PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/11/2019 – It is the first Big Five game of the season men or women. And when the Saint Joseph’s Hawks and the Temple Owls play each other feathers fly. Temple won the past three games, but they were all close. This one was another down to the wire game.
Saint Joseph’s played tough according to Hawks Coach Cindy Griffin, and came away with a 67 – 63 win at the Hagan Arena. It was the first win for the Hawks over the Owls since 2015. And just like most, the outcome was in doubt coming down the stretch.
“It was typical Big Five,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “Temple made a very good run in the second quarter and the fourth. We were a little helter-skelter handling their press. Our kids played tough, they played to win, made free throws down the stretch, and different players stepped up at different times.”
The Hawks would have to close it out at the foul line. Over the last five minutes SJU make 15 of 16 from the charity stripe. Guard Katie Jekot, who scored 15 points while making a perfect 8 for 8 from the line, converted 6 straight free throws after Temple cut the lead to 61 – 59 with just under 40 seconds left. This is a step forward in learning when a team closes out a game in such a manner.
“If you are making free throws down the stretch, you’re learning how to win games,” said Griffin. “We continued to be aggressive. It was a confidence booster.”
Saint Joe’s got 17 points from Claire Melia to go along with 9 rebounds. A good start for a freshman from Ireland in her first Big Five game. Point guard Lula Roig scored 13 points, took down 8 rebounds, and handed out 5 assists, both matching her career-best. Mary Sheehan added 13 points.
Saint Joe’s held the lead for most of the game. The Owls tried to get back into the game getting a faster pace on defense. It did get the Cherry and White close, but the Hawks kept their composure behind the play of Roig and Melia.
The foul line was critical. SJU was 27 of 31. TU was 21 of 32. The Owls were led by Mia Davis who scored a season-high 29 points going 8 of 18 from the floor and 12 of 16 from the free throw line. Davis also pulled down 6 boards. Ashley Jones added 16 points and a team-high 7 rebounds.
“We have to keep guys in front of us and not commit unnecessary fouls,” said Temple Coach Tonya Cardoza. “On the offensive end we settled for three’s instead of attacking. We need to take advantage of being aggressive.”
Because of the intensity, each team had a high turnover total. The Hawks had 24, the Owls 21.
Saint Joseph’s improves to 2 – 0 for the year and are 1 – 0 in the Big Five. It adds excitement when a city series game is this early in the year.
“We wanted to protect our home court,” said Griffin. “That is something we take pride in.”
Temple is 2 – 1 over the the campaign.
The Owls prepare for home games against Xavier on Thursday and UConn on Sunday. The Hawks travel to Seton Hall on Sunday.
Saint Joseph’s takes this edition of the typical Hawks – Owls battle.
Written By: Glenn Papazian