Centers have career games in wins for the Owls.
Senior center Joelle Connelly and junior center Victoria Macaulay are role players who rarely start together in the Owls’ lineup.
On Saturday afternoon, they played like they had been starting together all season.
Connelly and Macaulay had career days in the Owls’ 72-47 win against Big-5 rival Penn on Saturday, while the scoring load usually is carried by senior guards Shey Peddy and Kristen McCarthy.
Coach Tonya Cardoza was adamant in crediting the two post players for their key play in the team’s victory.
“I thought our [post players] came up huge for us, I definitely thought our post presence set the tempo for us it really took the pressure off of our guards and allowed us to take advantage of our size advantage,” Cardoza said. “This is how we would like to play, you don’t want to have to rely on jump shots, you want to be able to take higher percentage shots by throwing it into the post and having them shoot layups.”
Connelly and Macaulay each had doubled their season scoring average with 16 and 20 points in the contest, respectively, while combining for 13 rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
Macaulay and Connelly complemented each other all afternoon, as Macaulay knew from the morning shoot-around that Connelly and herself needed to play a big role in the game.
“After shoot-around we talked about how [Connelly] and I had to dominate the game and from here on we have to dominate every game,” Macaulay said.
Peddy and Mccarthy joined the two post players in double figures with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
Senior point guard BJ Williams did not have her best day shooting the ball, but was active in the victory, as she led the team in assists with four.
“[Williams] tries to get in it and push the tempo for us she leads us and sometimes being a point guard it gets difficult with the expectations we put on her,” Cardoza said. “I thought so far she has played good basketball for us the last few games, she might not score a lot, but she gets the ball to the people who need to get it.”
The Owls seemed to
know that they had an advantage in the physical department and they exploited Penn with it. At the end of the first half Temple unleashed a full court press defense headed by Macaulay, who used her length advantage to cause problems for the Penn guards in the back court. The press and Macaulay’s athleticism gave Temple the eight-point advantage that they eventually built off of going into halftime.
“Our pressure and defensive intensity was great, we all just really wanted to go out and get the ball and they struggled handling our pressure,” Macaulay said.
This game against Penn was the Cherry and White’s last non-conference game and with the Atlantic Ten Conference wide open this season, the Owls will need to build off of the newfound success they had in the post game against Penn.
“Every week is a big week, we have Xavier on Tuesday so we have to be ready to play against their bigs who are playing very well right now,” Cardoza said.
Anthony Bellino can be reached at email@example.com.