On Thursday night, Temple’s five starting guards scored every point in the team’s 75-61 win against Ohio University in the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament at McGonigle Hall.
With the win, the Owls advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will face the University of Michigan on Monday in Ann Arbor, Michigan at 7 p.m.
Junior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald, sophomore guards Alliya Butts, Tanaya Atkinson and Donnaizha Fountain all scored 10 or more points, while senior guard Erica Covile totaled nine points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
“We knew we had to run the floor and get the ball out quick.” Fountain said. ”We were just being really aggressive today and being home we couldn’t go wrong when we were aggressive.”
For the second consecutive game, Fitzgerald led the Owls in scoring with 22 points.. Fitzgerald, who also added six assists, racked up 13 of her 22 points in the second half.
In the team’s three WNIT games, Fitzgerald has scored 19 or more points, including 23 points in the team’s win against Quinnipiac last Sunday.
Along with Fitzgerald, Butts has scored 48 total points in the team’s three wins.
“If she is open, I pass it to her for the three ball,” Fitzgerald said about Butts’ play style. “I’ll find her outside of the key or she will find me. We just all have a good chemistry on and off the court.”
With one minute, 40 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Atkinson passed the ball to Butts, who notched her second 3-pointer of the quarter.
Butts scored 12 of her 18 points in the opening period, helping the Owls jump out to a 27-11 lead after the first quarter.
“Alliya got us going early, she did a great job of knocking down threes and getting to the free throw line. ” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “She did a great job defensively, limiting Ohio from scoring threes.”
After heading into the halftime locker room with a 39-29 lead, the Owls outscored Ohio by four in the third period.
The Owls’ defense limited Bobcats senior guard Kiyanna Black, the leading three-point shooter in Division I, to 2-of-7 shooting from the field, including 0-of-5 from3-point range.
“The fact she didn’t get three off was key for us because we knew she could get hot and change it,” Cardoza said. “I thought Fey and Alliya did a really good job and did not give her any open looks.”
Junior center Safiya Martin, junior forward Ruth Sherrill and sophomore guard Khadijah Berger were the only three players from the bench to see playing time. The trio saw a combined 29 minutes.
Connnor Northrup can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction: An earlier headline said the Owls advanced to the semifinals on the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The team has advanced to the quarterfinals.
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