With two minutes, 12 seconds left in the third quarter, Central Florida scored a basket to go up by 15 points.
Coach Tonya Cardoza called a timeout as associate head coach Way Veney stood up and slammed her stack of papers on the ground. Central Florida had gone on an 8-0 run for the past 2:19.
The Owls (10-14, 2-9 American Athletic Conference) couldn’t catch up to the Knights in their 64-57 loss to Central Florida on Saturday at McGonigle Hall.
“This is a tough loss,” Cardoza said. “When you’re not making shots, it’s demoralizing. I felt like we missed a lot of open threes.”
Temple shot just 31.6 percent from the field and 18.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc. In the first half, Temple scored just 15 points, going 5-for-27 from the field.
The Owls had trouble getting their offense going, scoring just five points in the first quarter. While senior guard Tanaya Atkinson led the Owls in points with 17, she scored just three in the first half.
Central Florida utilized a full-court press and double-teamed Temple throughout the game, causing a bit of chaos for the Owls on offense.
“They’re very physical,” Cardoza said. “There’s an illusion that things are not open, or that it is open and they want you to make passes there. And they’re just really aggressive.”
Freshman guard Emani Mayo led Temple with seven first-half points. She ended the night as the only other Owl besides Atkinson to score in double digits with 13 points.
“I just tried to keep playing, keep playing hard and not give up,” Mayo said.
Despite a low-scoring first half, Temple’s defense managed to keep Central Florida at bay. The Owls gave up 22 points in the first half. In the final two quarters, however, the Knights scored 42 points and shot 48.1 percent from the field.
Redshirt-senior guard Zakiya Saunders and sophomore guard Korneila Wright each led Central Florida with 18 points and scored in double figures in the second half.
“I think we started out doing a really good job of keeping them from scoring, but having a hard time scoring ourselves,” Cardoza said. “Then, we give up 40-something points after doing a great job defensively. It’s hard if you’re not scoring points to allow teams that many points.”
The Owls will take on American Athletic Conference opponent Wichita State next on Wednesday at McGonigle Hall. The Shockers (10-16, 5-7 The American) have lost four in a row. Temple has lost nine of its past 10 games.
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