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PHILADELPHIA –Temple women's basketball team opened a new era in school history with a 60-47 win at La Salle in the season and Philadelphia Big 5 opener for both teams on Friday.
"We were down, and we didn't give up," said sixth-year head coach Tonya Cardoza
. "We could have folded. It was ugly, but we're happy to come in here and get the first win."
Temple jumped on the scoreboard first, going up by five, 6-1. The Explorers tied the game at 8-8 and took over the lead, going ahead by as many as eight, 21-13. La Salle led by four at intermission, 27-23.
"We felt we didn't play well," Cardoza said. "My message (at halftime) was how poorly we played and were only down by four points. Imagine if we had played well."
The teams traded baskets to open the second stanza. With just her second career bucket, freshman point guard Feyonda Fitzgerald
(Norfolk, Va.) tied the game at 31-31. La Salle once again went ahead by eight, 39-31, before the Owls woke up. Sparked by sophomore Meghan Roxas
' (Ridgewood, N.J.) three-pointer that put TU ahead, 41-39, Temple went on a 19-0 run over the next seven minutes and re-claimed the lead for good, leading by as many as 15 points. Over the last nine minutes of the game, the Owls held La Salle to just two baskets.
"Meghan's three excited everyone," Cardoza said of the turnaround moment. "We rallied behind that."
In her debut as an Owl, senior Shi-Heria Shipp
(Salisbury, N.C.) led the team with a career-high 18 points. Senior Natasha Thames
(Port Huron, Mich.) followed with a double-double of 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, the sixth of her career. Junior Tyonna Williams
(Fort Washington, Md.) added 11 points, and sophomore Erica Covile
(Canton, Mich.) had 10 points.
Junior Alicia Cropper led La Salle with 11 points. Senior Khristian Lee was the only other player with double figures, finishing with 10 points.
Overall, La Salle out-rebounded Temple, 43-37. The Owls shot 40 percent from the floor (21-52) compared to the Explorers' 28 percent (17-61).
Temple continues its two-game road trip to open the season with a stop at Delaware on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center. The Owls' home opener with Auburn is slated for Saturday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at McGonigle Hall.
This season Temple competes as a member of the American Athletic Conference. For season ticket information, call 215-204-8499.