On the first possession of the game, Temple University women’s basketball sophomore guard Asonah Alexander threw the ball inside to senior forward Mia Davis, who scored on an easy layup. On its next offensive trip down the floor, Owls freshman guard Jasha Clinton made a 3-point shot.
That was as good as it got for Temple (11-11, 11-7 The American Athletic Conference) in its 83-73 American Conference Championship quarterfinal loss to Tulane (17-7, 12-6 The American) on Tuesday afternoon.
In its previous two regular season matchups against the Green Wave, the Owls led at halftime but were easily outscored in the second half en route to two losses.
On Tuesday, Temple trailed by 11 at halftime, and Tulane extended the lead to 19 by the end of the third quarter.
The Green Wave played in a 1-2-1 zone defense to open the game, and the Owls struggled to score and keep control of the ball. After one quarter, Temple shot 6-14 from the field and had 10 first quarter turnovers. For the game, they shot 41 percent from the field and turned the ball over 23 times.
“I think overall Tulane of course outrebounded us,” Davis said. “We should have been better on the boards, and we also turned the ball over a lot. Those are things we can control, we just have to be better in those aspects.”
Temple struggled defensively as well, allowing 42 points in the paint and failing to grab defensive rebounds. Tulane scored 21 second-chance points off of 14 offensive rebounds.
“Felt like right from the start, we gave away too many second-chance opportunities defensively,” said head coach Tonya Cardoza. “It’s hard to win basketball games when you give up that many points, but we couldn’t really get control of the game.”
Tulane freshman guard JerKaila Jordan injured her ankle in the game and struggled after returning. The 16.4 points-per-game scorer was just 2-10 from the floor for seven points. Senior forward Krystal Freeman stepped up and scored 18 points. Senior guard Arsula Clark added 14 points.
“We should have got it to her [Freeman] more I think,” said Tulane head coach Lisa Stockton. “We moved the ball pretty well and a lot of times Krystal’s man was helping off on Su [Arsula] Clark when she was in the land and I thought Krystal did a great job of coming to get the ball and making shots.”
Temple cut a 13-point deficit to seven in the third quarter, but they never got closer.
“I definitely think it was a lack of focus,” Cardoza said. “I mean, we had two breakaways that we missed. I just feel like we could have played better basketball collectively.”
Clinton led the Owls with 22 points, including 5-12 shooting from 3-point range and eight assists. Davis added 20 points and eight rebounds, and junior forward Alexa Williamson had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
There is optimism surrounding the team with seniors Davis and Emani Mayo electing to return for their fifth seasons.
“Just to get an extra year and get another shot for a championship, it’ll be good for everybody coming back together,” Davis said. “Coming back together and gelling, it’s important that I get an extra year to fight for another championship.”