WRITTEN BY: MELISSA PAYAVIS
The Owls led the SMU Mustangs the entire night on Wednesday during the “Play4Kay” cancer fundraiser game. The night benefitted the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, in honor of the late NC State head coach, with all players and coaches wearing pink to show their support.
Temple started off hot with a 19-4 first quarter, giving them the momentum to stay in control for the entire game. SMU didn’t give up, however, putting up 15, 16, and 17 points in each of the last three quarters.
“Obviously I wish we would’ve done a better job defensively after having a quarter like that, and then pretty much they beat us the second, third and fourth quarter,” Coach Cardoza said.
The Owls yet again forced more turnovers, with SMU giving up the ball 19 times, compared to Temple’s seven. There were just two attempts from downtown by SMU, both of which saw no results. The Mustangs narrowly outscored the Owls in the third and fourth quarters, but SMU’s early struggles dug the team into a hole that it couldn’t climb out of.
Donnaizha Fountain notched her second double-double in a row; sixth of the season. She scored 19 points and grabbed up 12 rebounds.
Tanaya Atkinson notched 12 points, surpassing LaKeisha Eaddy for the 17th spot on Temple’s all-time scoring list.
For the first time since the 2005-06 season, Temple has been nationally ranked at #25 by the USA Today Coaches Poll. This is also the Owls’ seventh 20-win season in their nine years under Cardoza. Cardoza is not one to bask in milestones, and has made it clear that the team is not planning on stopping here.
“We still have a few more games left, taking it one game at a time, and we just got to win the games that we’re supposed to win and not have any slip ups along the way,” Cardoza said.
Prior to the game, Temple was tied with USF for second in the conference behind UConn. With this victory, the Owls have reached 10 conference wins on the season. The standings will be tested as the Owls travel to USF on Sunday at 1 p.m.