Owls defeat Cougars at home

Temple University women’s basketball beat the University of Houston 62-54 in McGonigle Hall on Saturday afternoon.

Mia Davis, a graduate student forward, drives past a defender during an Owl's game against the University of Houston at McGonigle Hall on Jan. 15. | NOEL CHACKO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

After a long stretch of postponed games, Temple University women’s basketball  (7-6, 2-0 The American Athletic Conference) defeated the University of Houston (9-7, 2-2 The American) 62-54 at McGonigle Hall Saturday afternoon.

Graduate student forward Mia Davis carried the team in the first quarter with 12 points, finding her teammates down low for easy looks at the basket.

The Owls’ defense held the Cougars to just 17 points in the first quarter. Graduate student center Shantay Taylor made a quick layup that stretched the Owls’ lead to 14-8 in the first quarter. 

“The way we started the game, I thought it was a carryover from our practices,” said head coach Tonya Cardoza. “I definitely felt like that carried over and that we did a really good job defensively.” 

Temple went into the second quarter leading 21-17. 

Graduate student guard Emani Mayo made a 3-point jumper in the second quarter, helping the Owls gain the momentum needed to extend their lead to 29-22. Temple went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter thanks to its stout defense keeping the Cougars scoreless for almost five minutes.

“We’ve talked about making sure that we didn’t give them an easy buck,” Cardoza said. “By giving them easy buckets and transitions from turnovers, I thought we did a really good job there and then slowing them down defensively.” 

Coming out of halftime, the Owls led 35-27, and Houston’s defensive focus made it harder for Davis to get the ball.

Freshman guard Aniya Gourdine helped Temple extend its lead by six points after making two free throws with six minutes and 50 seconds left in the quarter. The Owls held a 48-39 lead heading into the final quarter. 

In the final quarter, both teams fell into foul trouble. Houston committed three fouls, granting Temple the opportunity to make seven free throws and extend their lead.

Houston struggled from the field throughout the game as they shot just 31.6 percent compared to Temple’s 38.2 percent from the field.

Davis led the Owls with 22 points, with most of her points coming from the high post.

“[Davis] started us off, but I mean, it might not have been double figures, but we had a lot of guys get on the box scores,” Cardoza said. “That’s important because it was hard for them to key on someone because we got others who stepped up.”

Gourdine also helped by spreading the ball around the court as she totaled six assists. She also made all of her four free-throw attempts making up half of her eight total points.

Temple will head back on the road to compete against East Carolina University (7-9, 0-3 The American) for their third conference game on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m.

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