The women’s basketball teams’ regular season is officially over and its focus now turns to the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament that begins today at the University of Rhode Island.
The Owls closed out the season in fashion with 58-49 win over Fordham University last Sunday, finishing the season with a 13-14, 9-7 (A-10) record and clinching second place in the A-10 East Division standings behind St. Joseph’s.
The Owls will wait to play the winner of today’s St. Bonaventure vs. Richmond game tomorrow.
The team has had success in games against St. Bonaventure, defeating them on both occasions this season. However, they have not had such luck with Richmond.
In the one meeting between these two teams, Temple lost 73-66 in overtime, shooting a measly 27-61 from the field.
The Owls were able to patch things together after that loss and won seven of their next eight games.
The Owls’ season has gone up and down like a flow chart, starting off great with wins against Santa Clara, Seton Hall and a close loss to the then No. 2 Kansas State.
After the loss to Kansas State, Temple went 3-15 during the months of December and January.
“I think this whole season has been about learning how to win,” coach Dawn Staley said.
“And sometimes you have to take some losses to actually get it. I think we’re finally playing the basketball that we had expectations of earlier in the year.”
If Temple faces Richmond in the second round, and can squeak past the Spiders, they could inevitably face their biggest challenge of the season in rival George Washington.
The Colonials clinched the top seed in the West Division and will wait to face the winner of Dayton vs. Fordham.
It is true that March madness can produce a number of possibilities at this point, but it would be a miracle if either Dayton or Fordham could knock out George Washington.
Both the Rams and the Flyers have lost to the Colonials, Fordham by more than 10 points and Dayton by more than 20.
The only viable way for Temple to make to the Big Dance is to win the A-10 outright.
To do so, they will probably have to face three of four teams that they have not beaten this season- Richmond, George Washington, and either Xavier or St. Joseph’s.
“Our record isn’t any indication of where we are as a basketball team and that’s always good going into post season play,” Staley said.
The majority of the conference tournament will be played at the University of Rhode Island.
The title game will be played at the home court of the team with the higher seed.
With any luck, the Owls could come back to Philadelphia for the final, if it comes down to them and St. Joseph’s.
Saudia Mitchell can be reached at Saudrae@hotmail.com