Temple University women’s basketball’s offense was unable to keep pace with Florida Gulf Coast University despite holding a seven-point lead after the first quarter and a strong performance by senior forward Mia Davis.
The Owls (0-2, 0-0 The American Athletic Conference) kept this game closer than their first loss to Villanova but lost 78-69 to the Eagles (3-2, 0-0 Atlantic Sun Conference). Despite their improved offense, Temple struggled to get key stops on defense and only shot 52 percent from the free throw line.
“In practice we don’t make [free throws],” said head coach Tonya Cardoza. “The guys that are supposed to make them need to step up, and make them.”
Temple started the game enforcing its will in the paint and took an early 10-point lead. In the first quarter, a basket by junior forward Alexa Williamson put the Owls ahead 16-6, capping a nine-to-zero Owls’ scoring run.
“I thought we had spurts where we looked pretty good,” Cardoza said. “Especially in the first quarter. We got out to a better start, I thought we did some really good things. I thought we competed a little bit better.”
Temple extended their lead to 27-17 after a basket by Davis with seven minutes and 53 seconds remaining in the first half. In total, Davis scored 34 points and recorded 12 rebounds.
The Eagles only shot 10-of-36 from the 3-point range but hit three big 3-pointers during a 12-2 scoring run that tied the game at 29-29 in the second quarter.
Eagles redshirt-junior guard Emma List scored eight of her 12 points in the second quarter, helping the Eagles to a 38-37 halftime lead.
After trading baskets and leads to start the second half, the Eagles outscored Temple 22-15 to take a 60-52 lead into the fourth quarter.
A quick five-point scoring run by Temple punctuated by a 3-pointer from senior guard Emani Mayo cut the Owls’ deficit to 72-67 with two minutes and nine seconds remaining in the game, but that was as close as they would get in the fourth quarter.
Temple freshman guard Jasha Clinton struggled from the field, shooting 2-of-12 for six points and fouling out in 31 minutes. Williamson and Mayo scored nine points each and Williamson added 11 rebounds for Temple.
The Owls shot 41 percent for the game and 35 percent in the second half.
Eagles junior guard Tishara Morehouse scored 10 of her team-high 25 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer and five free throws. Eagles sophomore guard Kierstan Bell recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Owls will have 11 days off to prepare for a matchup on the road against number one ranked South Carolina (4-1, 0-0 South Eastern Conference) on Thursday.