Owls catch fire in second half against Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech entered Monday’s game against Temple’s women’s basketball team as a squad that could put big numbers on the scoreboard.

The Yellow Jackets had scored more than 79 points in each of their first three games, but in a reversal of roles, it was the Owls that left the nets scorching.

The Owls shot 65 percent from the field and outscored the Yellow Jackets by 17 points in the second half en route to a 76-62 win in their home opener at the Liacouras Center.

Senior forward Kamesha Hairston led the Owls (2-0 overall) with 23 points – scoring 17 in the second half – and six rebounds. Senior guard Fatima Maddox tallied 18 points and five assists. Junior center Lady Comfort contributed 16 points, on 7 of 9 shooting, before fouling out with 3:56 left in the second half.

The Owls committed 12 turnovers and allowed the Yellow Jackets (3-1 overall) to shoot 46 percent from the field in the first half as they fell behind late in the first half. Maddox, who was 3 of 7 from the field in the first half, drilled a buzzer-beating three pointer from the left elbow to put the Owls within three points, at 31-28, at halftime.

In the second half, the Owls cut down on the mistakes and turned up the heat on the Yellow Jackets on the offensive end.

“We were a little bit more patient,” Hairston said. “We took care of the ball better in the [second] half and I think we adjusted to the way they were playing us and we came out and attacked.”

The Owls forced the Yellow Jackets to respond to their style of play after halftime.

Temple utilized a smaller lineup at certain points in the second half, playing Maddox, freshman LaKeisha Eaddy and junior Ashley Morris together in the backcourt.

The decision to go small was part of the initial game plan, coach Dawn Staley said.

“It allows Kamesha to go to the four spot where she can use her speed against bigger players,” Staley said. “We did that but [then] they went to a smaller lineup as well, so it all worked in our advantage that we got them to kind of mirror what we were doing.”

Eaddy scored eight points and dished out five assists, punctuating her performance with a turnover-free second half.

“I knew that in order for us to win I had to be a better defender and, also, I would have to attack the basket to open it up for my teammates,” she said. “So I came out [in the second half] and penetrated more and it helped us.”

Hairston said she was impressed with the overall team effort.

“My teammates have done – as you’ve seen today – a great job of stepping up to the challenge,” Hairston said. “I don’t have to do it all by myself and it’s great. The pressure is really off of me. I don’t feel pressure going into these games.”

The Owls begin a four game road trip Friday against Bowling Green.

Tyson McCloud can be reached at Tyson@temple.edu.

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