Temple Women’s Basketball (4-5, 0-0 The American Athletic Conference) only shot 26 percent from beyond the three-point line, showcasing a poor shooting performance and contributing to their 77-65 loss to Old Dominion University (6-3, 0-0 Sun Belt Conference) on Nov. 30. Since then, the Owls have ironed out their offensive woes and have now won consecutive games.
If the Owls want to sustain their momentum after winning back-to-back games for the first time this season, they need to play better defense underneath the basket and move the ball down the court faster to help score fastbreak points and transition effectively between defense and offense.
“We knew that our speed was going to be the key,” said head coach Diane Richardson. “If we can, you know, hold them in defensively, hold them and get stops. We can get out in transition.”
Following a difficult 1-4 record to start the season, Temple forced turnovers to help them secure their past two victories.
In the win against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2-5, 0-0 America East Conference) 68-53 on Dec. 3 the Owls forced 25 turnovers and scored 28 points off those takeaways.
Richardson then got her first Big 5 win of her Temple career on Dec. 5 in a 70-56 victory against La Salle University (6-4, 0-0 Atlantic-10). Temple maintained the strength of their defense with the Owls recording 22 turnovers off the Explorers and scoring 27 fastbreak points.
In these wins, Temple’s defense started to gel more as a team, despite struggling to produce a complete 40-minute effort on the defensive side of the ball. If they want to continue winning games they will need consistent rebounding and offensive contributions from their low post players.
Here are some takeaways from Temple’s previous three games.
Despite seven transfers who joined Temple’s roster to improve rebounding this season, the Owls still have issues on the glass.
Temple’ did not rebound well against Old Dominion due to their inability to fight for the ball inside the paint. The Owls were outrebounded 46-30 against the Monarchs while shooting just 35 percent from the field.
Richardson acknowledged that while her team’s weakness is rebounding, the Owls have recently been on the winning side of games due to their successes on the glass against UMBC and La Salle.
“When we rebound well, we win games,” Richardson said following the Owls’ win against the Explorers. “That’s one of our Achilles’ heel for us, is we’re not rebounding well enough and today they stepped up and rebounded.”
Sophomore forward Ines Piper has emerged as an asset on the glass for the Owls. Piper set her season high in rebounds with nine against UMBC, and continued grabbing rebounds against La Salle with another nine boards for the second-straight contest. The performance helped Temple reach 46 rebounds, tying their season high of rebounds in the game against the Explorers.
Piper, who ranks second on the team in rebounds with five per game, can’t be the only player in the paint contributing to rebounding. Sophomore forward Caranda Perea and redshirt junior Brittany Garner also need to help down low if the Owls want to succeed.
Graduate guard Aleah Nelson, sophomore guard Jasha Clinton and sophomore guard Tiarra East have been the Owls’ main scorers so far this year. The trio grabs defenders’ attention, paving the way for other teammates to get involved offensively.
Nelson has been named to the American Athletic Conference and Big 5 Weekly Honor Roll for the second consecutive week. Nelson is third in the AAC with 16 points per game, and second in the conference with 5.5 assists per game.
Clinton has also continued her offensive success during this three-game stretch, recording a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds against the Explorers.
East had the best game of her career against the Explorers, recording 25 points which was her career high in points during her tenure as an Owl. She made the AAC freshman team last season and is now second on the team with scoring, averaging 11 points per game.
If Temple wants to sustain their high-powered offense, the trio will have to continue to facilitate the offense by shooting the ball well and creating their own shots.
The Owls will continue their Big 5 stretch when they travel to the University of Pennsylvania (4-5, 0-0 Ivy League) on Dec. 11 at 12 p.m. at The Palestra, in hopes of extending their winning streak to three games.
Temple will then head back to The Liacouras Center as they take on Duquesne University (6-2, 0-0 Atlantic-10) on Dec. 16.