Coach Tonya Cardoza said the team’s defense has been a concern early in the season, and it remained an issue for the Owls against Hampton University in their 71-65 loss on Wednesday night.
Temple lost its third straight road game after giving up 70 or more points for the fifth time in seven games. Hampton shot 44.2 percent from the field and scored 26 points in the paint.
Temple struggled to get going offensively without its usual amount of fast break opportunities created by the defense. Hampton only had six turnovers in the first half, which forced Temple to play in the half court. The Owls only scored 30 points through the first three quarters.
Cardoza isn’t concerned by the lack of scoring, but rather by her team’s play on the other end of the floor. She has built her program on defensive principles and discipline. She knows her team might not be able to score consistently some games but can still impact the game in other ways.
“Teams are just doing whatever they want to offensively,” Cardoza said. “We used to be the team that would make other teams find a different way to beat [us], but not this year. We’re letting teams do exactly what they want.”
Temple scored more points in the last quarter than it did in the previous three quarters combined. The 35 points set a program record for points in a quarter. The Owls were down by 18 points to begin the quarter but got the margin down to five.
Freshman guard Takora McIntyre fouled out with 23 seconds left and did not get subbed out of the game, leading to a technical foul being called against Temple. After the technical free throws, Hampton took a seven-point lead. A layup by senior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald at the buzzer ended the game with Temple losing by six.
Fitzgerald continued to be the consistent scorer for the Owls. She finished with 29 points, albeit on 27 shots. No other Owl finished with more than 17. Junior guard Alliya Butts was the only other Owl in double figures. Fitzgerald is the Owls’ leading scorer at 18.7 points per game.
“She’s a competitor, she wants to go out there and win every time,” Cardoza said. “But she can’t do it on her own, people need to step up. Not just scoring wise whether it be playing good defense, or putting a body on someone for a rebound so we’re only giving up one shot a possession. We just need to step up as a team.”
The Owls played the game without junior guard Tanaya Atkinson. She left in the first quarter of the game against the University of Vermont on Sunday and has not played since.
Temple will be back in action on Saturday against Villanova. Temple looks to end its three-game road losing streak and improve to 3-0 in Big 5 play.
“We just have to do what we know we’re capable of doing,” Cardoza said. “No offense to these other teams, but if we played discipline defense, and rebound we probably win most of these games. We just have to be committed to playing defense because we know how Villanova plays.”
Kevin Schaeffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_kevinschaeffer.