Less than 30 seconds into Tuesday’s game at Cincinnati, junior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald found Donnaizha Fountain behind the arc for a 3-point attempt.
The sophomore guard made the shot, scoring the first points of the game to give the Owls a three-point lead.
“She was feeling it,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “She was open on the line, they didn’t come to guard her, and she has the confidence to knock it down.”
Temple held the lead for the rest of the contest on its way to a 74-49 victory at Fifth Third Arena for the Owls’ fifth straight win.
“I definitely thought we came out with a good start, especially on the defensive side,”Cardoza added. “We made offense difficult for them and didn’t give them a lot of open looks.”
Temple led the Bearcats 26-8 after 10 minutes of play. The 22-point lead was Temple’s biggest lead after the first quarter all season.
After Cincinnati’s 7-0 run to end the first half, Temple headed into the locker room with a 32-19 lead.
“I felt like we just stood around a lot on both ends of the floor,” Cardoza said. “It felt like we almost thought the game was already over, and it was something I addressed at halftime.”
After grabbing six rebounds in the first half, senior guard Erica Covile attacked the boards in the third quarter, totaling six more rebounds. Covile finished the night with her fifth double-double of the season, earning 11 points and a season-high 15 rebounds.
The 6-foot-1-inch guard leads the Owls in rebounding this season with 165 total rebounds, averaging 7.2 rebounds per game.
“I felt like early on she wasn’t being as assertive as she needs to be,” Cardoza said “In the second half she was more aggressive and trying to rebound the ball and to score.”
After shooting 37.8 percent from the field in the first half, Cardoza’s team continued to struggle shooting in the third quarter, knocking down 30 percent of its attempts while Cincinnati made 35.7 of its shots from the field.
The Owls led the Bearcats 48-34 heading into the fourth quarter. With 9:32 remaining in the game, Fitzgerald landed a jumper to spark a 6-0 run for the Owls. Temple sealed the win by outscoring Cincinnati 26-15 in the fourth quarter.
The Owls have two more games this week. Houston and Connecticut, the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 Poll, come to McGonigle Hall on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Cardoza said her team must stay consistent to continue its winning ways.
“The consistency starts with making sure we are defending well,” Cardoza said. “We have done a better job with defending and knowing who should be covering who.”
Connor Northrup can be reached at email@example.com