By Mel Greenberg
PHILADELPHIA _ The Wire is the name of a popular dective series on television that takes place in Baltimore.
In women's basketball the wire is a place where Temple and St. Joseph's always seem to land whenever the two local rivals clash in concurrent Atlantic 10 and Big Five competition.
In continuing the trend of recent seasons, the Owls and Hawks battled to the finish, and in this instance beyond, early Saturday night with Temple emerging with a 58-55 victory in overtime at the Liacouras Center.
The name of the winner is also nothing new, though St. Joseph's coach Cindy Griffin can recall a time before the millenium arrived when she played for the Hawks (8-9, 1-1 Atlantic 10, 1-2 Big Five) and they beat the Owls (12-5, 2-1 A-10, 1-1 Big Five) consistently.
Since then it's been nothing but frustration for the most part in the series for Griffin though second-year Temple coach Tonya Cardoza had plenty to grit her teeth over from Saturday's defensive battle.
"This was a tough game for us," Cardoza said. "We did a lot of things bad and hopefully it was just one of those days. But those guys (St. Joe) came and out and were physical and pushed us around and we started getting besides ourselves and not playing good basketball and just got lucky in being able to pull out a win."
Temple is now 14-1 against the Hawks dating back to the 2003-04 season and the lone St. Joseph's victory occurred on Hawk Hill with a 65-64 result on January 27, 2006, when Hillary Klimowicz scored at the buzzer.
Eight of the last nine games have been decided by seven points or fewer, the exception being Temple's home win and second of the season against the Hawks a year ago when the Owls won the second encounter 60-48.
The two will meet again at the Hawks' Hagan Arena on Feb. 2.
In Saturday's game, St. Joseph's missed some critical shots in the closing minutes of regulation, the same situation that occurred a year ago when the Hawks hosted the Owls at Philadelphia University's Gallagher Center during the renovation of their regular home.
Kristen McCarthy gave Temple a lead in the overtime it never relinquished by hitting two foul shots and then with 2:53 left in the extra session nailing a three-pointer for a 57-52 advantage that both coaches said was the key play of the night.
"It was a guard-to-guard switch and we didn't switch out fast enough," Griffin said. "That was probably the biggest shot that comes to mind without looking at the film."
Lakeisha Eaddy returned from a two-game absence due to a concussion and scored 17 points for the Owls, though she shot 6-of-17 from the field. McCarthy, who was 3-for-15, scored 10 points, as did Shaqwedia Wallace.
Jasmine Stone grabbed 11 rebounds and Cardoza noted that statistic as a major overall key to the win.
Ashley Prim and Mariame Djouara each scored 13 points for the Hawks, while Ashley Logue scored 10 points.
"We showed a lot of heart and lot of hustle, the kids did that, but we also just did some bonehead things," Griffin said.
The game was a statistical nightmare on both sides.
Temple shot 29.4 percent from the field and Cardoza cited the Owls' scoring just 58 points off 68 field goal attempts. St. Joseph's wasn't much better, shooting 31.6 percent. Both teams committed 21 turnovers, while Temple committed 51 personal fouls compared 39 by the Hawks.
"We put them on the line shooting the bonus way too early," Cardoza said.
Griffin spoke of the the problems the Hawks have encountered.fine
"Right now, we're scoring from certain positions and others we're getting goose eggs," she said. "It's fine if you're getting stops at the other end -- defensively we did a great job holding this team to 29 percent shooting -- and that's pretty darn good. But on the other end, we're shooting 31 percent."
Griffin said there's nothing that can't be adjusted before the next time the two teams meet.
Cardoza, meanwhile, winced at what almost was a lost opprtunity to get on a roll after having recently suffered three competitive setbacks in a row to nationally-ranked teams.
"The last thing you want to do is when you have a stretch and you play three Top 25 teams and you're in the game and then you start your A-10," she explained. "That's why you play those Top 25 games -- to prepare for the A-10. And then you start the A-10. If you were doing those things that were supposed to be preparing you and then you get to these games and you don't do the things you did in those games, then it was pointless to play them."
St. Joseph's next hosts Dayton, another conference frontrunner, on Wednesday while Temple travels to meet Rhode Island on Tuesday.
Although Temple's string of five straight Big Five titles or shared crowns ended last month when Villanova swept the round robin, the Owls can finish second outright by beating Penn in McGonigle Hall next Saturday and winning at La Salle on February 6.
Bonus Shots: St. Joseph's had a presence of sorts in the Big East battle later Saturday night between No. 3 Notre Dame and top-ranked Uconn at home in Storrs. The clash contributed to history when ESPN moved its Game Day location to a women's site for the first time. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma was once an assistant to Jim Foster (now at Ohio State) on Hawk Hill while Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw is a Big Five Hall of Famer who played for the Hawks and also spent time at her alma mater as an assistant.
La Salle (5-13, 0-3 A-10) fell to No. 14 Xavier (12-3, 2-0) at home in the Tom Gola Arena as Amber Harris had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Musketeers. Chelsea Conner had a career-high 11 points for the Explorers.
Rutgers (11-7, 3-1 Big East)) got 13 points from Brittany Ray and 11 points from Camden Catholic's Rashidat Junaid in an ugly 44-33 win at home at the Louis A. Brown Athletic Center against conference rival Cincinnati (8-8, 1-3), which is under first-year coach Jamelle Elliott, a former Connecticut star and assistant coach. Shareese Ulis had 10 points for the Bearcats.
Villanova (10-6, 0-4 Big East ) fell 71-54 to Marquette (12-6, 3-2) in a conference game at home at The Pavillion. The Wildcats shot a season-high 13 three pointers with red-shirt freshman forward Emily Suhey scoring 15 points -- all in the first half off five treys.