After trailing by one after the third quarter, Temple University women’s basketball (11-10, 11-7 The American Athletic Conference) outscored the Memphis Tigers (4-13, 2-10 The American) 21-6 in the fourth quarter to end its regular season with a 66-52 win.
Freshman guard Jasha Clinton led the Owls, scoring 23 points and swiping eight of Temple’s 19 steals on the day.
“I knew I had to bring energy for my team and pick us up so we could get back in the game,” Clinton said.
The Owls controlled the turnover battle comfortably, scoring 22 points off 25 Memphis turnovers compared to just eight points off 10 Temple turnovers for Memphis. They also continued their recent run of playing more aggressive defense, which forced the Tigers to take bad shots and helped Temple take control of the game in the fourth quarter.
“I thought it started with [Clinton] putting pressure on the ball and being aggressive,” said head coach Tonya Cardoza.
The Owls held the Tigers to 34 percent field goal shooting for the game.
“I thought our defensive intensity really picked up,” Cardoza said. “We were really aggressive to the point that they weren’t getting any shots in the 4th quarter.”
Clinton shot one for nine from the field in the first half but was able to turn it around in the second half. She had 18 points, including going three-of-three from beyond the arc in the second half.
“My teammates have confidence in me and my coaches keep telling me to keep doing what I’m doing even when I get frustrated,” Clinton said.
Cardoza believed they generated good shots all game, but the shots didn’t start to fall until they focused on the defensive end of the floor, she said.
“We were lacking on defense because we were so focused on shots that we missed,” Cardoza said. “We talked about let’s just focus on the defensive side and get some easy buckets and we did that. We were able to get out in transition and get easy layups, wide open layups.”
Temple got solid contributions from its other scorers too. Junior forward Alexa Williamson had 18 points and nine rebounds. Senior forward Mia Davis gave the Owls 16 points and eight rebounds. Williamson also recorded four steals on the day.
Temple will enter the American Conference Tournament coming off two consecutive wins.
“I thought we finished the regular season on a high,” Cardoza said.
The Owls’ next contest is against the Tulane Green Wave (16-7, 12-6 The American) in the first round of the conference tournament in Fort Worth, Texas.