When time expired at the end of the fourth overtime period on Thursday at Elma Roane Fieldhouse, the Owls found themselves in uncharted territory.
After 60 minutes of play Memphis and Temple were still tied.
As Thursday’s game prolonged into a five-overtime affair—the second such occurrence in NCAA Division I Women’s basketball history—coach Tonya Cardoza sought to keep the Owls focused on the task at hand.
“‘Don’t worry about being tired,’” Cardoza said. “‘We have another opportunity. We’re still in this. Let’s continue to fight and let’s try to take advantage of opportunities.’ So just keeping them paying attention to the game, playing it and not focused on being tired. Because obviously, both teams are exhausted at this point, but your adrenaline should be enough to get you going.”
Temple (17-9, 11-4) could not keep up the tempo, scoring four points in the final overtime period to lose 100-97 to Memphis on Thursday at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
With the game tied at 93 going into the final overtime period, Temple took the lead first on a layup by junior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald, who led the Owls with 26 points in 62 minutes. The basket was the Owls’ only bucket in the next four minutes, thirteen seconds of the game.
Tigers’ senior forward Brianna Wright scored in the post to tie the game at 95 with 2:06 remaining. Wright scored five of her 35 points in the final five minutes of play to help the Tigers earn the victory.
The Tigers did not emphasize their inside presence as much in an 82-58 loss to the Owls on Dec. 30 at McGonigle Hall. Cardoza said Memphis’ post play was key down the stretch of Thursday night’s game.
“I felt like the first time we played them, their post players weren’t really involved in the game so that was the biggest difference,” Cardoza said. “You had post players scoring 30-something points on you that’s the difference right there.”
The Owls held leads in every overtime period and had the last-shot opportunity in the first and third overtimes.
Five players fouled out of the game for Temple, including Fitzgerald and three other Owls’ starters. As a result, all 10 players on the roster received playing time.
“You have different lineups in there so there’s certain people they don’t have to guard,” Cardoza said. “So that changes everything. When there’s certain people out on the floor, you have to guard a certain way and it was hard for them to get inside.”
The Owls have now lost two straight after falling to No. 1 Connecticut on Feb. 14. Despite the extended game, Cardoza will keep the same routine.
“Everything stays the same,” Cardoza said. “Nothing changes. Today is today and tomorrow’s something totally different. They’ll get their rest.”
Evan Easterling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org on or Twitter @Evan_Easterling