Temple starts A-10 tournament Saturday

Atlantic 10 Tournament schedule Game #1 East #4 Rhode Island (15-12, 8-8 A-10) vs. West #5 Xavier (10-18, 5-11) *Winner will play George Washington Saturday at noon Game #2 East #6 Fordham (5-22, 3-13) vs.

Atlantic 10 Tournament schedule

Game #1
East #4 Rhode Island (15-12, 8-8 A-10) vs.
West #5 Xavier (10-18, 5-11)
*Winner will play George Washington Saturday at noon
Game #2
East #6 Fordham (5-22, 3-13) vs.
West #3 Dayton (11-16, 8-8)
*Winner plays St. Joseph’s Saturday at 2 p.m.
Game #3
West #4 Duquense (13-14, 8-8) vs.
East #5 St. Bonaventure (13-14, 7-9)
When: Friday at 4 p.m.
*Winner will play Temple Saturday at 4 p.m.
Game #4
West #6 LaSalle (6-21, 2-14) vs.
East #3 Massachusetts (10-17, 8-8)
When: Friday at 6 p.m.
*Winner will play Richmond Saturday at 6 p.m.
Saturday: Four quarterfinals beginning at noon.
Sunday: Two semifinals beginning at 3 p.m. (A-10 TV)
Monday: Championship at 5:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tickets are available at Liacouras Center box office.
 —Chris Silva

Temple women’s basketball heads into the 2002 Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship focused, refreshed and ready to conduct business.

The Owls won the A-10 Eastern Division regular season title after sweeping the season series against Saint Joseph’s. Temple earned a first round bye by clinching one of the top seeds, the other belonging to George Washington (20-7, 15-1).

Temple has a first round bye. Temple plays the winner of Friday’s Duquesne vs. St. Bonaventure game Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Liacouras Center.

GW is nearly a sure lock for the NCAA tournament with an RPI of 58. Temple has an RPI of 97 and will probably have to win the A-10 tournament to make the NCAA’s. Temple lost to GW 54-53 earlier in the season.

GW dominated the A-10 throughout the season. GW’s only conference loss this season was last Sunday to UMass.

While the Owls have blossomed into a conference powerhouse this season, the Colonials have remained dominant and consistent the entire season, shooting 43 percent from the floor.

“It’s what they put into it,” coach Dawn Staley said. “They put a lot of pressure on themselves, they put a lot of hard work into wanting to be the best.

“I think we came a little bit short of being the best in the Atlantic 10 but we have time to redeem ourselves.”

The Owls beat LaSalle 71-61 Sunday in the regular season finale to claim first place in the A-10 East and the Big 5 City Series crown.

“You take the momentum of the regular season into postseason play and for us I thought our players did a tremendous job of focusing in,” Staley said.

Temple has done a fine job of focusing for most of the season. Staley and her staff have helped to build the team’s confidence in its capabilities.

“Now we believe in ourselves,” said junior point guard Stacey Smalls, who credits the boost in confidence to the coaching staff. “We just have confidence now and we’re playing harder.”

Temple has the entire week to prepare and will work on cleaning up parts of its game.

The Owls shot 38 percent from the field this season and will need to be picky about their shot selections and shot clock management. Staley said Temple has to work on focusing and keeping shots sharp.

The Owls will hold an advantage in experience with six seniors — including three starters — and Smalls running the offense.

Temple’s up-tempo style, which it refined during non-conference games, will also help throughout the tournament.

“I think it helps a lot because those games are up-tempo and that’s how we like to play it,” Smalls said of the non-conference games. “It’s up-tempo, it’s aggressive and it’s pounding and it’s just going at it the whole game.

“I think bringing that to the A-10 is different, it’s a different approach because not everybody plays like that in our conference.”

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