Temple is expected to finish fourth in the American Athletic Conference, based on a preseason coaches poll compiled at The American’s media day Thursday at the New York Athletic Club.
The Owls are tied for the fourth spot with Tulane, as both teams received 67 points in the poll.
Sophomore guard Feyonda Fitzgerald was also named as a preseason All-Conference selection by American coaches, after averaging 12.9 points and 3.9 assists per game in her freshman season.
UConn, which will be starting the 2014-15 season at No. 1 in the Associated Press Top-25 poll, is the favorite to win the conference, receiving 10 of 11 first-place votes in the poll.
East Carolina came in third with 72 points, and USF in second with 91 points.
Temple finished the 2013-14 campaign at 14-16, and lost to USF, 72-44, in the quarterfinals of the conference championship.
The Owls will open up their season with a Big 5 matchup Nov. 14 at home against La Salle.
On March 4., freshman guard Feyonda Fitzgerald earned weekly honors from the American Athletic Conference and the Philadelphia Big 5.
For the fifth time this season, Fitzgerald was named The American Freshman of the Week, while she also earned Big 5 weekly honor roll honors for the fourth time this year
In two consecutive conference road games against Rutgers and Central Florida, Fitzgerald averaged 13.5 points per game, while shooting 8-for-10 from the free throw line. The freshman guard also tied a team-high in points in the Owls’ regular season finale against Houston, scoring 16.
Fitzgerald ended the regular season as Temple’s leading scorer, averaging 12.6 points and four assists.
This week, freshman guard Feyonda Fitzgerald was named to the American Athletic Conference and Philadelphia Big 5 Honor Rolls.
Collectively, Fitzgerald has now been honored by The American and Big 5 on eight separate occasions, including four American Freshman of the Week honors, being named to the Big 5 Honor Roll three times, and making it onto the American Honor Roll once.
In Temple’s most recent game, a loss to visiting South Florida, Fitzgerald was the Owls’ offensive leader, recording 23 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Against the Bulls, Fitzgerald shot 8 of 21, and was perfect from the charity stripe on seven attempts.
Fitzgerald has been an offensive threat for the Owls since her first collegiate start, averaging 12.4 points and four assists, which both lead the team.
Feyonda Fitzgerald was announced as the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday, her fourth such honor of the season. She was also named to the Big 5 Honor Roll for the week.
The freshman guard adds the pair of honors to a credentials list that will likely warrant strong consideration for The American’s Freshman of the Year award at season’s end.
Temple’s leading scorer through 19 games with 13.5 points per game, Fitzgerald led the Owls (10-9, 4-4 The American) with 25 points and nabbed seven rebounds in Temple’s 74-68 loss to Rutgers on Saturday.
Temple (7-5, 1-1) will host its second straight American Athletic Conference game, as the Owls face the Central Florida Knights (8-5, 1-1) on Saturday in McGonigle Hall at 2 p.m.
Both Temple and UCF will look to redeem itselves in Saturday’s matchup after being overmatched against conference powerhouses #7 Louisville and #1 Connecticut respectively. Though Temple’s 77-68 loss to Louisville was by single digits, the Cardinals held comfortable double digit leads throughout regulation and forced freshman guard Feyonda Fitzgerald into her first scoreless outing as an Owl.
Temple’s most productive player in recent weeks has been sophomore guard Erica Covile, who has scored in double figures in five consecutive games. During that five game span, Covile has averaged 13.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks.
For UCF, sophomore guard Briahanna Jackson has posted more than 20 points in two conference matchups this year, scoring 28 points in a loss to UConn. Jackson’s 28 points are the most points scored against the Huskies by a single player this season.
The game between the Owls and Knights will be the second time the teams have faced each other in program history since 1995. In the 1995 meeting, UCF defeated Temple 84-66 at home.