The women’s basketball team used its size to dominate the glass as they coasted to an easy 83-45 win over Central Michigan at the Liacouras Center Monday in the team’s season opener.
The Owls out rebounded the Chippewas, 51-21, including a 20-11 advantage on the offensive end. Junior forward Shanea Cotton lead the way with 12 rebounds, and senior center Lady Comfort chipped in with eight. The Owls also added seven blocked shots and forced 10 turnovers.
With six different Owls over six feet tall in the rotation, including the 6-foot-2 Comfort and the 6-4 Cotton, the Owls were able to disrupt Western Michigan’s interior game and limit their second chance opportunities.
Nearly every time a Central Michigan player drove to the hoop, they were met by an Owl.
“We knew what our advantage would be,” coach Dawn Staley said. “Certainly [Central Michigan] didn’t have a whole lot of post presence. We knew we had to get the ball inside. We knew that if we missed some shots, we would have a height advantage. ”
For Cotton, who transferred from Gulf Coast Community College, this was a coming out party. In her first game for the Owls, she played 17 minutes and scored nine points.
“[It was] exciting,” she said. “[I was] kind of nervous in the beginning, but after I relaxed and started to play my game, I think [I] came through.”
On the scoring end, the Owls had a lot of questions to answers after two of last season’s leading scorers, Kamesha Hairston and Fatima Maddox, both graduated.
Questions, meet Ashley Morris and Lindsay Kimmel.
Morris, a senior guard, started the game and notched 15 points and eight assists. Kimmel, a freshman guard, came off the bench to deliver 14 points, including four three-pointers. Combine that with Comfort’s 16 points, and the Owls are getting contributions from everywhere on their roster.
“I think all of our players, one through 14, can gives us some minutes,” Staley said.
And as for the leadership role, well, that one is under control.
“I think [being leaders] is what me and Lady had wanted for some time now,” Morris said. “And these young players that came in they’re ready to learn just basically suck up anything that they can.”
The Owls head to Georgia to battle the Bulldogs Friday. They don’t return home until Nov. 28 when they will take on Ball State.
This is the eighth season for Staley at Temple. … The Owls improved their opening game record under Staley to 7-1. … Sophomore guard LaKeisha Eaddy was injured late in the first half and did not return, though Staley said it is not serious and she will play in the Owls’ next game.
Todd Orodenker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.