-- In a battle for second place in The American, it was #20/21 USF that came out on top, recording a 76-62 win on their home court on Saturday. Temple falls to 18-10 overall, 12-5 in The American, while USF improves to 21-7, 14-3 in conference play.
The teams were separated by just 2.4% in shooting percentage for the game, but it was the Bulls' 49-35 rebounding advantage that gave them the edge. Temple led early in the second quarter, but an 8-0 USF run gave the Bulls a lead they would hold the rest of the way. The Owls cut the advantage to three points late in the third quarter, but USF came up big from beyond-the-arc, as post player Alisia Jenkins nailed back-to-back threes to stop the Temple comeback. The Owls got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Temple junior Feyonda Fitzgerald
led the Owls in every major statistical category, piling on 16 points, seven assists, seven rebounds, and three steals. Sophomore Tanaya Atkinson
finished with 15 points and five rebounds, while classmate Donnaizha Fountain
had 12 points and seven boards. Rounding out the Temple leaders, sophomore Alliya Butts
chipped in with 11 points, as the fourth Owl to score in double figures.
After falling behind 6-5, Temple went on a 7-0 run to take a 12-6 lead. The teams traded buckets before USF used a 10-2 run to go up 18-16. Fitzgerald tied it for Temple on the next possession, but USF All-American Courtney Williams nailed a three to give the Bulls a 21-18 edge after one.
Temple took over the lead early in the second quarter as a Covile three and an Ugo Nwaigwe
turnaround jumper put the Owls up, 25-23. USF counted with a 10-2 run to lead 33-27 before back-to-back Fitzgerald drives closed the gap to 33-31. USF took control over the final two minutes, however, as an 8-0 run gave the Bulls a 41-31 cushion at the break.
Both teams shot around 40% in the first half, but USF led on the glass, 24-17. Atkinson and Fitzgerald led all players with 11 first-half points each, while Fitzgerald also dished out three helpers. For USF, six different players accounted for five or more points, led by Shalethia Stringfield with nine.
Temple scored five-straight to open the third quarter, cutting the USF lead to 41-38. However, Jenkins' back-to-back treys sparked 9-2 run that increased the Bulls advantage back to 10. Temple got the lead under eight with five minutes left in the frame, but another USF run saw the hosts go on top 58-46 after three.
In a messy fourth quarter that featured 17 total fouls, Temple could only get as close as 10 points the rest of the way. Covile fouled out with just under seven minutes remaining, and the USF lead ballooned to 17 points (76-59) in the next six minutes, putting the Owls away.
Stringfield led USF with 20 points, while Jenkins added a double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Williams finished her senior day with 13 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds for the nationally-ranked Bulls.
Temple returns home for its regular season finale on Monday against UCF at 7:00 p.m. The Owls will host Senior Day honoring graduate student Ugo Nwaigwe
, senior Erica Covile
, and senior managers Shannon Haviland, Melynda Link, and Nacomi Mercer.Box Score (PDF)