Feyonda Fitzgerald
Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University

Women's Basketball

Women's Basketball Welcomes La Salle for Monday's Home Opener

PHILADELPHIA -- The Temple women's basketball team looks to move to 2-0 on the season and 2-0 in Philadelphia Big 5 play, hosting La Salle on Monday in the home opener for the Owls. The game is part of a two-facility doubleheader, as the women play the Explorers at 5:00 p.m. at McGonigle Hall, while the men tip-off against New Hampshire at 7:00 p.m. at the Liacouras Center, part of the Preseason NIT.

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SCOUTING THE OWLS
The Owls return four double-digit scorers from last year's 23-12 team that advanced to the WNIT Quarterfinals. Leading the way is junior Alliya Butts, a returning first team All-American Athletic Conference and All-Big 5 player, as well as the only unanimous first team pre-season All-Conference selection in The American. Butts averaged 15.1 points per game last season, while leading the Owls in steals and threes. She is joined by senior Feyonda Fitzgerald, who was Temple's top play-maker last season (5.31 assists/game), while averaging 13.6 points per contest. 

Juniors Tanaya Atkinson (13.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Donnaizha Fountain (10.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) also return for the Owls as top guards from a year ago. Temple will also rely on seniors Safiya Martin (1.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg) and Ruth Sherrill (1.1 ppg, 1.6 rpg) to provide veteran experience this season. 

LAST TIME OUT: SEASON OPENING WIN
Temple opened the 2016-17 season with a 86-70 victory on the road at Saint Joseph's on Friday night. Four Temple players finished in double-digits in scoring, as the Owls snapped a four-game losing streak to the Hawks. Temple out-shot (45.9% to 38.3%) and out-rebounded (36-33) the Hawks, and led by as many as 29 points. While Saint Joseph's opened with a 5-2 lead, Temple quickly took over and did not trail for the final 36:53. 

Tanaya Atkinson and Fountain topped the team in scoring and rebounding, with Atkinson finishing with 24 points and seven boards, while Fountain ended her night with 20 points and eight rebounds. Fitzgerald notched 16 points with a game-best five assists, while Butts added 12 points and four steals. Senior Monasia Bolduc recorded career-bests in points (6), rebounds (4), and minutes (15), while rookie Shantay Taylor had four points and four rebounds in her first collegiate game.

SCOUTING THE EXPLORERS
La Salle returned all five starters from their 5-25 team last season, including A-10 leading scorer Amy Griffin (17.7 ppg). Jasmine Alston returns after finishing 11th in the country in assists per game (6.4) and leading the Atlantic 10 in steals (71), while Micahya Owens averaged 13.4 points per game last season, including the 1,000th point of her career. Ashanti Freeland (4.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Deja Bullock (2.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg) completed the returning starting five from last season.

LAST TIME OUT
La Salle fell to Lafayette 56-49 at home on Friday night in the season opener at Tom Gola Arena. The Explorers scored six unanswered points to close the game, but couldn't make up an earlier deficit to the Leopards. 

Griffin tallied a game-best 16 points, also adding nine boards, while Jasmine Alston finished with five points, and game-highs with 10 boards and seven assists. Owens and Adreana Miller each finished with 10 points in the loss. 

SERIES HISTORY
Temple leads the all-time series against La Salle, 23-21. The Owls have won seven of the last eight meetings with the Explorers.

LAST TIME THEY MET - November 18, 2015 - Temple 77, La Salle 48
Backed by a double-double from Fitzgerald, Temple posted a 77-48 win on the road at La Salle to move to 2-0 on the season. Fitzgerald finished her night with 19 points, 10 assists, and eight boards, registering her first-career double-double. As a team, Temple shot 50% from the field (29-58) holding La Salle to just 23.3%. Temple held a slim edge on the glass, out-rebounding the Explorers, 44-43. 

Elsewhere for the Owls, Butts led all players with 21 points, while  Atkinson and senior Erica Covile rounded out the scoring with 10 each. Martin had a monster night on the boards, pulling down 14 rebounds, while bolstering her stat line with six points and four blocks. 

For La Salle, Three players finished with double-digit scoring totals, led by 15 points from Owens. Griffin chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds, while Miller had 10 points. 

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