The women’s basketball team defeated Eastern Michigan, 64-46, to win its fifth straight game and remain undefeated at 5-0.
Once the Owls grabbed the lead at the beginning of the game, they did not let it go. The key component was the team’s defense, which shut down Eastern Michigan’s top scorer, sophomore guard Tavelyn James. James normally averages 18.8 points a game but was limited to nine points Wednesday.
“That’s what’s going to win us ball games, turning up defensive pressure and trying to limit their top scorers from actually getting their hands on the ball, not even getting shot attempts, just trying to limit their touches,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “Those guys did a great job on James, trying to frustrate her and not let her get the ball and make other people score that normally are not their top scorers.”
The Eagles as a team did not surpass 10 points until five minutes remained in the first half.
On the offensive side, four players for the Owls finished with double-digit points. Junior guard Shaqwedia Wallace led the team with 13 points, sophomore forward Kristen McCarthy had 12 points and junior forward Marli Bennett finished with 11 points. Senior forward Jasmine Stone came off the bench and nearly added a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
“Coach has been stressing to me that I should be getting a double-double. It shouldn’t be a problem for me to get it,” Stone said. “That’s my biggest thing. I’m all about rebounding.”
“Right now, I like her coming off the bench because she is a spark for us,” Cardoza added.”
Temple remained in control of the game in the second half, as the Owls spent most of the time nursing a 20-point lead. The wide margin allowed Cardoza to empty the bench so other players could receive a boost in playing time.
“Today was one of those days where we could get some other people in and play them a little more than they probably normally would, but just to get them time on the court,” Cardoza said. “Especially with [freshman center] Victoria [Macaulay]. She needs time on the court.”
The only statistic that proved troublesome for the team was turnovers, as the Owls committed 19 of them during the course of the game.
“It really bothers me because a lot of them are unforced turnovers. It’s just us playing too fast or trying to make plays that were either before or if you wait a second later it’ll be there,” Cardoza said. “It’s just about paying a little more attention and just valuing every possession every time you have the ball.”
The Owls head out on the road to face two tough teams in Hartford, a team that upset then-No. 23 Louisville, which played in the NCAA Championship game last year, and Rutgers.
“As many different non-conference teams we play against, I think it’s going to help us win the A-10,” Cardoza said.
Game Notes: Wallace was named Big 5 Women’s Player of the Week. She is currently averaging 18 points per game…With two assists against Eastern Michigan, senior guard LaKeisha Eaddy moved into second place on the school’s all-time assists list. Her 399 career assists place her behind Donna Kennedy (1988-1992), who sits in first place with 502 assists.
Brian Dzenis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.