Women’s basketball coach Tonya Cardoza has been urging her team to take care of the ball. Tonight’s 70-56 win over Bowling Green was seemingly a step in the right direction.
Temple, averaging 24 turnovers through its first five games, coughed it up 14 times tonight in route to their fourth win of the season.
Freshman starting small forward Sally Kabengano led a balanced Temple scoring attack with a career-high 17 points. Her previous career-high was her eight-point effort against Nebraska. Kabengano also contributed five rebounds and three blocked shots aside from going 7-for-12 from the field.
After her 6-point, 6-rebound performance against Rutgers on Thanksgiving Eve, senior center Victoria Macaulay turned in another solid night in what turned out to be a Temple win. In the Owls’ two losses this season, Macaulay is averaging six points and six rebounds. In their four wins, Macaulay is averaging 19 points and 12 rebounds per game. Against Bowling Green, she scored 12 points on 6-for-13 shooting and pulled in seven rebounds. Her 12-point turnout was her lowest point total in a Temple victory thus far.
Macaulay’s front court partner, redshirt-junior power forward Natasha Thames also bounced back nicely. After a strong performance against Northeastern, Thames struggled against the Scarlet Knights last week. In tonight’s win against the Falcons, she came within one point and one rebound away from her second double-double of the season, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds.
Sixth-man sophomore guard Rateska Brown provided some life off the bench yet again for Cardoza. Brown came off the pine and knocked down five of her nine shot attempts, including 3-for-6 from three-point range, recording a season-high 15 points in 23 minutes.
Temple also turned in a strong defensive effort. For seven minutes in the second half, the Owls held the Falcons scoreless and without a field goal for over nine minutes.
After the Owls turned the ball over 120 times in five games before tonight’s win, one of the most promising statistics to take away from the 14-point win is sophomore point guard Tyonna Williams’ two turnovers. Williams, who was averaging five giveaways per game before tonight, has taken the brunt of the blame for the turnover epidemic. Following the Rutgers game, she said she planned on spending her week-long Thanksgiving break in the gym. Williams also dished out a game-high five assists against Bowling Green.
In their losing effort, redshirt-junior power forward Alexis Rogers and senior guard Chrissy Steffen led the way for the Falcons. Rogers shot 6-for-12 from the field for 13 points while gathering three rebounds. Steffen, the team’s leading scorer, also scored 13 points and brought in five rebounds. Bowling Green has now fallen to 3-3 in Jennifer Roos’ first year as head coach.
With an encouraging win, Temple has improved to 4-2 on the season. Next up, the Owls will face Syracuse on Sunday at 2 p.m. in McGonigle Hall.
Tyler Sablich can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @TySablich.