The Owls were looking to end their six-game losing streak. Temple led for most of the game against Southern Methodist, the only American Athletic Conference team the Owls have beat this season.
But, due to a scoring drought of more than three minutes at the start of the fourth quarter, the Mustangs took the lead late in the game for the first time since the first quarter.
Thanks to a 24-point fourth quarter for the Mustangs, the Owls (9-12, 1-7 The American) couldn’t regain the lead and lost their seventh straight, 60-56, in Dallas on Wednesday.
“I thought in the first three quarters, we definitely defended well,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “Then in that last quarter, we gave up 24 points, so the rest of those three quarters, we gave up 36 points. We have to find a way to try to put four quarters together of defending.”
This game marked the first time during Temple’s losing streak that it held its opponent to 60 points or less, however. The Mustangs were still able to pull away with the victory.
Southern Methodist shot 36.4 percent from the field and 25 percent on 3-pointers. All three of the Mustangs’ 3-pointers came in the second half, including one by freshman guard Ariana Whitefield that gave Southern Methodist a four point lead with two minutes, 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The Owls missed the presence of their leading scorer, senior guard Tanaya Atkinson. Atkinson averages 21.9 points per game, but scored just 11 points on 3-for-12 shooting against the Mustangs. Seven of her 11 points came in the fourth quarter. The guard still finished with a double double, her 12th this season, thanks to bringing in a team-high 12 rebounds.
“I think other people tried to step up and make shots,” Cardoza said. “I thought it was key for other guys to do that.”
Freshman guard Emani Mayo tried to picking up the scoring slack for Temple. She scored a career-high 20 points and 50 percent shooting from the field. She also set another personal-best and nabbed three of Temple’s eight steals.
“I thought she played great,” Cardoza said. “Every day, I think she’s getting better on both sides of the basketball and I think she’s going to be a great player for us.”
Freshman forward Mia Davis added nine points while graduate student guard Mykia Jones had six points on a pair of 3-pointers.
With the loss to Southern Methodist, the Owls are in last place in The American at 1-7. For the Mustangs (8-14, 2-7 The American), this game put them two spots ahead of Temple.
The Owls will face conference opponent Tulsa (8-14, 2-7 The American) on Saturday at McGonigle Hall at 1 p.m.. Tulsa sits one place above Temple in The American with one more conference victory on the season.