The UConn Huskies have been hot for 96 straight games for a reason. They are efficient while being able to intimidate their opponents, when home and away. “Playing against UConn…they show you every night why they are great,” says Coach Cardoza. While most teams do not have the privilege to play the top team in the country, the Owls have been granted that luxury and burden to go against one of the most dominant dynasties in all of sports. Cardoza explains how, “…it is an incentive, we get to play on national television more than we’ve ever had, so that’s an incentive. People get to watch us on TV, and enjoy our style of play, so I love that my team gets to play against them…”
First Impressions Are Important:
To a lot of people, the game was over after the first half. Temple shot 23.5% from the field in the second quarter and 15.8% in the first, for a first half combination of 19.65%. The Huskies on the other hand shot 71.4% and 83.3% in the opening quarters of t
he game. Temple only had 8 made shots in the entire first half, including foul shots. UConn had 10 in the first quarter, not including their 5-6 from the free throw line. The Huskies were able to lock down on Temple’s leading scorer Feyonda Fitzgerald, whom averages 17 ppg, she was held to just 7 points (3-16 FG, 1-6 3PA).
Greatness Doesn’t Quit:
Despite struggling from all over in the first half, Temple came out fired up to start the second. Their shooting improved to 64.7% from the field, while UConn’s dropped to below 50%. The Owls won the third quarter 29-22, and responded with a combined 51 point second half to UConn’s 45 point second half. Head Coach of the UConn Huskies, Geno Auriemma, acknowledged their tenacity and said, “…it would have been easy to come out, down 30 at half time and lose by 6
5. They didn’t stop competing. They didn’t stop playing. They didn’t stop attacking us at both ends of the floor, and those kids play with a certain competitive spirit.”
Geno and Cardoza:
Cardoza and Coach Auriemma are by no means strangers. Cardoza coached under Auriemma for 14 seasons at the University of Connecticut, and helped lead the Huskies to five national titles. Auriemma praises Cardoza for her ability to win in a competitive city. He says, “When you look at their team, and you look at the way they play, and how hard they compete, and she’s won an awful lot of games here, and I think a big statement about Tonya [Cardoza] is the way their team played in the second half…and I think that’s a direct reflection on Tonya and her coaching staff.”
Catch Them Next:
The Owls are headed down South to take on The Tulane Green Wave on February 5th, tip-off is set for 2pm. The Owls are now 6-2 in the AAC, ranking no.3 under USF and UConn. They are looking to increase their 16-5 record to 17-5 overall this Sunday.