Feyonda Fitzgerald
Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University

Women's Basketball

Women's Basketball Hosts Houston in Game Two of Valentine's Day Doubleheader

PHILADELPHIA – The Temple women's basketball team (11-14, 7-5) is set to host Houston on Saturday as the second game of a doubleheader at the Liacouras Center. Following the men's 2 p.m. game with East Carolina, the women will battle Houston (6-18, 1-12) at 5 p.m.

Temple is 7-5 in conference play with an 11-14 overall mark. The Owls have lost two in a row, dropping both games on the road against top-four teams in the American. Most recently, Temple suffered a 75-67 loss at Tulsa.

Temple had no answer for a second-half Tulsa rally, as the Golden Hurricane shot 51.4% in the second-half to out-last the Owls. Freshman Alliya Butts scored 17 points with two assists and two steals, while junior Erica Covile had 15 points, eight rebounds, three steals and a pair of assists. Sophomore Feyonda Fitzgerald gave the Owls a boost of the bench with 14 points and three assists, while senior Tyonna Williams had five points and a team-high four assists.

The Owls have relied on any one of five players to lead the team in scoring this season. Freshman Alliya Butts leads the way with 12.6 points per game with a team-best 53 steals. Junior Erica Covile is second with 11.6 points per game and has a team-high 9.1 rebounds per outing. Sophomore Feyonda Fitzgerald (11.3 ppg) and freshman Tanaya Atkinson (10.6 ppg) also average in double figures for the Owls, with Fitzgerald second in assists (2.7/g) and Atkinson second in rebounding (7.0/g). Senior Tyonna Williams runs the Owls offense, averaging a team-high 3.1 assists per game, while also averaging 9.8 points per outing. Williams and Butts have lead the team from beyond-the-arc, both connecting on over 1.7 threes per contest.

Temple shoots 36.1% from the field and 30.9% from beyond-the-arc, while connecting on 71% of its free throws. Opponents are out-scoring the Owls by a 0.3 point margin on the season and out-rebounding the team by 0.6 boards per game. Temple protects the ball well, forcing 2.2 more turnovers per game than the Owls give up.
 
After starting 5-5, Houston has lost 13 out of its last 14 games, including 10 in a row. Most recently, the Cougars dropped a 64-58 home game to Memphis on Wednesday.

Against Memphis, the Cougars were down early, 25-12, before running off a 13-0 spurt late in the first half. Houston just trailed 56-53 with four minutes remaining, but Memphis held on for the win. Marche' Amerson led the Cougars with 17 points on 8-for-16 shooting. Tyler Gilbert chipped in with 13 points and a team-high six rebounds, while Jessieka Palmer scored 10 points. Rounding out the box score, Bianca Winslow set career highs with five assists and 39 minutes of court time, in addition to scoring nine points.

For the season, Palmer leads Houston with 9.9 points per game, while also pulling down 4.9 rebounds per game. Marche' contributes 9.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per outing, while Alecia Smith has a team-high 85 assists, while also picking up 7.5 points per game. Gilbert leads the Cougars on the boards with 5.9 rebounds per game and 59 total blocks, while also chipping in on offense with 7.9 points per game.

Houston shoots 35.6% from the field, 28.6% from three-point range, while making 64.2% of its free throws. The Cougars are being out-scored by an average of 10.9 points per game and out-rebounded by 8.2 boards per game, but have a positive turnover margin.

This will be the third meeting between the programs, with Temple leading the series, 2-0. The two previous match-ups between the teams both came during the 2013-14 American Athletic Conference regular season. Last year, the Owls grabbed a 79-46 victory on the road, and then won, 66-54 at home. 

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