13 seconds after being subbed into the game, Rateska Brown scored from long range — a trend that would continue throughout regulation.
“I just got it and shot it, and I was like ‘Okay. That’s what I’m going to continue to do’,” junior guard Rateska Brown said.
Behind five three-point baskets by Brown, the Temple Owls earned their second consecutive victory, defeating the Memphis Tigers 64-51 in the Liacouras Center on Sunday.
After losing four consecutive games, Temple (12-11,6-6) has notched back-to-back wins against American Athletic Conference opponents Houston and Memphis (11-13,4-8) by double figures. With the victory against the Tigers and a Southern Methodist loss to Rutgers, Temple moves to fifth place within the conference.
“It’s always a positive,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “We had lost four games in a row. Going into Houston, and winning that game the way we won, it was definitely a positive because we hadn’t won like that in a while. And to come here at home, to beat a pretty good Memphis team, it feels good. Anytime you can get wins at this point, it’s always a positive.”
Coming off of the bench, Brown tied a career-high with 17 points scored. The reserve guard shot six of ten from the field, which included shooting five of eight from three-point range.
“I’m just playing the role coach gives me,” Brown said. “Come off [the bench], try to give energy, try to make it feed off to the other players. And today, [Memphis] just left me open. My teammates found me.”
As a team, Temple outrebounded Memphis 46-34. Playing her second straight game in the Owls’ starting lineup, fifth-year senior guard Shi-Heria Shipp registered a game-high 13 rebounds, and was two points shy of a double-double, scoring eight for the game. Amongst both teams, sophomore guard Erica Covile ranked second in rebounds, pulling down ten boards.
Senior forward Natasha Thames and freshman guard Feyonda Fitzgerald completed the trio of double figure scorers for Temple, recording 10 and 11 points respectively. Fitzgerald dished out a game-high six assists.
Though it struggled with nearly 30 percent shooting, the Memphis offense was led by the game’s leading scorer sophomore guard Ariel Hearn, who scored 22 points. Sophomore forward Asianna Fuqua-Bey recorded a team-high nine rebounds for the Tigers.
With the game tied at eight points, Brown made her first three point field goal from off of the bench to begin a seven-point unanswered run by Temple, giving the Owls a 15-8 lead.
After grasping the seven point lead, both teams went scoreless for nearly three minutes, before a pair of Fuqua-Bey free throws ended the drought. Though Memphis had answered Temple’s 7-0 run, Brown found herself open again on the following possession for her second three pointer, giving Temple a 18-10 advantage at the 10:01 mark.
Brown’s second three point basket began another run for Temple. Capped off by a Fitzgerald mid-range jumper, the Owls outscored Memphis 9-0 in the following five minutes, giving Temple a 27-10 lead with 4:45 remaining in the first period.
Memphis managed to rattle off a 6-0 run, but Temple continued to comeback with scoring spurts, recording another 7-0 run, and going ahead 34-16. Hearn scored the half’s last field goal on a jumpshot, but at halftime, Temple led Memphis 34-19.
In the early minutes of the second half, Memphis stifled the Owls defensively, holding Temple scoreless for nearly three minutes into the period. The Tigers started the period outscoring Temple 4-0, closing the deficit to 11, but they would fail to shrink the deficit any further.
In large part to 13 second half points by Hearn, Memphis outscored Temple 32-30 for the period, but the Owls’ offense scored enough to hold a double-digit advantage through the final 17 minutes of regulation. A Brown three pointer at the 7:05 mark would give the Owls their largest lead of 21, which the Tigers were unable to complete a full comeback from.
“We’re trying to win every single game that we play now,” Cardoza said. “We’ve played every single team, we know what they do, and we’ve been in every single game, so why can’t we win those games?”
Brien Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @BErick1123