The women’s basketball team extended its win streak to nine, including seven straight in the Atlantic Ten Conference, with another dominating win at home against Saint Louis, 82-48.
Senior guard Qwedia Wallace led everyone with 23 points on seven of 12 shooting, including a perfect 6-6 on free throws, as the Owls stomped on the Billikens. Junior guard Shey Peddy added 19 of her own along with a game high eight rebounds.
“I didn’t know I had that great of a game because we were playing so well as a team,” Wallace said.
“It felt okay,” Peddy added. “I was kind of out of it at the beginning, especially on defense, so I tried to make up for it by just getting easy shots and layups.”
The game turned out to be another offensive showcase for the home team in front of around 1,000 elementary school children on “School Day.” The Owls shot an impressive 56.4 percent from the floor and went nine for 11 from downtown. The team’s 81.8 three-point shooting percentage broke the school’s record for men’s and women’s basketball.
“I thought we came out and we shot the ball extremely well, especially from the three-point line,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “[Wallace] came out and was looking to be really, really aggressive and knocking down shots for us.”
Junior forward Kristen McCarthy chipped in 11 points of her own and senior forward Marli Bennett had an impressive 14 points. The 82-point outburst is the team’s second straight game with over 80 points.
From the start it was clear Temple was in control, scoring the game’s first points off a layup from Bennett. Saint Louis kept it close for a few minutes, tying the game 6-6 just four minutes in but that was the best they could manage as Temple went on an 8-0 run.
From that point on it was all Owls throughout the first half. Wallace went off for 14 points in the first 20 minutes and Peddy and Bennett tacked on 10 and 9, respectively. The Owls dominated the boards with 23 rebounds, including 17 on defense which led to 13 fast break points. Temple also controlled the paint, scoring 16 of their 40 first-half points down low.
Peddy put a decisive stamp on the first half to put the Owls up by 20 with a buzzer beating trey from just inside half court to send the squad into the lockers with a comfortable lead.
The Owls opened up the second half where they left off, going on a 13-6 run, but then fell stagnant. While Saint Louis was unable to get within 20 after their first basket of the half it was clear Temple was not as aggressive. The team was hit hard by fouls, allowing the Billikens to go ten for ten from the line in the second half.
But it never mattered. The Owls pushed their lead to 31 after Peddy made a pair of free throws with just over six minutes remaining and Saint Louis couldn’t get much closer. The team was able to afford sending in the backups for much of the final six minutes to ice the game.
“Like I said, we shot the ball extremely well, made our free throws, and out-rebounded them and those are the most important things,” Cardoza said.
The defense, however, wasn’t up on the same level as the offense throughout much of the game. While the out-rebounded the Billikens 38-27, the Owls managed just four steals and only forced 12 turnovers in all.
“Defensively we weren’t as aggressive as we have been in the past and that’s why we’ve been winning games by the scores that we have, because of our defense,” Cardoza said. “Today we won because we shot the heck out of the ball. But, again, defense is going to be the reason why we win ballgames.”
The win is the ninth straight for the Owls. Their current hot streak is starting to garner attention, as the team has been receiving a few votes in the Top 25 polls as they head into the meat of their A-10 schedule. Cardoza, however, isn’t buying into it.
“The thing is, whenever we look past or try to talk about streaks and things like that it doesn’t work out for us,” Cardoza said. “So right now we’re just trying to take it one game at a time, because we know we got the bulk of our schedule is really, really tough and all we’re focusing on is the game in front of us.”
“We’re not worried about all the talk about the streak or whatever, we’re just trying to win one game at a time,” she added.
The Owls will nonetheless try and extend the streak to ten when they travel to Duquesne, another hot team receiving top-25 votes, in the biggest game of the A-10 schedule to this point. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Jake Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.