Inside the visiting locker room at Tom Gola Arena after Temple (2-0) defeated La Salle 77-48 Wednesday, junior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald sat down with coach Tonya Cardoza to look at her turnovers.
As Fitzgerald’s eyes scrolled down the box score, she realized she missed her first triple double by two rebounds, earning 19 points, 10 assists and short with eight rebounds.
“She was showing me my turnovers because my last game I had more than I should have, and this time she said, ‘This is the way it should be compared to my assists,’” Fitzgerald said. “I knew how many points I had, it was on the board, but I wasn’t worried about the points. I was just trying to make sure we won the game.”
Fitzgerald scored nine points in the first half while earning two of her eight rebounds.
“I didn’t even know I had that many rebounds, I know I was trying to box out,” Fitzgerald said. “There was times where I gave up an offensive rebound.”
After taking its first lead 9-8 in the first quarter, Temple stayed ahead for the remainder of the game to defeat its first Big 5 opponent this season.
After a layup from senior guard Erica Covile gave the Owls an 11-10 lead, Cardoza’s squad pulled away from the Explorers with a 17-0 run.
After fouling out in Temples 97-91 win against the University of Florida Friday, junior center Safiya Martin totaled six points and 14 rebounds.
“I knew I didn’t show up for my team, so my whole mentality today was show up and do what I could for the team,” Martin said. “One of my strengths is rebounding, so coming in and doing what I have to do.”
She also added four blocks and one steal in 31 minutes after totaling two rebounds in 13 minutes of play against Florida.
“I need to do better finishing because I missed a few easy shots,” Martin said. “I could have easily scored more for my team and even in other games, I have to be better.”
Temple finished with 44 rebounds, and Cardoza said Martin is the biggest contributor when it comes to the Owls’ rebounding.
“She wanted to be a presence today, and she was,” Cardoza said. “She was anchoring the back when people were beat, she came over to help. She gets every rebound she possibly could. I thought she did a great job even looking to score more.”
After the Florida game, Cardoza stressed finishing strong. Temple received the message and outscored La Salle 25-9 in the fourth quarter.
While looking to improve on consistency, Temple will resume play as it travels to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey Sunday.
“We would have those spurts, and then we would give up second chance opportunities and not get back in transition and then allow them to close the gap,” Cardoza said. “We found a lot of guys around the basket, I thought we took advantage of opportunities where they might have been out of position and we found players under the basket.”
Connor Northrup can be reached at email@example.com.