After a frustrating loss to North Carolina State, the women’s basketball team wanted to come out against Kent State and get the bitter taste of defeat out of its mouth.
Consider it done.
Senior center Lady Comfort, senior guard Ashley Morris, junior center Shanea Cotton and senior guard Candace Borrows all scored in double figures as the Owls demolished Kent State, 74-34, Wednesday at the Liacouras Center.
Borrows, playing her first significant minutes since mid-November, hit four three-pointers off the bench to lead the team with 12 points. Cotton scored 11 points and also added 10 rebounds, and junior forward Shenita Landy grabbed 12 boards and blocked two shots. Comfort and Morris finished with 11 points each.
While the win was fairly dominating – the Owls (4-5) shot a staggering 51.8 percent from the field – Temple coach Dawn Staley still wasn’t very impressed with her team.
“Our team has to play a certain level every time we step on the floor,” Staley said. “We didn’t do that in the first half. I thought we came out and played with a lot more energy in the second half.”
That kind of outlook can be attributed to the fact that the Owls turned the ball over 15 times, a little bit down from their average. In fact, the Owls turned over the ball four times in the first 4:07 of the contest.
“[Limiting turnovers is] a constant battle,” Staley said. “People are anxious to get to the basket and we just have to employ a little bit more patience on the offense end.”
Still, the Owls should have a lot to be happy about. They forced 26 Kent State turnovers and held the Golden Flashes (1-6) without a point for more than 10 minutes in the first half. In the end, Kent State shot just 24.4 percent from the field.
“We wanted to come out and make [Kent State] call a timeout real early,” Comfort said. “We didn’t know what [to] expect for the rest of the game. If you start off pretty well, high energy, hopefully you’ll end up [winning].”
The Owls wound up out-rebounding Kent State, 41-29, including a 16-10 advantage on the offense end. Used to dominating this stat category, the Owls had a challenge in front of them going up against the equally big Kent State frontline.
“It wasn’t really [a problem],” Comfort said. “It just gets us ready for the actual stronger, bigger, taller opponents that we have to face in the future.”
Outside of the paint, the Owls also had a banner day, shooting 50 percent from downtown. Leading the way was Borrows, whose out-of-nowhere performance set a new career high in points and three-pointers made.
“She’s been practicing well, she’s really confident shooting the ball,” Staley said. “I thought she was a bit more ready than some of the other, younger players.”
“To be honest I’m not really sure what it is,” Borrows said. “I’ve been able to get in [to the gym] a little bit more recently because my school load hasn’t been as heavy. Maybe that’s helped.”
The Owls head down to College Park, Md. on Sunday for a matchup with No. 3 Maryland. They don’t return home until Dec. 21 when they take on Villanova in their first Big 5 game of the season.
Todd Orodenker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org