Temple University women’s basketball (3-3, 3-0 The American Athletic Conference) defeated East Carolina (5-5, 3-2 The American) 66-57 on Wednesday evening.
Following a career-high 20 points against Tulane two weeks ago, junior forward Alexa Williamson led all scorers with 19 points.
After sitting most of the first half in foul trouble, Williamson scored 15 of her points in the second half, including back-to-back jumpers to extend Temple’s lead to 61-51 with three minutes and 57 seconds remaining in the game.
Williamson fouled out of the game in the second half but still finished with seven rebounds.
“Lex is coming into her own,” said Temple head coach Tonya Cardoza. “We knew that when she’s out on the floor, her and Mia [Davis], it would be difficult for them to guard. In the second half she stepped up big for us.”
Senior forward Mia Davis recorded her fourth double-double of the year for the Owls, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Despite a slow start in the first half where she shot four-of-12 from the field, Davis battled off fouls and made timely buckets in the clutch to help Temple’s winning effort.
The key for Temple’s offensive success was navigating through East Carolina’s high-pressure defense. Freshman guard Jasha Clinton and sophomore guard Asonah Alexander both had strong games, allowing Temple to fight through a Pirates’ defense averaging 12 steals per game.
Despite the 3-point marksmanship from Pirates senior guard Lashonda Monk, who made four out of five attempts from behind the arc, Temple was able to counter all of East Carolina’s runs as the teams changed leads 12 times during the game.
Clinton recorded 11 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and three steals, signs that she’s settled into her role as a key contributor. Alexander scored five points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out eight assists.
“Jasha did outstanding being a freshman and being on the road and having to go against the type of defense and pressure that they put on you,” Cardoza said.
Monk’s 3-pointer with six minutes and 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter gave ECU a 44-39 lead. Temple then outscored East Carolina 27-13 the remainder of the game, including 17-9 in the fourth quarter.
The Owls ended the game shooting 41 percent from the field, 23 percent from 3-point range and 52 percent from the foul line.
“I don’t think anybody wants to live with poor free throw shooting, it’s something we work on everyday in practice,” Cardoza said. “Every one of our guys is capable of being better free throw shooters. We just have to make sure that we’re not letting our mentality get to us when we get to the line.”
The Owls will host Central Florida (5-1, 3-0 The American) at home on Jan. 9 at 2 p.m.