With a season low in points and shooting percentage, the Owls lost to Big 5 rival St. Joseph’s 73-53 at McGonigle Hall on Wednesday evening.
“We had a lot of easy shots that we just missed,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “Maybe if we concentrate and focus, they would make those. It’s hard to beat a good team like St. Joe’s shooting 30% from the floor. We had 20 offensive rebound and only 18 buckets.”
For Temple (4-2), its loss to St. Joe’s (7-1) is its second of the season and it’s first loss against a Big 5 opponent this year. The Hawks have now extended their winning streak to six games.
Senior forward Natasha Thames was Temple’s leading scorer, recording 19 points and five rebounds. Freshman guard Feyonda Fitzgerald was the only other Owl to score in double digits, scoring 12 points but shot 4-17 from the field.
“I just have to focus more,” Fitzgerald said. “Listen to what [Cardoza] is saying and when she tells me to do something, I’ve got to figure out how to do it and do it right.”
In 38 minutes played, junior guard Tyonna Williams shot 1-7, including coming up empty on four three point attempts.
Fitfth-year senior Shi-Heria Shipp recorded a team-high nine rebounds and two blocks. Sophomore guard Erica Covile a game-high three steals.
Four players scored in double figures for St. Joe’s, but junior guard Natasha Cloud led all scorers with a career-high 21 points and 13 assists. Senior guard Erin Shields recorded 11 points, going 3-6 from three point range.
En rout to their lowest point total of the year, the Owls shot a season-low 30% from the floor despite holding a sizable rebound advantage of 44-35. St. Joe’s held advantages in field goals, three point field goals, made free throws, and blocked shots.
“I think it was a lack of concentration,” Thames said. “People trying to go up and get the foul calls, not really focusing on making the basket.”
With 8:05 remaining in the first period, Temple trailed 26-12, but the Owls manufactured a flurry of baskets, forcing four turnovers and outscoring the Hawks 18-2 for the next five minutes. After taking their first lead since early in the first period, the Owls traded scores with the Hawks, resulting in a St. Joe’s 34-32 halftime lead.
“We did a good job in the first half of getting ourselves back into the basketball game,” Cardoza said. “We did that with our defense. Getting out and getting easy buckets. That’s how we’ve been playing and doing well this year. Start of the second half, we relaxed a little.”
In the second half, after the Owls tied the game at 36-36 at the 17:17 mark, the Hawks began to pull away.
Sparked by a Shields’ three point field goal, St. Joe’s went on a 12-2 run to make the advantage 48-38 for the Hawks. Halfway through the period, Temple cut the lead to six, but St. Joe’s then went on a 13-1 run.
From that point, the Hawks held their double-digit lead through the last minutes of the game, extending it to 20, the largest lead of the contest.
Brien Edwards can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @BErick1123.