By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Just two Division I teams in the city are still playing basketball. Both the Temple and Villanova women’s squads are into the Sweet 16 of the WNIT with both looking to advance tonight.
Temple will be home at McGonigle Hall to host Syracuse out of the Big East while Villanova is on the road tonight to run with Colorado out of the Pac 12.
Temple’s road to this point has featured wins over Quinnipiac (75-60) and Harvard (64-59). Now the Owls were on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament after getting upset in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and that bubble burst, but head coach Tonya Cardoza says they did not dwell on that disappointment.
“No, not at all. We’re just excited to still be playing basketball. This is an opportunity for our seniors to continue to play and our young guys to get more experience. Obviously, it was a little disappointing, but we put it in someone else’s hands and now we control our own destiny and we’re out here to try and win this tournament.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Tonya Cardoza:
One of those seniors for the Owls is Shey Peddy who is capping off a wonderful college career. The 5’7″ guard was named the Atlantic 10 Player and Defensive Player of the Year this season. She’s aware that from here on out every game could be her last, but she isn’t focusing on it.
“I try to push that aside because the last thing you want to have in the back of your head is, ‘this might be my last game’. So you just want to go out and give all you can and once the game is over hopefully your team is on top because the day that we lose it’s going to be really hard for us to handle.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Shey Peddy:
Temple is 23-9 heading into this one.
Villanova is 19-14 as they visit Colorado for their 3rd round match-up. The Wildcats got here by beating American and Illinois State. The road win at Illinois State is especially impressive because Villanova pulled it off without leading scorer and rebounder Laura Sweeney, who missed the game with an injured hand and will be out again tonight. Wildcats head coach Harry Perretta talks about how they’ve overcome the absence of the talented junior.
“Some other kids have stepped up. Emily Leer has stepped up, Taylor Holeman and Emily Suhey have taken Laura’s spot at the center position. All three of them have kind of been taking her spot. They’ve done a very good job of making up for the scoring and rebounding that we lost.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Harry Perretta:
As for the match-up with Colorado.
“They are a very good offensive team,” Perretta says. “They push the ball, they throw the ball inside. My concern is that they have strong inside players, which concerns me without Sweeney. But overall they are a very good offensive team, decent defensive team and they’ve just got a lot of skilled players.”
Villanova tips off at 9:00pm. The Temple game will start at 7:00pm.