By Justin Thomas
Temple’s women’s basketball team had a rather successful season, however it also ended in heartbreak.
The Lady Owls went 24-8, only having four losses in conference play, finishing second in the American Athletic Conference behind powerhouse UCONN. The team played strong throughout the course of the season, going on a 12-game winning streak midway through. Temple actually was ranked for the better part of the second half of the season, reaching as high as #23 in the country. This was the first time Temple women’s basketball had been ranked since the 2005-2006 season. The women also clinched their tenth Big 5 title in school history, their first since 2010.
Temple ended the season winning two games in the American tournament and went into the NCAA tournament ranked as a seven seed. The Owls suffered a heartbreaking last second loss to #10 Oregon in the first round of the tournament.
Leading the Owls this year in scoring was senior, Feyonda Fitzgerald putting up just over a 17 ppg with junior Alliya Butts following closely behind with a 15.5 ppg. Fitzgerald in fact was named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-Region team. The senior guard will finish her career on Broad Street as a three-time All-Conference member and was also ranked top 10 in assists in the country this season. She even broke the record for most points scored in an AAC tournament game with 30. Fitzgerald wasn’t the only one making headlines for the Owls this season.
Tanaya Atkinson reached the 1,000 point mark in a win this season against ECU, and head coach Tonya Cardoza was awarded the Coach of the Year award for the American Conference. Cardoza has also been chosen as a national coach of the year candidate.