Nikorak released by White Sox organization

Former Temple standout third baseman Steve Nikorak was released by the Chicago White Sox this weekend.

Nikorak was drafted by Chicago in the 32nd round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. He was let go by the organization just as the 2013 Draft wrapped up.

Nikorak is Temple’s all-time leader in hits with 228, and is tied for seventh for most games started with 182. He was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference first team his senior season, leading the Owls in in hits (62), doubles (14), home runs (7), runs scored (46) and RBIs (42).

The 25th Owl to ever be selected in the MLB Draft, Nikorak broke the news of his release on Twitter.

“Just wanted to thank everyone for their support and encouragement throughout my career,” Nikorak tweeted. “I love you all and none of this would have been possible without my family and friends. When one door closes the next one opens.”

Women’s basketball to face No. 3 Fordham in A-10 semis

Heading into tomorrow’s semifinal round match-up, No. 3 seed Fordham will look to avoid becoming Temple’s latest upset in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament.

The Rams (23-7, 12-2 A-10) advanced following a blowout 65-48 win against No. 11 Saint Louis, just a couple hours after the Owls (13-17, 5-9 A-10) upset No. 2 Charlotte, 48-47.

“I’m trying to not get too excited [over the Saint Louis win] because we have to play a really good Temple team,” Fordham coach Stephanie Gaitley said. “We have a very difficult 40 minutes ahead of us against a well-coached and a really strong Temple team.”

Ironically, these teams met just last Sunday, March 3 in what was the regular season finale for both sides. Fordham came out on top at McGonigle Hall, 58-44.

Fordham presented a balanced scoring attack with four players finishing in double figures. Redshirt-junior guard Erin Rooney led the way with 15 points, followed by grad student forward Marah Strickland with 14, freshman forward Samantha Clark with 11, and junior guard Abigail Corning with 10.

“We played very well to beat Temple on their court,” Gaitley said. “But again, they beat a really good Charlotte team.”

Temple senior center Victoria Macaulay and freshman forward Sally Kabengano combined for 28 of the Owls’ 44 points in last week’s loss to the Rams.

Things have perked up for the Owls since then, however. Coach Tonya Cardoza’s squad has proved itself worthy of Gaitley’s praise, as Temple has knocked off No. 7 seed Xavier and a Charlotte (24-5, 13-1 A-10) team that breezed through the A-10 during the regular season.

Gaitley said Fordham tries to not put too much thought into who it’s opposing, a strategy that has worked just fine thus far into the season.

“We made a point all year to have a blank uniform in front of us,” Gaitley said. “Right now the focus is just getting some rest, breaking down film, getting comfortable with things, and getting ready for a tough 40 minutes.”

Owls secure conference tournament spot

The Owls are losers of four straight but have somehow backpedaled their way to an Atlantic 10 Conference tournament berth.

As Virginia Commonwealth came up short of an upset over Charlotte tonight, Temple officially clinched a spot in the A10 tournament. With the Owls’ record standing at (12-16, 5-8 A-10) and only one game remaining in the regular season, VCU (10-18, 3-10 A-10) was the only team that could have overtaken their spot in the tournament, but that is no longer the case after the Rams lost 63-54 to the second-place 49ers (23-4, 12-1 A-10).

Temple currently holds the 10th seed in the conference standings, and unless the Owls can knock off third-place Fordham (21-7, 11-2 A-10) on Sunday, they’ll finish either 10th or 11th. If the standings remain as is, Temple’s first round opponent would be Richmond (16-13, 6-7 A-10), a team the Owls beat by 13 earlier in the season. However, it’s possible that either George Washington (12-15, 6-7 A-10) or Xavier (12-15, 6-7 A-10) could bump up to take Richmond’s place as the 7th seed. If Temple falls to the 11th spot, they will likely take on Buter (17-11, 8-5 A-10) in the first round. The Owls are coming off a 59-54 loss at the hands of the Bulldogs just last night.

This weekend’s match-ups will go a long way in determining the seeding. The A-10 tournament begins Friday, March 8 at St. Joe’s.


Tyler Sablich can be reached at or on Twitter @TySablich.

Temple looks to claim A-10 berth

With its back up against the wall, the women’s basketball team has traveled to Indianapolis for an important game against Butler tonight.

Temple (12-15, 5-7 A-10) is clinging to ninth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference with just two games remaining, and a conference tournament berth is in jeopardy if the Owls cannot salvage at least one more win. The Owls would clinch a berth if they were to win their last two match-ups, but consecutive wins against sixth-place Butler (16-11, 7-5 A-10) and third-place Fordham (20-7, 10-2 A-10) will be no easy feat.

However, Butler is coming off a blowout loss to a Richmond team that Temple beat handily on Jan. 31. The Bulldogs also lost 82-39 to first-place Dayton, against whom the Owls held their own against earlier this week. While Butler has locked up an A-10 tournament spot, the consistency hasn’t always been there this season.

Junior forward Daress McClung is in the midst of a very strong season, averaging 16.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game to lead the Bulldogs in both of those categories. Sophomore guard Taylor Schippers, 12.7 points per game, and sophomore center Liz Stratman, 11.6 points per game, also average in double-figures.

A clear advantage Butler holds over Temple is the fact that the Owls are just 4-11 on the road this season. However, the Owls have played their best basketball against formidable opponents and the Bulldogs have proved themselves beatable.

Temple will look to take a step toward an A-10 tournament berth at Butler at 7 p.m.

Temple faces must-win

The women’s basketball team is set to take on Xavier, Feb. 20 in a must-win game.

The Owls (12-13, 5-5) remain two wins away from clinching an Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament berth, and the Musketeers (9-15, 3-7) present the easiest match-up on paper in Temple’s final four games. Following tonight, the Owls’ opponents get much more difficult with the likes of Dayton, Butler and Fordham. Temple will also look to avoid losing two straight games for the first time in more than a month.

Xavier has had its fair share of struggles this season, but the Musketeers come into McGonigle Hall with two straight wins under their belts. This includes a victory over a LaSalle team that beat Temple by 16 points on Jan. 27. Xavier’s offensive attack is led by redshirt-senior forward Amber Gray, who is averaging 11.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Junior guard Ashley Wanninger and redshirt-senior forward Jessica Pachko each average 9.5 points per game.

At the very least, this game is an important one for the Owls in terms of their confidence. Even if they fail to pull out two more wins in their final four games, there’s still a chance they make the conference tournament with some significant help. However, a loss to Xavier on its home court this late in the season could break Temple’s spirit.

Temple and Xavier will tip off at 7 p.m. at McGonigle Hall.

Owls set to take on Rhode Island in Wednesday matinee

Coming off a win over St. Louis that coach Tonya Cardoza called one of the best overall performances the Owls have put together all season, Temple has shifted its focus to tomorrow’s matinee against Rhode Island.

            The Owls (11-12, 4-4) beat the Billikens 54-50 on Sunday Feb. 10, where four starters finished in double-figures. Senior center Victoria Macaulay had 16 points and a career-high nine blocks. Freshman forward Sally Kabengano, freshman guard Meghan Roxas, and redshirt-junior forward Natasha Thames all finished with 11 points each. Sophomore point guard Tyonna Williams went 0-for-10 from the floor, but set up her teammates all game in route to ten assists.

            Rhode Island (5-7, 0-7) is a young squad in the midst of a dismal season. The Rams have lost eleven straight games and and 12 of their last 14, with their latest defeat coming against Butler on Thursday Feb. 7. Freshman guard Tayra Melendez leads them in scoring, averaging 11 points per game. Sophomore guard Samantha Tabakman averages 8.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

            Temple has had its most success playing on North Broad, going 7-3 between the Liacouras Center and McGonigle Hall this season. Rhode Island, meanwhile, is 0-8 on the road.

            The Owls and Rams will tip off at 12 pm on Wednesday Feb. 13 at the Liacouras Center.


Horton removed from team

Freshman forward Leah Horton has been told she won’t be rejoining the women’s basketball team this season, as confirmed by head coach Tonya Cardoza.

Cardoza said Horton’s conditioning and lackadaisical work ethic are the primary reasons why she will no longer be practicing or traveling with the Owls for the foreseeable future.

Horton played in just three games this season, a transition year for the Owls in which five other freshmen have seen significant playing time. Horton last played on Dec. 6 against Kent State. She played a career-high 18 minutes against Seton Hall on Nov. 14, recording three points and five rebounds.

While she is no longer welcome back this season, Cardoza said she has not ruled out the possibility of Horton returning to the team next fall.


Tyler Sablich can be reached at or on Twitter @TySablich.

Covile dislocates knee

Freshman forward Erica Covile suffered a dislocated knee in practice last week and could be lost for the remainder of the season.

The injury occurred in the days leading up to Temple’s trip to Duquesne, when a teammate inadvertently fell on Covile in practice and twisted her knee.

Covile has started six games this season as a rookie, averaging five points and four rebounds per game on the year. She scored a career-high 13 points in a win over Western Michigan on Jan. 7.

Although coach Tonya Cardoza has not officially shut her down for good, Covile said a doctor told her the recovery time will be about two months. If that timetable proves accurate, she’ll be unable to play again this season.

Stephens to represent Temple on Legends team

In the wake of the 2013 Atlantic 10 in-conference season, which begun just days ago, the Inaugural Women’s Basketball Legends team has been announced, with Marilyn Stephens being recognized as Temple’s representative.

The A-10 has named 16 former players worthy of being honored for their contributions while playing for their respected A-10 basketball programs.

Stephens, currently the women’s basketball coach at Cheyney University, is Temple’s all-time leader in points (2,194), rebounds (1,519), blocked shots (342), blocks per game (2.9), field goals (919), and free throws (356). She was named Team Kodak All-American in 1984 and was the A-10 Player of the Year in both 1983 and 1984. As the team’s leader, Stephens led the Owls to a fifth-place finish in the WNIT in 1982, followed by a seventh-place finish in 1983. She was inducted in the Temple Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995.

The Women’s Basketball Legends will be honored on March 16 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Each institution selected its Legend, a group that represents ten U.S. states, one foreign country, six former All-Americans, and three former academic All-Americans.




The announcement of the Legends honorees comes on the evening of Temple’s A-10 home opener against VCU, three days removed from the Owls win over conference rival St. Bonaventure. The Owls (7-8) will look to win three games in a row for the first time this season, a feat that may have seemed unimaginable less than two weeks ago when it was in the midst of a six-game losing skid.

VCU is 7-9 on the season and is coming off a loss to St. Louis in its first in-conference game of the season. Much like Temple, VCU has seen its fair share of ups and downs throughout the year. The Rams have not won back-to-back games since Dec. 8. Junior forward Robyn Parks has been solid all season, averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Jessica Pellechio has shown great promise as a rookie, averaging 13 points per game while playing the second most minutes on the team.

Temple is coming off two consecutive games in which they have forced more turnovers than committed, an issue that has plagued them until recently. In Sunday’s win over the Bonnies, senior center Victoria Macaulay recored her seventh double-double of the season, scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Freshman guard Erica Covile and sophomore guard Tyonna Williams finished in double-figures with 11 points each.

The recent decline in turnovers can be much accredited to Williams, the team’s starting point guard, who has zero turnovers compared to 16 assists the last two games. Williams, who coach Tonya Cardoza recognizes as competitive and hard working, has shown significant progress as of late as a two-guard turned point guard.

Temple and VCU will tip off at 7 p.m. at the Liacouras Center.


Tyler Sablich can be reached at or on Twitter @TySablich.

Women’s basketball to begin conference play

The women’s basketball team halted a month-long losing streak just in time for the beginning of Atlantic-10 Conference play.

In the midst of a six-game losing skid, the Owls (6-8) snapped out of their funk last Monday, beating Western Michigan 68-41. Today, Temple will tip off against St. Bonaventure (7-8) in its first in-conference game of the season.

After a team meeting following their loss to Howard, Temple erupted against Western Michigan, finishing with four players in double-figures. Senior center Victoria Macaulay led the way with 22 points and six rebounds on 11-of-19 shooting from the field. For the first time this season the Owls forced more turnovers than they committed, finishing with 12 giveaways compared to Western Michigan’s 16.

St. Bonaventure has also struggled of late, losing eight of their last twelve games after a 4-0 start to the season. Their latest game resulted in a 61-42 losing effort against Green Bay.

The Bonnies have two players averaging in double-figures. Junior forward Doris Ortega leads the Bonnies in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 11.5 points and 6.1 boards per game. Junior guard CeCe Dixon enters play averaging 10.5 points per game.

After spending all six games of their losing streak away on the road, the Owls made a triumphant return to Philadelphia against Western Michigan. However, Temple, which is 1-7 on the road, will travel to Olean, N.Y. to face the Bonnies before returning home again on Wednesday Jan. 16 to face VCU.

Coach Tonya Cardoza said following the Western Michigan game that, despite the win, she anticipates the rest of the season may continue to be a challenge for her young club. The A-10 consists of five teams that have already reached double-digit wins before even beginning in-conference play (Dayton, Charlotte, Duquesne, Fordham, and Richmond), as well as two others that have nine wins (St. Joe’s and Butler).

Temple and St. Bonaventure will tip off A-10 play at 1 p.m.


Tyler Sablich can be reached at or on Twitter @TySablich.