PHILADELPHIA – Sophomore guard Katie Jekot hit eight consecutive free throws in the final 1:07 to close out a phenomenal effort by the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team in a 67-63 Big 5 victory over Temple at Hagan Arena on Monday evening. Freshman forward Claire Melia recorded a team-high 17 points and game-high nine rebounds while junior guards Lula Roig and Mary Sheehan added 13 points apiece.
The win marks SJU's first victory over Temple since November 29, 2015 and first home victory over Temple since November 18, 2014 as the Hawks improve to 2-0 (1-0 Big 5) on the year; the Owls fall to 2-1 (0-1 Big 5).
How It Happened
• Saint Joseph's jumped out to a 15-5 advantage after the first quarter, paced by a combined 11 points from Melia (6) and Jekot (5).
• Temple's Lena Niang hit a three-pointer at the 6:45 mark of the second quarter to close the Owls' deficit to seven, 22-15, and Mia Davis scored five straight points to pull the visiting team to within two, 22-20.
• Saint Joseph's senior guard Nailah Delinois hit back-to-back three-pointers (2:58, 1:56) to give the Hawks a six-point cushion entering the final 1:56 of the first half; however, Temple would go on an 8-0 run to close the second quarter and take a 30-28 lead into the halftime break.
• Roig, who finished the night 9-for-12 from the stripe, hit seven of SJU's first nine points of the third quarter as SJU took a 37-33 edge into the final 3:25. Sheehan then hit back-to-back jumpers (2:48, 2:18) and she and Roig would combine to go 4-for-4 from the stripe to close the third quarter with the Hawks up, 47-42.
• Melia opened the fourth with a tough play in the paint and converted the free throw to put the Hawks up by eight, 50-42, at the 9:37 mark. SJU kept Temple at a distance until just 1:51 remained in the game, as an Alexa Williamson free throw brought the Owls to within one.
• With 1:40 to play, Delinois calmly hit both of her free throws to set up the late-game heroics for Jekot, who drained eight in a row and grabbed a big defensive rebound with four ticks remaining on the scoreboard to seal the victory.
Behind the Boxscore
• The Hawks shot a blistering 27-for-31 (87.1%) from the free throw line, led by Roig (9-for-12), Jekot (8-for-8), and Melia (5-for-5).
• Melia shot 6-of-10 from the field to finish as the Hawks' scoring leader for the second time in as many games and added a game-high three blocks in 29 minutes of work before fouling out.
• Roig added eight rebounds and five assists in 38 minutes.
• Neither team shot particularly well from beyond the arc as each team hit four three-pointers apiece in over 20 attempts on each side, but Delinois' quick six points were a difference-maker.
• Sheehan played a career-high 40 minutes as the Hawks' steady glue player.
• Freshman guard Kaliah Henderson and freshman guard/forward Jaden Walker made their collegiate debuts in the second quarter.
• Freshman forward Imogen Ayliffe was not available for the game.
"That was a typical Big 5 game," said head coach Cindy Griffin following the win. "We controlled the game for the most part . . . There's a ton that we need to clean up, but our kids just played really tough today. They played to win. They made free throws down the stretch and different players stepped up at different times."
Saint Joseph's returns to action this Sunday, November 17 in a neutral-site game against Seton Hall in the Bronx, N.Y. Opening tip is set for 2:30 p.m. at Fordham University's Rose Hill Gym.