As they trailed by three points with the shot clock unplugged in the fourth quarter, Temple Women’s Basketball had an opportunity to tie the game. When junior guard Tarriyonna Gary’s three-point attempt was unsuccessful and the clock struck zero, the Owls’ chance at an unlikely victory fell through.
Temple women’s basketball (1-3, 0-0 in America Athletic Conference) lost 74-71 to the No. 24 Villanova Wildcats (4-0, 0-0 in Big East Conference) in a Big 5 showdown on Sunday night at The Liacouras Center.
The momentum swung entirely in the Wildcats’ favor at the start of the fourth quarter. Senior forward Maddy Siegrist’s layup, with six minutes and three seconds remaining in regulation, gave the Wildcats their first lead since late in the second quarter. That basket was a part of the 14-0 Vilanova run that reinvigorated the Wildcats’ team.
Villanova was clicking on all cylinders late in the game. They shot 7-of-10 from the field and made crucial free throws, going 11-of-14 from the line in the fourth.
Siegrist controlled the quarter for the Wildcats, scoring 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting. She scored 41 points and had 16 rebounds on the night.
“My teammates did a really good job getting the ball to me,” said Siegrist, highlighting the Wildcats’ 19 assists.
Temple, on the other hand, could not get shots to fall in the fourth quarter, shooting 31 percent from the field.
The Owls were no slouch on offense overall, shooting 47 percent from the field on the game. Temple’s Gary got to start in place of sophomore guard Jasha Clinton and made her scoring presence known from the beginning of the game. She sank two attempts from beyond the arc in the opening minutes of the game and continued her strong night with a career-high 23 points while going 7-of-9 pn three-point attempts.
“I give them all the confidence in the world to shoot those shots,” said Temple head coach Diane Richardson.
This was the Owls’ best performance from three-point range this season, going 11-of-24 as they continue to make the long ball a focal point of their offense.
Senior guard Aleah Nelson was successful on the offensive end, scoring 20 points on 50 percent shooting. Nelson knocked down a couple of key buckets down the stretch, including the three-pointer to cut the Wildcats’ lead down to two with 10 seconds remaining. She then hit a step-back jumper to end an 8-0 Villanova run in the middle of the third quarter.
While Temple found success on offense there were many facets of the game where they struggled, including rebounding as the Owls were outrebounded 46-33.
“Obviously we need to work on our rebounding,” Richardson said. “We were taking quick shots and not rebounding the ball.”
Second chance points were also a huge problem for the Owls as they were outscored 23 to 7. The Owls may have led at the end of the first half but they allowed the Wildcats to secure 12 offensive rebounds leading to 14 second-chance points, holding Temple back from expanding their early lead.
“What you saw today is the way we want to play,” Richardson said. “That intensity and defensive effort that we showed today is going to be Temple Basketball.”
Richardson was pleased with the team’s hustle and effort against a nationally-ranked opponent. Just 13 days prior the Owls were dominated by another previously-ranked opponent in Princeton, losing 67-49 in the season opener.
The Owls will look to get back on track on Wednesday as they continue Big 5 play against St. Joseph’s University (4-0, 0-0 The Atlantic 10 Conference) at 5 p.m. at Hagan Arena.