Temple moving on in the WNIT

WRITTEN BY: KEVIN SCHAEFFER @_kevinschaeffer

Temple went up early against Ohio University and never looked back. The Owls jumped to a 27-11 first quarter lead and paced Ohio the rest of the way winning 75-61. Next up for Temple is a game in Ann Arbor against Michigan in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament Elite Eight.

(Photo credit: Joseph V. Labolito)
Alliya Butts got the team’s momentum going from the start of the game. (Photo credit: Joseph V. Labolito)

Sophomore Alliya Butts started off the game hot, hitting two threes and making six foul shots in the first quarter. Butts alone had 12 points in the first outscoring Ohio singlehandedly.

“I thought Alliya did a great job defensively,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “[Alliya] got us going early on, making a couple of threes and getting to the free throw line.”

A big key to Temple’s win was limiting Ohio senior Kiyanna Black. Black averaged 18 points per game and had hit 126 threes, shooting 36.3 percent while doing so. Temple limited her to just 5 points and no threes made on five attempts.

“We did a really good job of shutting [Black] down, she’s the nation’s leading three-point shooter, and the fact that we held her to no threes was key for us,” Cardoza said. “The way Alliya and Feyonda [Fitzgerald] gave her trouble, and we were able to get her in foul trouble early.”

After Butts took over in the first half, the second half was junior Feyonda Fitzgerald’s turn. Fitzgerald scored 13 of her 22 points after the half.

“We just want to win,” Fitzgerald said. “We just want to win each game and I’ll do whatever I can to help and make sure we win the tournament.”

After the win against Ohio the Owls will play Michigan on Monday. This year’s tournament run has coach Cardoza getting some flashbacks.

“It’s like deja vu,” Cardoza said. “We were in the same spot last year coming home and winning the third game before going on the road for the Elite Eight. I’m just hoping this next game has a different result.”

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