The last time the women’s basketball team lost a Big 5 game was December of 2003.
Think of a time before anyone had TiVo.
Temple reeled off its record-setting 16th consecutive Big 5 win Thursday as the Owls downed Penn, 65-40, at the Liacorous Center.
With the win, the Owls (7-6, 2-0 Big 5) passed Saint Joseph’s previous record of 15 Big 5 wins in a row, set between the 1991-92 and 1995-96 seasons.
In the game, Ashley Morris once again led the Owls in scoring, netting 18 points, including three three-pointers. Senior center Lady Comfort added 10 points and six rebounds, while junior forward Shenita Landry chipped in with 11 points and two blocks.
“This is a total team effort,” Morris said. “When we lock in and we execute the game plan, we can do anything.”
The Owls forced Penn into committing 23 turnovers and 23 personal fouls. The up-tempo style of play was no accident, as Staley saw a weakness in Penn and used it to her advantage, as the Owls never trailed in the game.
“Penn turns the ball over a lot, so we looked at that column and saw that we had an opportunity to speed the game up and play a little bit quicker than they wanted to play,” Staley said. “I just thought that our overall team speed bothered Penn.”
But the story of the game was the Owls breaking a Big 5 record that stood for over a decade. Staley, no stranger to Philadelphia-area basketball, understood the importance of winning the Big 5 and setting records in the city. But at the same time, she knows that it’s what happens on the court this season that really counts.
“Just being from Philadelphia and growing up, being around the Big 5, you want the bragging rights of being the city’s best,” Staley said. “[But] we want to win the Big 5 [this year].”
As for Morris, the lone Owl from the Philadelphia-area, this was undoubtedly a huge accomplishment.
“It feels real good, just for my team to do this together,” Morris said. “Mak[ing] the record books, that’s always a plus.”
However, the Big 5 record will mean nothing come Sunday, as the Owls hit the road to face No. 6 Rutgers. While the Owls will need to use just about everything they have to upset the Scarlet Knights, they can still look at how Thursday’s game with the Quakers prepared them for their showdown with one of the best teams in the country.
“[Penn is] a very physical team, and top 10 teams are going to play mainly physical,” Landry said. “So if you play a team that’s physical, it does nothing but help us.”
The Owls don’t return to the Liacorous Center until Jan. 5 when they will take on Florida. Their next Big 5 matchup is not until Jan. 30 against St. Joe’s.
Todd Orodenker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.