The streak continues.
The women’s basketball team won its sixth consecutive game Friday with a 71-37 victory over Brown at the Liacouras Center. Senior Kamesha Hairston led the Owls with 20 points and nine rebounds in only 24 minutes.
“I’m just doing what my team needs from me – points, rebounds, defense,” Hairston said. “I’m trying to get it done.”
The Owls (10-4) held a comfortable lead throughout the game, allowing coach Dawn Staley to sit her starting lineup for the majority of the second half.
After scoring a career-high 34 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in an 85-80 overtime win against Florida Tuesday, Hairston said she appreciated the rest.
“I was terribly tired,” said the forward, who played 45 minutes against the Gators. “My calves are cramped a little bit, so [Coach] told me she was going to get me out of there.”
The Owls’ season-high winning streak started Dec. 17 with an 88-70 win over Miami (Ohio). Since then, they have beaten Western Michigan, Villanova, Penn and Florida.
“The consistent thing that we’ve done is play hard on the defensive end,” Staley said. “They’re giving the effort. They don’t always make the right decisions, but it’s not from a lack of working hard and trying to outwork our opponents.”
The Owls last loss came on Dec. 10 against Maryland, the top-ranked team in the nation. The Owls trailed the Terrapins by double-digits early in the second half, but stormed back to take a four-point advantage with just over five and half minutes remaining. They ultimately relinquished the lead in a 77-66 loss.
“I think this team found an identity being down by 15 points to Maryland and coming back to take the lead,” Staley said. “We told them after that game [to] just hold on to that moment of coming back and knowing that if you played every team like you played [Maryland] in the second half, then you’re going to win a lot of basketball games.
“I think they bottled that [feeling] and they’re using that every time they step on the floor.”
Brown struggled to find any momentum on the Owls’ home floor. The Bears (2-11) shot 25.4 percent from the field and committed 21 turnovers, including 14 in the first half.
The Owls opened the game on a 10-0 run and established a 35-16 lead by halftime. Hairston scored 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first stanza.
Temple started another 10-point run early in the second half to build a 30-point lead over the Bears with a little less than 14 minutes left.
The Bears trailed by at least 20 for the remainder of the contest.
The Owls will attempt to continue their hot streak Tuesday when they begin their Atlantic Ten Conference schedule against Big 5 rival Saint Joseph’s (7-6) at the Liacouras Center.
“It’s going to be tough,” Hairston said. “Anytime we play St. Joseph’s, it’s a tough game. But I think we’ll be ready for them.”
The Charlotte Sting, one of the original WNBA teams, ceased operations on Jan. 3.
Dawn Staley was a member of the Sting from 1999-2005. During her tenure, she was named an Eastern Conference All-Star three times and took the 2001 Sting to the WNBA Finals. The Sting fell to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Staley said she didn’t have much of a reaction to the news.
“I’m in Temple mode,” Staley said. “When I’m in Temple mode, anything on the outside really doesn’t affect me. I know I’m not playing anymore, so I just keep up with players and not really any organizations or franchises.”
Staley said she did talk to the Sting’s Kelly Mazzante, a 6-0 guard from Williamsport, Pa.
Mazzante, who is entering her fourth season, was a teammate of Staley’s for two seasons.
“She’s got to go in the expansion draft,” Staley said. “I think she’s looking forword to it, but, you know, Charlotte’s a good city.”
Van Chancellor, the coach of the Houston Comets, resigned Friday.
Chancellor, who coached Staley from 2004-2005, won the first four WNBA Championships during his 10-year tenure with the organization. Prior to joining the Comets, Chancellor coached Mississippi for 19 seasons.
“It’s sad because he’s given a whole lot to women’s basketball,” Staley said. “He’s the last coach I played for, so I’m always going to be forever indebted for him giving me the opportunity to come to Houston and try to win a WNBA championship. He’s going to be sorely missed.”
Kamesha Hairston is close to averaging a double-double this season.
The senior forward has recorded seven double-doubles. She leads the A-10 in scoring at 22.2 points per game and was ranked 12th in the nation through Sunday. Hairston is shooting 47 percent from the field.
The Owls’ leading scorer also leads the A-10 in rebounds, pulling down 9.9 boards per game.
Hairston, who averaged 6.1 boards per game in her sophomore and junior years, said she didn’t expect to haul in rebounds at this pace.
“At the beginning of the season I said, well, ‘Why not put average a double-double’ on my list of goals?” Hairston said.
“It’s coming pretty easy” so far, she said.
Dawn Staley always tries to do something special for her mom’s birthday and this year was no different.
Estelle Staley, 64, was escorted to midcourt during a timeout with 3:24 left in the game and was serenaded by the Liacouras Center crowd. The elder Staley received a basket full of gifts and blew out the candles on a birthday cake which was presented to her.
“I thought that was pretty sweet,” Dawn Staley said smiling. “I always try to come up with different surprises for my mother for her birthday and I think this might have topped it.”
The elder Staley received hugs from her daughter and the Owls.
“She didn’t know it was coming,” Staley said. “She actually was late getting to the game, so I was trying to get her here because this was supposed to happen at halftime. But, you know, that’s my mom. She gets here when she gets here and she will celebrate whenever she gets here.”
DOWN THE ROAD
After the Owls open conference play Tuesday against the Hawks, they will then take on Saint Bonaventure (10-5) on Jan. 12 in Olean, NY. It will be the first of three conference road games in six days.
The Owls finished last season with a 12-4 A-10 record.
Tyson McCloud can be reached at Tyson@temple.edu.