Temple women’s basketball suffered two tough losses in recent days, the latest coming with last Tuesday’s 52-42 loss to the Scarlet Knights.
Senior guard Stacey Smalls was the only player to score in double figures for the Owls, finishing with 11 points.
The next two leading scorers were freshman Candace Dupree and sophomore Khadija Bowens, who each added eight points.
Both Dupree and Bowens have been back to back Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week honorees, Dupree being the latest honoree.
Both Temple and Rutgers were coming off tough losses, with the Owls last game resulting in a loss to No. 22 Boston College 69-62.
In that game, Dupree came away the team’s highest scorer, with 23 points.
The game against the Eagles also saw the return of junior Christena Hamilton, who had to sit out Temple’s first five games with an eye injury.
“Right now I’m just trying to play solid, concentrate on the little things,” Hamilton said.
She played 22 minutes and scored a modest seven points in her return.
What lost the game against Boston College for Temple was the number of turnovers (18) and the missed opportunities at the foul line.
The Owls prepared to face Rutgers last Tuesday night for their third home game of the season.
At the start of the first half, things were fairly even between both teams until a turnover committed by sophomre Ari Moore allowed for a Rutgers scoring run.
From that point on, the Owls would have to play catch up.
With Rutgers covering the inside well, Temple was forced to look for scoring elsewhere.
When they did get the ball inside to Dupree, the Scarlet Knights would double team her, making it hard for her to get off a good shot.
Smalls, who’s scoring has been off and on in the past three games, could not get into a good rhythm.
On defense, the Owls had trouble containing Rutgers, and the game’s leading scorer Cappie Pondexter, who had 16 points on the night.
For most of the game, Temple played a man- man defense, but Rutgers found ways to get inside to score.
Early in the second half, the Owls switched to a zone defense which looked to throw Rutgers off and allowed Temple to run the shot clock and force a few turnovers.
Soon after, they switched back to man- man with no luck in continuing to stop Rutgers from scoring.
With 15:10 left in the second half, things went from bad to worse for the Owls when their leading scorer Dupree had to come out of the game temporarily after being elbowed in the mouth.
This allowed for the Scarlet Knights to score with more ease inside, with no real answer coming from Temple.
The Owls looked for different answers throughout the game to turn things around.
The Owls usual spark off the bench, junior Tynecia Pam, saw some time in this game, providing her usual aggressiveness in grabbing rebounds and creating scoring opportunities.
Early in the first half Pam picked up two early fouls and sat out much of the rest of the first half.
At 10:48, the Owls switched back to a zone and were successful in containing Rutgers for some time, but it wasn’t enough.
Temple even tried to bring Lorenthea Jones to get some outside scoring opportunities, but nothing changed in their favor.
In the end it was the Owls third loss on the season.
“It’s plain and simple, we just got outworked,” coach Dawn Staley said.
“We were late to loose balls, they got every loose ball in the basketball.”
Temple faces No. 9 Notre Dame this Saturday at South Bend.
This will be the fourth Big East opponent for the Owls.
For us to lose a basketball game, a couple of things must have happened.
We must have been out- skilled at some point or the officiating wasn’t in our favor.
I just thought that we just got outworked. NOT SURE
Saudia Mitchell can be reached at Saudrae@hotmail.com