Temple Women's Basketball
Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University

Women's Basketball

Women's Basketball Hosts #23 USF on Sunday

PHILADELPHIA -- The Temple women's basketball team looks for its 13th straight win on Sunday, hosting #23 USF at McGonigle Hall at 12:00 p.m. The match-up between the Owls (16-3, 6-0 American) and the Bulls (16-3, 5-1) will air live on CBS SportsNetwork. 

Sunday is Parent-Child lay-up day, so following the game action, kids 14 and under can score a basket on the court.

During the game, both the Temple and USF coaching staffs will be wearing sneakers for the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. A nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, coaches wear sneakers during games to raise awareness and help save lives by encouraging people to educate themselves about cancer prevention, screening, and early detection.

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Temple is 16-3 overall with a 6-0 mark in American Athletic Conference play. The Owls have won 12-straight games, a streak that began on December 10 with an 83-48 win at Villanova.

Four Temple players average in double-figures in scoring, led by senior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald's 18.1 points and 7.5 assists per contest, with the assist number ranked her sixth in the nation. Junior Alliya Butts averages 15.3 points per game with a team-best 32 steals. Junior Donnaizha Fountain averages 13.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, while classmate Tanaya Atkinson (12.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg) contributes on both ends of the floor.

Senior Ruth Sherrill has come on strong since breaking into the starting line-up and averages 5.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Junior Khadijah Berger averages 4.0 points and 2.9 boards per game, while senior Safiya Martin (2.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg) tops the team with 23 total blocks. 

Temple averages 71.5 points per game, giving up 59.2. The Owls shoot 40.1% from the field and 32.4% from long-range. Temple forces an average of 16.8 turnovers per game, and out-rebounds opponents by a +5.9 margin.

Temple won the 2017 Philadelphia Big 5 Championship with a 63-53 win at Penn on Wednesday night at the Palestra. Though the Owls led for over 35 minutes in the contest, Penn hung around in a gritty game, taking the lead 50-49 with 4:47 left in the fourth. Temple needed one more surge to keep its win streak alive, and the Owls did just that, going on a 12-2 run to finish out the victory. 

Junior Donnaizha Fountain led Temple with 20 points and 12 rebounds, recording her fourth double-double of the season, while also adding four steals. Senior Feyonda Fitzgerald notched 13 points and seven assists, while junior Tanaya Atkinson collected 12 points with nine boards. Junior Alliya Butts ended her night with 12 points, while senior Ruth Sherrill had eight rebounds. 

#23 USF enters the contest with a 16-3 overall record and a 5-1 mark in The American. Two out of the three losses for the Bulls have come against teams ranked in the Top 10 in both national polls (#1 UConn, #9 Louisville).

USF has three players in double-figures in scoring, led by Kitija Laksa's 19.6 points per game. Maria Jespersen averages 14.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest, while Ariadna Pujol adds 13.9 points and 6.6 boards per game. Laia Flores (9.3 ppg, 6.3 apg) and Tamara Henshaw (5.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg) round out the Bulls' starting five. 

As a team, USF shoots 43.7% from the field and 34.2% from long-range. The Bulls have a + 10.1 rebounding margin against opponents this season, and hold teams to an average of just 58.9 points per game.

Kitija Laksa scored nine of her game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, helping USF escape with a 52-51 road win over SMU on Wednesday night.

With the Bulls clinging to a 48-47 lead, the teams went scoreless for four minutes before SMU pulled back ahead with 2:25 left on the clock. Ariadna Pujol responded with a layup about 30 seconds later and a pair of Laksa free throws extended the USF lead to 52-49 with 50 seconds remaining. SMU got to within a point of USF and had a shot at the win, but missed a 3-pointer with three seconds left. 

Laksa was the only Bull in double figures in scoring, but USF out-rebounded SMU, 45-34. Maria Jespersen pulled down a game-high 13 boards, while Ariadna Pujol added seven.

USF leads the all-time series against Temple, 7-1. The Bulls claimed two of the three meetings last season, as each team won their home game, and USF also won in the American Athletic Conference semifinals. 

LAST TIME THEY MET: March 6, 2016 - USF 64, Temple 46
A fourth quarter drought doomed Temple as the third-seeded Owls fell to second-seeded USF, 64-46, in the American Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals. 

The Owls led as late as 3:58 in the third quarter, and faced just a six-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter. However, USF opened the fourth with a 15-2 run, backed by nine points from All-American Courtney Williams, to put the game out of reach. 

Tanaya Atkinson led the Owls in scoring with 17 points, also adding five rebounds, while senior Erica Covile had nine points and nine rebounds,. Alliya Butts had seven points, Feyonda Fitzgerald ended her night with six points and four assists, and Donnaizha Fountain had four points and six rebounds.

For USF, Williams scored 20 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to lead all players, while Shalethia Stringfield and Alisia Jenkins both added double-doubles.

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