For the first 16minutes of the game, it looked like the women’s basketball team would slip even further from the top of the Atlantic Ten Conference.
But over the next 24 minutes, the Owls turned what was as large as a nine-point deficit in the first half into a 10-point victory, beating Dayton, 62-52.
“We came out of the locker room really, really excited,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “We felt really good about the Central Michigan game, so they were coming out here really excited about playing. And then once we stepped out on the court, we looked really, really tired for the first four minutes of the game.”
But despite that fatigue, Temple (13-7, 4-2 A-10) still entered the locker room at halftime tied 32-32 with the Flyers (13-9, 2-4 A-10) thanks to two 3-pointers by junior guard LaKeisha Eaddy. Eaddy’s first 3 tied the game at 24, while her second gave the Owls their first lead of the game, 27-24, with 2:30 left.
Eaddy said afterward that she didn’t even realize the score when she took the two shots.
But her coach sure did.
“They were huge because they gave us the lead,” Cardoza said. “When you get the lead, your mindset starts to change.”
The Owls trailed only once after that at 41-42 with 15:20 left in the second half. They opened that half on a 5-0 run and then used a17-4 run to grab their largest lead of the day, 58-46.
“I think you’ve got to step on their hearts the first four minutes of the second half,” Cardoza said. “And that’s exactly what we did.”
Dayton’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Kristin Daugherty, scored two points above her average of 13.9, but only three of them came in the second half.
“She had 15 points on 16 shots, which I thought was pretty good defense on our part,” Cardoza said.
That defense also outrebounded the Flyers 26-11 in the second half after only posting a four-rebound advantage in the first. Freshman forward Kristen McCarthy, who left the game for four minutes in the first half after injuring her right ankle diving for a loose ball, led the team with 10.
“She’s just so athletic,” Cardoza said. “She sees the ball, and she goes and she gets it. She doesn’t see the other players in there, just the ball. She’s like Dennis Rodman.”
And sophomore center Marli Bennett helped out in the paint, too, scoring a career-high 10 points.
“I love when Marli’s in the game,” senior forward Shanea Cotton said. “She does take the pressure off me and Shenita.”
Temple travels to Fordham on Wednesday. The Rams haven’t won an A-10 game yet this season.
“They’re hungry for their first win,” Cardoza said. “And they’re better than they were last year. We can’t look past Fordham and ahead to next Sunday.”
Game Notes: The coaches wore pink ribbons and sneakers during the game. The sneakers were part of the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative, while the pink ribbons were in support of North Carolina State coach Kay Yow, who passed away last Saturday after a more than 20-year-long battle with breast cancer.
Jennifer Reardon can be reached at email@example.com.