Temple Women’s Basketball (6-8, 1-1 American Athletic Conference) suffered their first conference loss of the season to the University of South Florida (13-4, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) 77-55 on Tuesday night in Tampa, Florida. The defeat comes after Temple won their conference opener on Saturday against the University of Memphis (8-6, 0-1 American Athletic Conference) 80-69.
After Temple’s defense kept up with the Bulls for much of the first half, USF’s consistent scoring was too much for Temple’s offense in the second half when they were outscored 44-25.
The Owls’ offense struggled to get anything going inside the paint at the start of the game, scoring only 10 points down low in the first half.
Meanwhile, USF began the game by hanging on the three-point line, but Temple’s defense pressured the Bulls to drive at the basket and shoot contested three-pointers, resulting in USF shooting 5-for-13 from the arc in the first half.
The Bulls’ defense transitioned into offense early on in the third quarter, leading to a 13-4 run through the first five minutes of the second half. USF tightened their ball security, allowing limited turnovers and making it more difficult for Temple to overcome their 59-46 deficit at the end of the third quarter.
“I think it was just the communication was not there like it was in the first half,” said head coach Diane Richardson. “When you’re playing a team that runs a lot of sets, communication has got to be on point. And we didn’t have that in the second half.”
Senior guard Elena Tsineke led the Bulls’ offense, finishing with 27 points on Tuesday. Temple sophomore guard Jasha Clinton struggled all night to keep up with Tsineke.
Unlike Saturday’s game against Memphis, the Owls lost their turnover battle tonight. Temple’s sloppy offense Tuesday allowed 18 lost turnovers which played a role in their demise. The Bulls scored 23 points off the Owls’ mistakes.
“We definitely have to secure the ball,” Richardson said. “I mean we had a good first half and in the second half, we just kind of had a lapse. We had a lapse in securing the ball.”
While Temple senior guard Aleah Nelson scored less than her season average, she still found a way to contribute and finished with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting.
After being outrebounded 48-39 against Memphis, Temple continued to struggle in the paint, with USF outrebounding Temple 41-30. Temple’s lack of rebounds caused the Owls to finish with only seven second-chance points.
The Owls’ offensive approach did not prioritize shots from beyond the arc, shooting only four threes and connecting on 14 of them.
Temple will look to bounce back in their next contest when they continue their away stretch against the University of Cincinnati (7-7, 0-1 American Athletic Conference) on Jan. 7 at 2 p.m.