Temple Women’s Basketball (1-1, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) earned its first win under head coach Diane Richardson with Saturday’s 78-61 blowout victory against Georgetown University (1-1, 0-0 Big East). Before that, the team opened the season with a humbling 67-49 loss at No. 24 Princeton University last Monday.
“I think we proved that this is our house as well,” Richardson said following the win against Georgetown. “[The Liacouras Center] is a great place to play. It’s comfortable and makes us feel good to play here and have the fans.”
Temple has showed what it wants to do as a team this season through running opponents off the three-point line while taking a fair share of their own, but the Owls also proved they have a few things to work on.
Here are a few things to keep in mind after their first two games:
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OFFENSE
Richardson is consistently implementing her “equal-opportunity offense” idea this season, which aims to keep enough scorers engaged throughout the game to preserve the best ones for crunchtime. So far, the trio of guards, sophomore Jasha Clinton, sophomore Tiarra East and senior Aleah Nelson, have taken a similar amount of shot attempts in two games with 23, 25 and 27, respectively.
While this is a small sample size, those numbers and their first win show how sharing the ball could work to improve Temple’s scoring. Richardson’s ideology comes after former forward Mia Davis, the program’s all-time leading scorer, attempted 396 shots last season, which was miles ahead of the next closest player, guard Aniya Gourdine, who had 216 in her freshman season.
East has enjoyed a strong start to the season. She recorded a double-double against Princeton, and had 14 points and seven assists in the win against Georgetown.
“I’m really a big guard,” East said. “So when the ball goes up there I’m trying to get second-chance points.”
While Clinton may have only shot 2-of-7 from the field, she managed to get to the free throw line 11 times in the win against Georgetown. With 18 free throw attempts on the season so far, Clinton is on pace to surpass the 39 attempts that she had last season.
“From the head coach all the way down to the assistant coaches, they put the confidence in me to attack with the ball,” Clinton said. “They believe in me, I believe in me and my teammates believe in me.”
Three-point shooting has been hard to come by for the Owls in recent history as they shot roughly 25 percent from beyond the arc during the last two seasons. Richardson has pushed her players to continue to put up three-point attempts early and often, especially after Richardson’s team at Towson University last season averaged about 23 three-point attempts per game, which ranked second in the Colonial Athletic Association.
“You know, we didn’t hit as many as we wanted to,” Richardson said after the Owls shot 8-of-25 from beyond the arc against Georgetown. “But I still wanted them to continue to shoot.”
An emphasis on perimeter shooting may not be a bad idea for the Owls as they play more games this season. Despite shooting an abysmal 1-of-20 from beyond the arc in the season opener against Princeton, Temple was not taking bad shots, but they struggled to convert on open looks.
DIFFERENCES DOWN LOW
Temple’s success in the paint is certainly a tale of two games. The Owls were outrebounded 51 to 28 in their loss at Princeton, only scoring three second-chance points. Fortunately for Temple, they had much more success on the boards against Georgetown because the Hoyas weren’t physically imposing. The Owls outrebounded the Hoyas 46 to 38 and had 15 second-chance points.
“Everybody crashed the board because of the second-chance shot,” Richardson said. “They were crashing the boards and going in and getting the rebounds, especially at very opportune times.”
The Owls will travel to Saint John’s University (2-0, 0-0 Big East) on Wednesday night. The Red Storm has blown out its first two opponents – Monmouth University (2-1, 0-0 CAA) and St. Francis Brooklyn (1-2, 0-0 Northeast Conference) – by a combined 61 points.
On Nov. 20, the Owls will play Villanova University (2-0, 0-0 Big East) at The Liacouras Center for Temple’s first and Villanova’s second Big 5 game of the season. The Wildcats are coming off a 69-59 win at Princeton.