Tanaya Atkinson
Julia Martin
Tanaya Atkinson is coming off a 19-point game in the WNIT first round

Women's Basketball

Women's Basketball Set for Big 5 Rematch at Penn on Sunday

PHILADELPHIA -- The Temple women's basketball team will face a familiar foe on Sunday in the second round of the 2015 WNIT, as the Owls will head to The Palestra for a re-match against Big 5-rival Penn at 2:00 p.m. Temple (17-16) will seek to avenge a January loss to the Quakers (21-8). The game will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network, as well as ESPN3, free of charge. 

Temple is fresh off a 67-54 win against Marist in the first round of the WNIT. The Owls were solid on all fronts, holding a 40-31 advantage on the glass, while committing a season-low six turnovers. Junior Erica Covile led the way with 19 points, while also adding six boards. Freshman Tanaya Atkinson finished with 18 points and five rebounds, while sophomore Feyonda Fitzgerald had 14 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Senior Tyonna Williams had nine points, including a three that tied her for the all-time program lead with 162. Sophomore Safiya Martin led a big effort for the Owls on the boards, pulling down 10 rebounds. 

On the season, All-Conference and All-Freshman selection Alliya Butts leads the squad with 12.4 points per game and 67 total steals. Covile, also an All-Conference selection, contributes 11.7 points and a team-best 8.3 rebounds per outing, while also recording 57 steals and 19 blocks. Fitzgerald has come off the bench to average 10.8 points a contest, while dishing out 92 total assists. Also for the Owls, freshman Tanya Atkinson averages 10.8 points and 6.9 boards per game, while Williams is averaging 10.4 points per game and is leading the team with 105 total assists. 

As a team, Temple shoots 36.7% from the field and 31.7% from beyond-the-arc. The Owls finished the regular season with the American's top free throw percentage, and connect on 72.8% of attempts from the line. Temple averages 66.3 points and 40.2 rebounds per game, holding slim leads over opponents in both categories.

Penn earned the Ivy League's automatic bid to the WNIT, finishing their conference season 11-3. The Quakers sport a 21-8 overall mark and are coming off a 65-58 win over Hofstra in the first round of the WNIT. Against Hofstra, Michelle Nwokedi led the Quakers with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Sydney Stipanovich added 12 points, five rebounds and two assists. Kathleen Roche contributed 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting from three-point range. Anna Ross led the Quakers with six assists and added seven points, while Katy Allen had eight point and six rebounds in 30 key minutes off the bench, subbing for an injured Kara Bonenberger.

Stipanovich is the only Penn player averaging in double-figures in scoring, averaging 11.3 points per outing, while also leading the team with 7.2 boards per game and 85 total blocks. Nwokedi, a rookie, has come on strong in the latter part of the season, making 10 starts and averaging 9.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Roche also aids the offense with 9.5 points per game.

Penn averages 60.7 points per game, while holding opponents to just 53.3. The Quakers shoot 39.3% from the field and 35.8% from beyond-the-arc. Penn has also out-rebounded its opponents this season, averaging 40.3 boards per game, while giving up 37.4. 

Sunday's game will be the 67th meeting between the programs, dating back to the 1924-25 season. The Owls own the all-time series, 49-17, including going 5-2 under Head Coach Tonya Cardoza. Penn grabbed the last two meetings between the teams, breaking a nine-game win streak from the Owls by winning the 2014 game, 74-70, at McGonigle Hall, and then taking this season's earlier meeting, 52-50, at The Palestra.

Penn came out on top of a nail-biting 52-50 match-up in Big 5 action at the Palestra on January 5. Temple led for nearly 32 minutes, but couldn't close out the victory, as a late three from Penn's Renee Busch sparked the Quaker comeback. Temple's Atkinson recorded a double-double with 12 points and a career-best 17 rebounds to lead the Owls, while Junior Erica Covile finished with 12 points and nine boards. Temple struggled offensively, shooting just 28.6% from the field and 50% from the charity stripe. Penn's Roche led all players with 22 points, adding nine boards, while Stipanovich just missed a triple-double with 12 points, nine rebounds, and nine blocks.

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