Temple women’s basketball will open the 2001-2002 campaign against the University of Evansville in the first-round of the pre-season Women’s National Invitation Tournament at 7 p.m. Friday at McGonigle Hall.
The game will showcase the Owls’ fast-paced offense against Evansville’s tough frontcourt.
This should be an early test for the Owls as the Purple Aces have a solid all-around game with an offense centered around senior Shyla McKibbon-Puelston, who averaged 17.2 points and nine rebounds a game last season.
Who the Owls will match up against McKibbon-Puelston is yet to be determined, but it will likely be either senior Athena Christoforakis or senior center Lisa Jakubowicz.
The Owls’ frontcourt will have their hands full against the Purple Aces, as they also have three seniors rotating in at the small forward position.
But the backcourt match ups will be the ones to follow as Temple point guard Stacey Smalls will most likely be assigned to senior Latasha Austin, who was Evansville’s top defender and leader in scoring, assists and steals last season.
At the two-guard for the Purple Aces is senior Shinko Ono who is their best shooter at the perimeter or behind the arc, where she shot 40 percent last season.
Look for pressure early on from the Temple backcourt to keep Ono and Austin from getting into a groove.
The Owls will be undersized, as they will be throughout most of the season. Evansville’s front line consists of no one shorter than 6-foot-1-inch.
This will be a defensive affair as the Owls will try to contain the Purple Aces and their 10 seniors.
Besides the height advantages, this is a pretty even match for the Owls. They will face a team 10-deep and will focus on their defensive strategies, which should lead to easy points by the speedy Temple backcourt.