With just less than a minute left in the game, Knights’ senior guard Diamond Battles drove to the basket and converted on a layup from underneath the rim, capping off a 15-2 run and pushing the Knights’ lead to 62-51.
Temple University women’s basketball (9-9, 4-3 The American Athletic Conference) lost to the University of Central Florida (15-3, 7-1 The American) 64-55 on Monday afternoon in Orlando, Florida.
The defeat marked the Owls’ second consecutive conference loss and third in their last four games.
The Owls got off to a hot start early, leading by 13 points in the first quarter after graduate student forward Mia Davis scored 10 points.
Despite the early advantage, the Knights retook the lead late in the second quarter following a pair of free throws from junior forward Destiny Thomas, capping off a 14-4 run.
“We have to do a better job of maintaining focus,” said head coach Tonya Cardoza. “The guys coming off the bench have to give us positive minutes and we can’t have them not taking care of the basketball.”
With just less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Owls’ junior forward Alexa Williamson made a pair of free throws that gave the Owls the lead. However, they ended the game on the wrong side of a 17-6 run.
The Owls turned the ball over eight times in the final quarter, which was hard to overcome down the stretch, Cardoza said.
“That’s why we lost the game,” Cardoza added. “There were definitely other factors but being careless with the basketball is really costly and we have to focus late in games.”
The Owls had three players with four or more personal fouls, including Williamson, who fouled out for a second consecutive game.
“We played the first quarter great because we didn’t have foul trouble,” Cardoza said. “When we have players who have to sit on the bench it’s really costly and it was really hard to maintain what we were doing.”
Davis, yet again, led the way in scoring for the Owls, finishing with 20 points and six rebounds while making six of 13 from the field. She is now just four points away from breaking Temple’s all-time scoring record of 2,194 points, which is currently held by former guard Marilyn Stephens-Franklyn.
The Owls will look to turn things around when they return home to host Wichita State University (11-8, 2-4 The American) on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.