In the early minutes of the fourth quarter, senior guard Aleah Nelson found junior guard Tarriyonna Gary, who connected on a three-point opportunity. The shot extended Temple’s lead to 53-43 and contributed to a 14-0 scoring run, forcing Tulane to call a timeout with eight minutes remaining.
Temple Women’s Basketball (8-11, 3-4 American Athletic Conference) ended their three-game losing streak in conference play against Tulane University (13-8, 3-5 American Athletic Conference) 68-59 on Wednesday night in New Orleans, Louisiana. The victory kept three consecutive losses as the team’s longest losing streak this season.
The Owls entered Wednesday’s contest without sophomore guards Jasha Clinton and Aniya Gourdine who were both suspended by head coach Diane Richardson today for violation of team rules.
“It was just for today’s contest, they violated the team’s rules,” Richardson said.
Clinton averages 11.1 points per game, which ranks second on the team in scoring after Nelson, so her absence risked exposing a gap in the team’s scoring abilities. However, Gary stepped up, finishing with 14 points and receiving help from other scorers that converted their open looks.
“[Gary’s] got that shooter’s touch, you know, hand down, man down,” Richardson said. “And she was competent, and she pulled it today and we were really pleased with that. Her teammates are egging her on to keep shooting the basketball, so she did that today.”
During the first 10 minutes of the contest, Temple’s offense was firing on all cylinders, demonstrating the equal opportunity offense that Richardson wanted to develop with her new team. The Owls’ smart shot selection and fluid passing helped them lead 20-18 at the end of the first quarter, while shooting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Both teams were shot inefficiently in the second quarter, a trend consistent for the Owls this season. However, Temple’s defense and aggressiveness on the boards helped them maintain a 33-27 lead entering halftime. Temple forced seven turnovers and grabbed 22 rebounds through the first 20 minutes.
In the early stages of the second half, the Green Wave slowed down their offense and turned their focus to forcing turnovers against the Owls. Tulane was successful in preventing Temple’s up tempo offense, with redshirt sophomore guard Kyren Whittington leading a 10-0 scoring run to open up the second half. Whittington scored eight points in the third quarter to trim Temple’s lead to 46-41 heading into the last quarter of play.
Sophomore forward Tiarra East, who typically comes off the bench for the Owls, played a pivotal role as a starter for Temple, finishing with 20 points and leading the team in rebounds with 11.
“I think they knew that we only had eight players,” Richardson said. “And that we had to do it all together, and they had each other’s back and they fought for each other and it was a great outcome.”
Temple will look for another win when they travel back home to The Liacouras Center to take on the University of Central Florida (10-8, 1-5 American Athletic Conference) on Saturday at 2 p.m.