherry and White shot 50% (25 – 50) for the game (13 of 23 for 56.5% in the second half) led by guard Alliya Butts who scored 24 points making 7 of 10 from the floor and 5 of 8 from distance to go along with a team-high 5 assists. Her running mate Feyonda Fitzgerald had 19 points and 4 assists. Erica Covile posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile the Dragons were also playing to their strength which is making three-pointers. Drexel was successful on 10 of 16 three’s, and made a blistering 7 of 9 in the first half. Sarah Curran led the way with 24 points making 10 of 20 from the field, 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. Jessica Pellechio made 3 of 5 from three-point land on her way to 11 points. Alexis Smith had 10 points. Meghan Creighton handed out a game-best 7 assists.
The game came down to the last eight minutes and defense. Drexel took a 58 – 55 lead on a trey by Rachel Pearson with 8:15 to play. The Owls tied the game on a jumper by Fitzgerald after a free throw by Covile which began an 8 – 0 run over the two and a half minutes. The Dragons had open looks but had back to back jumpers go in and out. Temple would stretch the advantage to 70 – 62 at the 1:15 mark giving them control.
“We had a couple of possessions where we had good looks. We missed them,” Drexel Coach Denise Dillon said. “Temple scored a couple in transition. We had the momentum of not making shots.”
“I feel like we picked up the tempo on the offensive side,” Cardoza said. “We looked at their zone like it was a fast break situation and took the ball to the basket.”
The Owls are 21 – 11 on the season and will play another day.
Drexel finishes the year at 19 – 14. The Dragons have a core of players that will be returning and can look at the value of experiencing post-season play.
“You can only hope as a coach that the young ones learned a lot and are willing to continue to get better to help this program advance,” said Dillon.
Written By: Glenn Papazian