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.”