Owls fall to Cougars for fourth straight loss

Temple Women’s Basketball had 24 turnovers in a 56-48 loss against the University of Houston on Saturday afternoon.

Despite guard Aleah Nelson's 13 points, the Owls lost their fourth consecutive game on Saturday at The Liacouras Center. | NOEL CHACKO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Women’s Basketball (10-15, 5-8 American Athletic Conference) lost to Houston (11-14, 7-5 The American) 56-48 on Saturday afternoon at The Liacouras Center. The Owls’ turnover struggles continued to be a problem against the Cougars, after losing a season high 26 turnovers against Houston in a 65-60 loss on Feb. 4. 

“It’s tough to continue to have really bad third quarters,” said head coach Diane Richardson. “Then end up losing the game, it’s really tough to do that.”

Temple struggled to close out the game with an underwhelming showing in the second half, a problem that has plagued them all season. Guard Aleah Nelson acknowledged the poor performance was due to a lack of focus and not a fatigue issue.

“We’re just missing defensive assignments,” Nelson said. “That’s all I can really say on that. It’s just a lack of focus. I mean, it’s just a tough loss.”

The Owls again suffered from a lack of focus but this time from tipoff. Within the first five minutes, Houston started the game on a 13-0 scoring run and never looked back, as the Cougars led the entire contest.

In the early stages, Houston established their press defense that made Temple struggle in their previous meeting. The press was effective, resulting in six turnovers and poor shot selection from the Owls. As a team, Temple shot 21 percent from the floor and trailed 14-8 heading into the second quarter.

Both teams struggled to get things going offensively to open up the second quarter. Temple started to string together defensive stops by successfully contesting shots and forcing 11 turnovers while holding the Cougars to just 4-of-14 from beyond the arc.

Temple continued to play on the heels of Houston in the second half. The Cougars took better care of the basketball which led to a 15-2 scoring run to round out the third quarter and helped extend their lead to 42-31 heading into the final quarter of play.

“We should have fought back in the third quarter,” Richardson said. “We let them go on a run and we waited until the fourth quarter to really bounce back.”

Temple started to gain momentum in the fourth quarter after guard Tarriyonna Gary connected on a three-point opportunity from beyond the arc and a driving layup to cut Houston’s lead to just four points. 

Houston forward Tatyana Hill halted the Owls’ momentum with a jump shot of her own to silence the Temple crowd and give the Cougars a 49-41 lead. Hill finished with four points while grabbing 11 boards.  

Temple outrebounded Houston 46-42, leading to six-second chance points for the Owls. They also outscored Houston in the paint by 28-12. Despite the strong performance down low, second chance points by the Cougars halted the comeback attempt.

“We maintained the paint, Richardson said. “But with [Houston’s] second chance points it hurt us,” Richardson said.

Temple will try to get back in the win column when they travel to Orlando, Florida, to take on the University of Central Florida (11-13, 2-10 American Athletic Conference) on Feb. 21 at 6 p.m

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