1. Who will replace LaKeisha Eaddy?
Eaddy, who finished her career as Temple’s all-time steals leader and managed to dish out the second-most assists in program history, completed her eligibility last season. The 5-foot, 7-inch Maryland native was selected to three Atlantic Ten Conference defensive teams during her time on North Broad Street, bringing unquestioned leadership to the court. Who will replace her contributions? On the court, look for junior guards BJ Williams, who started eight games for the Owls last year, and Shey Peddy, a transfer from Wright State, to help lessen the blow.
2. Who will replace Jasmine Stone’s post production?
Stone, simply put, was a presence in the post for the Owls. Stone averaged 7.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last season. She was named to the All-Big 5 Second Team and grabbed 17 rebounds in the A-10 championship game against Xavier. Sophomore center Victoria Macaulay, who started three games at center for the Owls last season, will be given the first shot at replacing Stone. Overall, Macaulay averaged three points and 2.7 rebounds per game. At 6 feet, 4 inches, Macaulay has the size to be dominant in the A-10.
3. Will the tough out-of-conference schedule hurt or help the Owls?
Temple hosts No. 7 Ohio State to start the season. The Owls will also travel to No. 16 UCLA and No. 6 Duke throughout the season. Coach Tonya Cardoza might be banking on the toughness of the schedule to prepare her team for the A-10 schedule, but it has the potential to backfire. An abundance of out-of-conference losses could dash Temple’s chances at securing an at-large bid.
4. Can McCarthy handle the spotlight?
Last year, McCarthy entered the season with a decent amount of hype, as she was named to the A-10’s All-Rookie Team the year prior. This year, expectations should be huge for McCarthy. The reigning Big 5 Player of the Year scored 42 points against Charlotte last year, the second most ever in an A-10 game. The California native led the team with 14.8 points per game last year. From here on out, especially with the departures of Stone and Eaddy, opposing teams will gameplan around shutting McCarthy down. If she can overcome the added pressure, the Owls could be dancing for the eighth-straight year.
5. Will added expectations hinder this team?
Last year, the Owls appeared to thrive as underdogs. This season, after they almost won the A-10 Championship and advanced in the NCAA Tournament, the Owls are not going to sneak up on anyone. Coaches around the A-10 picked Temple to finish third in the conference this season, while the Owls garnered a preseason No. 22 ranking by the Sporting News. The Owls must prevent themselves from focusing too much on the hype.