Owls’ poor offense key factor in conference losses

After their win against the University of Cincinnati, Temple Women’s Basketball is on a three game losing streak due to inefficient shooting and poor ball control.

Temple Women's Basketball has been inefficient on offense heading into the second half of conference play. ERIKA MONN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Women’s Basketball (7-10, 2-3 American Athletic Conference) is currently on a three-game losing streak in conference play after a 72-51 loss against East Carolina University (13-6, 3-2 The American) on Jan. 11,  a 69-57 defeat against the University of Tulsa (15-3, 5-0 The American) on Jan. 17 and a 64-32 loss against the University of Memphis (11-8, 3-3 The American) on Jan. 21.

Temple has struggled in road contests this seasonand failed to score consistently against a fast Tulsa team by not creating open space and, instead, settling for contested shots that left them entering halftime trailing 41-17. The Owls finished the game shooting 27 percent from the floor, their lowest shooting percentage all season.  

“We started out a little bit slow, shots weren’t falling,” said head coach Diane Richardson following the contest. “But what I’ve got to say is that I am really proud of the way this team stayed in the game and didn’t put their heads down and fought back.”

Temple’s ability to execute its fast-paced, equal opportunity offense will be the deciding factor in creating shooting opportunities. If Temple wants to win games during the remainder of conference play, Richardson will need to involve shooters besides their main scorers. 

Here are some takeaways from Temple’s previous three games: 

Struggles from Beyond the Arc 

Despite Temple prioritizing finding three-point opportunities this season, the Owls were lackluster from three throughout the past three games. 

Against East Carolina, only attempted 15 three-point opportunities and connected on four of them. Against the University of South Florida (17-4, 6-0 The American) on Jan. 3, the Owls made four of 14 threes. Then, against Memphis, Temple made only four of 22 three-point attempts. 

For the Owls to capitalize on their open opportunities, they need to have the right shooters in the right spots. Their bigs should be down low, while guards remain around the perimeter when they are not slashing to the basket. Richardson’s current up-tempo offense often finds interior players on the wings, creating low-percentage shots. 

The Owls were poor from beyond the arc against the Golden Hurricane on Tuesday as well, with Temple shooting 7-of-24 from three. The Owls’ only bright spot during the contest was junior guard Tarriyonna Gary finishing 5-of-8 from the three-point line and scoring 19 points. 

“We had to come back and the coaches were telling me to shoot the ball, so I just started shooting,” Gary said.

Gary’s re-emergence as a three-point threat can be the key to Temple’s success in shooting the three-point ball and getting other teammates involved to help rejuvenate the offense.

Sloppy Offense 

Temple is currently ranked fourth in the American Athletic Conference in turnovers, averaging 15.88 per game. The Owls’ sloppy offense was on full display against East Carolina as their offensive mistakes resulted in Temple’s season-high 25 turnovers. 

In general, the Owls force unnecessary passes in between opposing defenders, and dribble the ball into traffic when there are no open passing lanes. Their half-court offensive sets also utilize lots of isolation play that leads to easy turnovers.    

“We weren’t getting stops, we were not executing on offense,” Richardson said after Temple’s loss to East Carolina. “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.”

However, against Tulsa, Temple fared much better in controlling the ball and not forcing passes, while only allowing nine turnovers. The Owls also had better ball movement, but ultimately couldn’t make shots. 

The Owls need to communicate and take better care of the basketball on offense in hopes of limiting turnovers against their opponents, which could determine Temple’s outcome for upcoming games. 

On Tap

The Owls will hit the road when they travel to New Orleans to take on Tulane University (13-7, 3-4 American Athletic Conference) on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. in hopes of getting back in the win column.

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