Temple Women’s Basketball (7-9, 2-2 American Athletic Conference) suffered their second conference loss 72-51 against East Carolina University (12-5, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) in a lackluster performance Wednesday afternoon at The Liacouras Center.
The Owls struggled to create offensive opportunities, finishing with 25 turnovers, while also performing inefficiently on the chances they did have. On the defensive end, East Carolina’s uptempo offense beat the Owls, who had difficulties contesting the Pirates’ shots.
“We weren’t getting stops, we were not executing on offense,” said head coach Diane Richardson. “We turned the ball over and we just kinda felt sorry for ourselves. We have to do better than that and we’ve gotta just have some pride.”
The start of the game was competitive, with both teams trading scores early on. Sophomore forward Caranda Perea led the way for the Owls with six points in the first quarter keeping the game at a close 21-17 at the end of the period.
At the beginning of the second quarter, the Owls struggled to convert their shot attempts, shooting only 30 percent from the field. Meanwhile, the Pirates pulled away by creating scoring opportunities off Temple’s turnovers.
“They had 22 points off turnovers and that’s kind of what they do,” Richardson said. “Their defense creates their offense and they are a lower scoring team, but we just let them do what they want.”
Most of ECU’s offensive opportunities came from the interior, with 42 of their points scored down low. Senior guard Danae McNeal led the way for ECU with 28 points, 23 of which came in the second half.
Perea led the Owls’ scoring with a season-high 11 points. She shot 83 percent from the field in only 16 minutes of action.
“All week in practice our coaches told us the middle was going to be open,” Perea said. “So I made sure after practice I was getting those shots up and then it was just automatic when I was in there.”
Senior guard Aleah Nelson, who is typically the offensive kickstarter for the Owls, had an off game, finishing with only two points while going 1-of-5 from the field and 0-of-3 from deep.
Wednesday’s game was Temple’s first “school day” since 2019, where students in the Philadelphia metropolitan area show their support for Temple basketball. Today’s game had more than 3,000 students in attendance.
“It means a lot,” Perea said. “This is my second year living in Philly and after seeing the community I’ve always thought I wanted to give back somehow. So seeing the kids here and seeing them excited and looking forward to this within their day was something I was excited to do and I wish we could have won for them.”
Temple will take a short break and look to regain their confidence before their next matchup against the University of Tulsa (13-3, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at The Liacouras Center.
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