In the fourth quarter, SMU came out of the break with an aggressive trap defense, forcing several turnovers and transitioning into easy buckets. SMU trailed 48-40 but slowly began to creep back to tie the game at 59. However, guard Tarriyonna Gary connected with a three point opportunity to give her team the lead 62-59 with 90 seconds remaining.
Temple Women’s Basketball (11-17, 6-10 American Athletic Conference) defeated Southern Methodist (16-11, 7-8 American Athletic Conference) 68-62 on Wednesday during senior night at The Liacouras Center. This victory helped snap the Owls’ six-game losing streak, their longest losing streak since the 2018-19 season.
“We played team defense,” said head coach Diane Richardson. “We helped out when we needed to help out. [Temple] was talking today, we came out with the win.”
Gary continued her scoring success with 15 points, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor. Temple forward Tiarra East led the team in points, with 21, and secured six rebounds.
In the early stages of the first half, Temple and SMU matched each other’s offensive tempo, resulting in less turnovers and more shots at the basket. Temple shot 47 percent from the floor, but SMU had the better shot selection, going 9-of-18 from the floor and leading 22-19 after the first ten minutes.
Temple’s offensive approach in the second quarter involved moving off the ball in hopes of getting other scorers involved and limiting turnovers. The Owls did just that with seven out of their eight players scoring a basket, while losing only seven turnovers in the first half. The Owls led 32-30 at halftime after their defense generated five forced turnovers.
Temple has struggled to close out their opponents all season during the third quarter, lacking adjustments to their pace. The Owls overcame that trend after their fastbreak offense was successful in getting to the basket and finding open teammates who successfully recorded points. The Mustangs were unable to take the lead and trailed 48-40 heading into the last quarter of play.
“That third quarter has been creeping on us all year,” Richardson said. “But again, [Temple] stepped up, and we know we were okay for the fourth quarter”
SMU outrebounded Temple 38-31, leading to eight-second chance points for the Mustangs. However, SMU was unsuccessful in outscoring Temple in the paint as they fell 28-26 in that category. Temple’s Brittany Garner, who was honored on senior night, recorded 15 points and grabbed seven boards.
“It was super important,” Garner said. “I had a long journey finding my place, and I am from [Philadelphia]. It was super important that my family was here.”
Temple will end the regular season as the ninth-place team in the American and will either play Tulsa or Wichita State on March 6 at 2 p.m. in their opening round of the AAC Tournament in Fort Worth, Texas.
“We’ve got to understand that it is win or go home,” Richardson said. “That will give us some extra motivation, that we got to play hard to win.”