Temple faces ECU in the American Quarterfinals
Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University
Temple faces #5 ECU in the Quarterfinals of The American Championships

Women's Basketball

Women's Basketball Set to Take on ECU in American Quarterfinals

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — The Temple women's basketball team opens the 2015 American Athletic Conference tournament on Saturday. The Owls tied for third in the regular season, earning a four seed and a bye into the quarterfinal round. Temple will face fifth-seeded East Carolina on Saturday at 12 p.m. at the Mohegan Sun Arena. 

The teams met less than a week ago, with Temple picking up a 79-69 victory at home. The Owls made it a senior day to remember for Tyonna Williams as Temple snapped ECU's six-game win streak. The Owls rebounded from a slow start, taking a one-point deficit into the locker room before shooting 52.2% from the field in the second half. Temple played around an uncharacteristic 26 turnovers (eight coming on offensive fouls), but finished with a 41-28 advantage on the boards. ECU shot 45.2% from the field, but only connected on 50% (9-18) from the free throw line. 

Temple junior Erica Covile tied for game-high honors with 22 points, also grabbing a team-high nine rebounds. Freshman Alliya Butts had 16 points, while Williams had 13 points and three assists in her final home game in Philadelphia. ECU's I'Tiana Taylor led the Pirates with 22 points and a team-high six rebounds, while Jada Payne finished with 14 points and three assists. 

On the season, the Owls have five players averaging in double-figures, counting on any one of them to take over as high scorer in a game. Butts leads the squad with 12.8 points per game and 62 total  steals. Covile contributes 11.2 points and a team-best 8.4 rebounds per outing, while also recording 54 steals and 18 blocks. Sophomore Feyonda Fitzgerald has come off the bench in the last 18 games and is averaging 10.7 points a contest, while dishing out 86 total assists. Atkinson averages 10.7 points and 7.0 boards per game, while Williams is averaging 10.2 points per game and is leading the team with 99 total assists. The Owls' best threat to block shots is sophomore Safiya Martin, who leads the team with 35, while also averaging 4.8 boards a game.

Temple shoots 36.7% from the field and 32% from beyond-the-arc. The Owls free throw percentage is the best in the conference, with Temple connecting on 72% of all attempts from the line. Temple averages 66.1 points per game, while giving up 65.3. The Owls average 40.2 boards per game, while giving up nearly the same amount, but force 1.8 more turnovers per game then they give up themselves. 

East Carolina closed out the regular season, winning seven out of their last eight games, with the lone loss coming at Temple. Payne leads the Pirates with 16.7 points per game, while also pulling down 5.5 rebounds an outing. Taylor nears a double-double with her season averages of 11.1 points and 9.1 boards per game. Abria Trice chips in with 9.9 points per game, while Jasmine Phillips averages 8.9 points an outing with team-highs of 25 blocks and 56 steals. 

East Carolina averages 66.4 points per game, yielding only 58.4 points per game to opponents. The Pirates shoot 38.9% from the field and 34.1% from three-point range, but only connect on 63.9% of their free throw opportunities. 

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