Warming up for the second half, Fordham’s Hannah Missry picked a ball off the rack, took a few steps toward the basket and then casually unleashed a shot from NBA range which swooshed right through the net.
When the Temple defense returned to the floor for the start of the second half, the shots continued to go in for Missry. Just like in warm-ups, the Rams’ guard hit her first three shots after the break.
The sharpshooting of Missry and her teammates ultimately doomed the Owls as they dropped their second straight game by a score of 71-64.
Missry went 5 of 8 from beyond the arc, contributing to her team’s 47.1 percent mark from deep.
The Owls were aware that the guard liked to shoot coming into the game, but they did not execute their strategy defensively to stop her.
“We knew that [Missry] wanted to spot up to shoot threes, so we talked about getting her off the three-point line,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “There were so many times that she was just wide open and that can’t happen because she’s just going to knock them down.”
The Owls also had trouble stopping the Rams’ leading scorer Emily Tapio. In contrast to Missry, she scored most of her game high 21 points from the inside. Again, Temple was aware of Tapio’s strengths, but didn’t do what was needed to shut her down.
“We knew that she wanted to put the ball on the floor and go left and we didn’t stop that from happening,” Cardoza said.
Despite their defensive lapses, the Owls managed to take the Rams down to the wire. Finding themselves down by 16 after Missry’s hot start to the second half, the team found new life.
Led by the scoring of senior Tyonna Williams and freshman Alliya Butts, who combined for 22 of the Owls’ 39 second half points, Temple responded with some offense of its own.
The team knocked down three of its seven shots from deep in the second half and battled back to make it a one possession game with 25 seconds left.
“I felt like they weren’t guarding me,” Williams said of her four of seven shooting from behind the arc. “My coach has been getting on me about being confident because I knock down my shots in practice.”
Ultimately, the Owls comeback bid was thwarted. They were unable to get a steal and Tapio hit four free throws down the stretch to seal Temple’s fate.
The team has been making a habit of falling behind early and making a push late. In Wednesday’s game against Delaware, the Owls were unable to recover from a 26-7 run by the Blue Hens.
Cardoza said she would like to see the mentality of her team when they fall behind for 40 minutes of play.
“Obviously, I love the fight in us, but I just wish that we started the fight a lot sooner, as soon as the game starts,” Cardoza said. “We’re a team that no matter what we’re not going to quit, but a lot of times what we’ve seen is that we want to fight when we’re down and sometimes that’s way too late.”
Coming into the contest Fordham was shooting less than 30 percent from three point range on the season…Temple outshot Fordham 34-24 in the first half but still went into the break down by 6…Fordham freshman G’mrice Davis, who saw limited action in the game, is actually a Philadelphia native from Girard College High School.