WRITTEN BY: KEVIN SCHAEFFER @_kevinschaeffer
The University of Connecticut won their sixty-first consecutive game against Temple in front of the largest crowd in Pearson-McGonigle hall, beating them 85-60. The Owls kept the game close until Connecticut took over in the fourth quarter.
The first quarter was mostly controlled by Connecticut, but Temple never let the game get away from them early on answering every run ending the quarter down seven, 23-16.
The second quarter was where things got interesting. Including a sequence where sophomore guard Donnaizha Fountain blocked the defending Player of the Year Breanna Stewart, and then immediately hit a three-pointer to give Temple the lead.
“I was so excited with the atmosphere,” Fountain said. “I don’t even know what I was doing I was just feeling good in the flow of the game.”
That sequence prompted Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma to call a timeout, which was much to the surprise of Temple coach Tonya Cardoza.
“After he called the timeout I brought everyone in the huddle and told them we must’ve done something good,” Cardoza said. “I mean [Auriemma] never calls a timeout and we were able to get him to call one.”
Connecticut, however, was able to get some separation to end the half going on a 10-0 run over the final four minutes to go into half up 40-30.
“I can’t name one thing we did better than Temple in the first half,” Auriemma said. “Other than the fact we had three All-Americans on the court and they didn’t.”
The second half opened with both teams shooting well, with sophomore guard Alliya Butts and Fountain leading Temple’s offense. Fountain finished with 15 points, and Butts finished with 14.
“I thought we started the second half, particularly offensively, I looked up and saw we had 15 points in six minutes,” Auriemma said. “But then I looked up again and saw that so did Temple.”
In the fourth quarter was where Connecticut pulled away, outscoring Temple 21-10 in the final frame. Temple was held to just 22.2 percent shooting in the quarter.
“I think [Connecticut’s] size was a big part of it,” Fountain said. “We tried staying with them physically but they’re just bigger.”
Losing by 25 may seem like a blowout, but against Connecticut it looks better than most. Connecticut has won all of their games by double digits, many of which have been by 30 or more including their win over Temple in January.
“I’m super excited with the way my team performance I felt for three and a half quarters we really competed, and really worked hard,” Cardoza said. “We knew we were going up against the giant, and the best team in the country, and we gave them all we had.”