Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Temple Dominating Big Five Win at Saint Joseph's Halts Four-Year Slide to the Hawks

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

A second post rounding up the rest of PhilahoopsW and national teams is under this post.

PHILADELPHIA – To use election speak, Temple flipped Saint Joseph’s into the Owls’ win column in dominating style Friday night snapping a four-game losing streak to the host Hawks in what was both the season and Big Five opener for both teams.

Poised to post the largest winning margin in the history of the long-running series when Temple held a 29-point 83-54 lead at Hagan Arena with 4 minutes, 35 seconds left to play, the Owls had to settle for a 16-point differential at 86-70 after the Hawks outperformed the opposition substitutes 16-3 over the final minutes.

That still is the fourth largest ever for Temple in the victory column playing the Hawks.

“I’m one of those people who never say I’m really happy but I’m happy we finally got the monkey off our back.and got the win, just not happy how we finished,” Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said afterwards.

"I may not have been happy with the way they played but at least they got game experience and that is always important down the road.”

Temple is no longer a team of just  talented guards running around all over the place.

“Our bigs were visible,” she said of a statistic showing the Owls topping the Hawks, 36-24. “The last couple of years they really haven’t been visible on the offensive side. For Monasia (Bulduc) to come in and be a presence and Shantay (Taylor) to come in and be a presence, that was good to see.

“It takes some of the pressure off the perimeter players knowing they have to score every time down the floor. They can throw the ball inside and have something good happen. I’m happy definitely the way those two guys played.”

Taylor is a 6-foot-3 freshman forward plucked from the back yard of former Temple coach Dawn Staley in Columbia, S.C., where Staley has turned the USC Gamecocks into a national force.

Tanaya Atkinson, a 5-9 junior guard from New Haven, Conn., had 24 points, just three below her career high, while Donnaizha Fountain, a junior 6-0 guard in her second Temple season of eligibility after transferring from Georgia Tech, came off the bench to pour 20 points and connect on 3-of-5 three-point attempts.

Fountain hails from Cardoza’s hometown of Roxbury, Mass.

Senior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald had all 16 of her points in the first half, while Aliyah Butts was also in double figures with 12 points.

This was a game that was more of a midwinter women’s classic in Philadelphia when Temple was a longtime rival of Saint Joseph’s in the Atlantic 10 conference with both teams not doing battle until after the calendar New Year arrived on the schedule.

But with the Owls now in the American Athletic Conference, the two meet much earlier, sometimes even on opening night.

“Playing those Big Five games is always key and to start off the season with a Big Five win is something that makes us happy,” said Cardoza, whose Owls have another City Series encounter Monday night in their home opener when they host La Salle at 5 p.m. in McGonigle Hall.

Sant Joseph’s, meanwhile, was disabled in part by Temple’s athleticism and speed and was also hampered with foul trouble, particular Chelsea Woods who was a scoring machine in the offseason in the Philadelphia/Suburban NCAA Women’s Summer League that plays in Hatboro, Pa.

Woods scored 11 points in just 18 minutes of action. Alyssa Monaghan came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points, hitting 5-of-7 shots from the field, while Amanda Fiorvanti scored 14 points, while Adashia Franklyn, the daughter of Temple all-time great Marilyn Stephens, recently inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, scored 10 points.

“You could tell they’ve played together for such a long time, their veteran guards,” Saint Joseph’s coach Cindy Griffin said of the Owls’ makeup. “Fitzgerald did a job job leading them, Atkinson had a good game and Fountain did a very, very coming off the bench making those threes.

“We dug ourselves a hole that it was tough to get out of and certainly the foul trouble did not help.”

The Hawks come right back at home Sunday hosting Bucknell, the preseason favorite in the Patriot League.

“We’ll see. Bucknell is picked to win their conference,” she said. “I think it will be a different style game. It certainly is one we’re looking forward to and would like to get.”