Owls to play eight straight home games

The Owls have just announced yet another change to their schedule, the third time in the past week.

Temple is now set to host St. Francis in a double-header beginning at noon.

The Owls’ original home opener was scheduled for Tuesday against Delaware State. Now they will be at home for eight straight games.

In the past week the Owls double-header against Iona was rescheduled due to possible inclement weather while Friday’s series opener against La Salle was moved to today, making a double header.

Temple will now play four games in just over 24 hours and six games in four days.

Following postponed game, Owls set to begin regular season schedule

The Owls will give it one more go to start their non-tournament season schedule.

Temple (6-13) will try and get in a double-header today after a postponed double-header against Iona Wednesday and a surprise postponement before the first pitch yesterday against La Salle (9-6).

Temple hasn’t played since its final game of the City of Clearwater Spring Invitational on March 17 despite having three games planned before what was supposed to be one game today.

Now the Owls head to La Salle to take on the Explorers at 1 p.m., with the second game starting shortly after the conclusion of the first.

Coach Joe DiPietro’s squad will be looking to snap a four-game skid but will need help from a pitching staff that has struggled throughout the season with a 7.06 earned run average. Only freshman Dominik Kelsey has below a three ERA, in 34.2 innings of work. She’s also the only one with multiple wins, boasting a record of 3-1 on the season.

The double-header marks the first time the Owls will play this season close to home, after spending the first 19 games at tournaments in Florida and North Carolina.

Softball game postponed

Due to the potential for inclement weather Temple’s double-header today against Iona has been postponed until April 30.

The decision was announced yesterday and the makeup games will still be played in new Rochelle, N.Y.

Currently weather.com is reporting temperatures in the low 40’s, partly cloudy with 16 mph winds. However there is only a 10 percent chance of rain the rest of the day. Snow flurries won’t begin until tomorrow.

Temple is currently 6-13 on the season after finishing their tournament schedule, in which it competed in four.

The Owls don’t play at home until March 26 in a double-header against Delaware State.

The games against Iona would have been the team’s first non-tournament contests of the season, but now that will have to wait. The Owls new regular season opener will be at La Salle on Friday as part of a two-game series with the Explorers.

The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Women need to sweep tournament to make postseason

Barring a miracle, the Owls season will end whenever they are knocked out of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.

With a 12-17 record (5-9 in the A-10) Temple cannot earn a Women’s National Invitation Tournament berth. Teams are only offered a bid in the tournament if they have a record above .500.

Temple’s only hope of playing after the conference tournament is to sweep through it and win the championship. Their record alone keeps them out of the NCAA Tournament unless they earn an automatic berth by winning the conference.

The task in itself will be daunting. If Temple were to advance past their opening round match against seventh-seeded Xavier (13-15, 7-7 in the A-10) they will face Charlotte (22-7, 12-2 in the A-10). They knocked off the Owls in the season finale already, 58-44.

After that Temple would face the winner of the Fordham and Butler/Saint Louis game in the semifinals. Temple wouldn’t face regular season champion Dayton (27-1, 14-0 in the A-10) until the championship round, if they get that far.

Regardless, the Owls’ chance of making the NCAA Tournament is a long shot.

Women face easiest remaining test in Xavier

When the Owls take on Xavier Wednesday, it will mark the final time this season that the they face a team with a sub-.500 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

On paper, Temple’s easiest chance for one more win comes against the Musketeers as they look to lock up a seed in the A-10 Tournament. The Owls lost Sunday to crosstown rival St. Joseph’s, keeping their magic number for a postseason berth at two.

The Musketeers don’t have the firepower of recent opponents. Led by redshirt-senior forward Amber Gray, who averages 11.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, Xavier is scoring 60.4 points per game.

However, three other players average at least nine points per game.

One of Temple’s strengths is shutting down the marquee player on a team’s roster and forcing another player or players to beat them. But the Musketeers don’t provide that opportunity for the Owls.

The game is the second to last home game the Owls have this season. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Owls need three wins

If Temple can pull off three more wins in the Atlantic 10 Conference, where it’s currently 4-4, they lock up a spot in the A-10 Tournament.

Temple holds tiebreakers over St. Bonaventure and Richmond, meaning their magic number the rest of the way is three. Virginia Commonwealth University is 2-7 but holds the tiebreaker over the Owls.

Assuming they defeat Xavier and Rhode Island (a combined 1-14 in the A-10), the Owls must beat one of the following: Dayton, St. Joseph’s, Butler or Fordham. That secures them a spot in the postseason.

Without three wins the Owls need serious help to get into the tournament.

Three of their remaining six games are at home, against Rhode Island, Xavier and Fordham.

Women failing to build streak

Wednesday’s loss to Charlotte (17-4, 6-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference) marked the fourth time this season the Owls failed to build a three-game winning streak.

Temple (10-12, 3-4 in the A-10) knocked off Richmond and Massachusetts in back-to-back games before falling to the Rams 66-43. On three other occasions this season the Owls came into a game with two wins in a row and promptly lost.

Back in November they dropped Seton Hall and Northeastern before falling to Rutgers at home 66-50. They followed that up with wins over Bowling Green and Syracuse before being upset by Kent State 71-62. Then after going winless for a month Temple defeated Western Michigan and St. Bonaventure before Virginia Commonwealth handed them a 53-51 loss.

The Owls have followed up back-to-back wins by losing by an average of 12.5 points the next game. With just seven games remaining in the regular season the Owls won’t be able to match their 13-game and 15-game winning streaks from the previous two years.

Coach Tonya Cardoza’s record of at least one five-game winning streak in a season is also in jeopardy if they Owls can’t string a few together.

Temple has winnable games against Saint Louis Sunday and Rhode Island next week before they face a 16-5 (7-0 in the A-10) S.t Joseph’s squad, setting up yet another possibility of not winning three straight.

It’s not exactly the road map this team had in mind.


Temple set to take on La Salle

When the Owls host La Salle on Sunday it will be their third Big 5 battle of the season.

Temple (8-10, 1-1 in the Big 5) and La Salle (5-13, 0-2 in the Big 5) have very little to play for in the quest to be crown Philadelphia’s best as Villanova (15-3, 4-0 in the Big 5) has already clinched the title.

Temple dropped their matchup against the Wildcats 55-44 in Villanova on Dec. 21.  All that the Owls can hope for at this point is a second-place finish. The current standings are as follows:

Villanova: 4-0
St. Joseph’s: 1-1
Temple: 1-1
Penn: 1-3
La Salle: 0-2

Only three games remain in the city series. After Sunday’s pairing Temple travels to face the Hawks in what will likely decide the runner-up on Feb. 17. Three days later the Hawks host the Explorers in the Big 5 finale.

If Temple wins Sunday they must defeat St. Joe’s to finish one game behind Villanova. While they won’t have a shot at the title again this year—Villanova won last year as well—coach Tonya Cardoza and company surely won’t want to finish worse than second.

The Owls will be without breakout freshman guard Erica Covile against La Salle, who Tyler Sablich reported has a dislocated knee and will be out for at least two months.

Fowards see more action

Freshman guard Erica Covile finally established herself as a mainstay in the Owls’ lineup, but an untimely knee injury ended that after just four games.

Now coach Tonya Cardoza is one more player down (sophomore guard Monaye Merritt has been out all season with a torn ACL) and has to make yet another lineup adjustment.

For now Cardoza seems to want a timeshare with freshman forwards Sally Kabengano and Jacquilyn Jackson. Kabengano has started most of the year at the three position. Jackson has only just begun to establish herself after a slow start adjusting to the college game.

So here’s what the Owls are losing from Covile in the last four games she played before missing Wednesday’s contest with Penn. Covile was a balanced and more physical three than Temple has been accustomed to, scoring 7.25 points while grabbing 7.25 rebounds per game. She also shot 38.7 percent from the field but is not a three point shooter, with zero connections from downtown.

On the flipside Cardoza gets 7.8 points per game (over the course of the season) and 4.6 rebounds per game from the Kabengano-Jackson combination. And while the duo shoots just 32 percent they also shoot 36 percent from three-point territory.

So the Owls will lack a more physical presence in Covile but get a little more multi-dimensional on offense with Kabengano and Jackson.