The St. Bonaventure women's basketball team (14-2, 1-0) faces Temple, the team that ended the Bonnies’ 2011 Atlantic 10 playoff run, tonight at 7 o’clock in Philadelphia, with a chance to make a statement.
The Owls went 24-9 and 13-1 in the A-10 to make the NCAAA Tournament for an eighth straight season last year, beating the Bonnies, 75-56, in the conference semifinal.
This season, however, Temple (7-7, 1-0) has a .500 record, marked by a five-game losing streak in the second half of November. Of the Owls’ seven losses, four came against ranked major-conference foes: Ohio State, Texas A&M, Rutgers and Duke.
Senior guard Shey Peddy, a preseason A-10 first-team selection, leads Temple with a 15 points per game average on .425 percent shooting from the field and 33 percent three-point shooting.
“SHE’S GREAT going to the basket and also a very comfortable three-point shooter, especially from deep and just a terrific defensive, disruptive force for them,” Bona coach Jim Crowley said of Peddy. “She’s someone that we’ve really got to team-defend and work hard to not give her anything easy through transition or through her defense, which gives her a lot of opportunities. Kristen McCarthy, another senior guard and preseason A-10 first-team selection, leads the Owls with seven rebounds per game and averages 13 points.
“SHE’S GREATin transition, a terrific offensive rebounder and really has a very good mid-range game,” Crowley said of McCarthy. “She’ll do that coming off of screens; she’ll do that from the mid-post. “Those two are as good of a backcourt as there is in our league and will be a great challenge for us to defend.”
Crowley said Temple is working on its guard rotation.
“I don’t know if it’s trouble or it’s maybe not as high a level as it was last year,” he said. “Last year they had such a comfortable (rotation) and just really had kids playing at such a high level that it was really difficult to guard because all of them were so dangerous. I think they’re still coming to grips with that a bit, but the fact of the matter is they’re still very good. Their losses are to excellent, excellent teams.”
LAST SEASON’S A-10 coach of the year, Tonya Cardoza, spent 14 years as an assistant under Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma at Connecticut before taking the head job at Temple, where she has a 77-35 record.
“The first thing she does is she gets her kids to play so hard and they really, really come after you, especially defensively,” Crowley said of Cardoza. “Obviously she’s recruited well but the fact that the kids play so hard and have such a great concept of team play on both ends really is a tribute to her and her staff.”