Tomorrow’s result could have serious implications for both teams in regards to not only the A-10 standings but also for the NCAA Tournament. Temple and Dayton were both picked as co-favorites to win the A-10 conference but neither has played up to its full potential, especially Temple.
Temple comes into the game struggling as they have a 7-8 record and are 1-1 in conference play. And even in their victory against conference foe Richmond, Temple struggled mightily throughout the game and it took a last second shot by Kristen McCarthy for Temple to win 56-55.
So to say that Temple is not playing their best basketball is probably being generous to say the least. And with a RPI of 75, this game could go far when it comes to short and long term fate of Temple.
For Temple to defeat Dayton at Dayton Arena on Sunday, Temple’s best player, McCarthy who is the A-10’s reigning player of the week has to have a huge game. The 6-foot senior guard from La Puente, CA has gotten off to a great start in conference play as she’s averaging 19.5 points, 9 rebounds and is shooting 47% from the field. She single handily took over the game at Richmond by scoring Temple’s last six points including the game winner with 5.9 seconds left.
McCarthy’s versatility and great skill set makes her a tough match up for any defense and someone that Dayton is going to have to look to contain to win this game.
Also, Temple’s second best player, Shey Peddy, has to play better in this game as she’s struggled in the past couple of games. Peddy, who is usually an efficient three point shooter, has shot a combined 4-for-15 the last two games, which is only 26% since conference play has started. Also, the post players from Temple will have to step up and win the rebounding battle and be solid offensively to offset the balanced scoring from Dayton.
Dayton comes into this game on a hot streak and playing some of their best basketball all season. They have won their last 4 games by a margin of 21 points per game after a very close defeat to #22/23 Gonzaga in late December.
"I think we’re really locked in and focused right now defensively," said Dayton coach Jim Jabir. "And that’s been the difference from the beginning of the year to now."
Dayton is led by preseason Wooden Award nominee and their all everything player, Justine Raterman. Raterman comes into the game averaging 14.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. But it’s been the surprising play of freshman Andrea Hoover, who is second in the team in scoring, that has Dayton playing at an even higher level. Hoover is averaging 10.4 points per game and their most prized recruit, Ally Malott who was a McDonald’s All American is third in scoring with 7.4 points.
Dayton’s offensive balance and their defense will be the keys to victory against Temple. Their defense in conference play is holding their opponents to just 48 points per contest. If Dayton is to win this game, they will have to limit any extra production from Temple’s role players and doing their best to limit McCarthy and Peddy. Dayton will also have to do a great job of handling the press and defensive on ball pressure that they are surely going to see from Temple.
Other players to watch for Temple:
BJ Williams - The 5-7 senior point guard is averaging 7.1 points and a team-high, 4.1 assists per game.
Brittany Lewis - Her ability to stretch the defense with her three point shooting will be key in this game. Lewis averages 8.6 points per game.
Victoria Macaulay - Her athleticism and length at 6-4 will be an asset in this game. In the past three games, McCauley is averaging 10.6 rebounds.
Other players to watch for Dayton:
- Patrice Lalor - The senior point guard is steady as she's averaging 6.1 points and 4.1 assists.
- Cassie Sant - She's averaging 7.1 points and leads the team in Field Goal Percentage at 47%.