With two minutes and 16 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Temple University women’s basketball senior forward Mia Davis knocked down a jump shot to tie the Owls’ game against the University of South Carolina at 14-14.
The Gamecocks followed Davis’ basket with an 11-point run, building a lead they would never relinquish, routing Temple in what would become a more-than-60 point loss.
The Gamecocks (5-1, 0-0 South Eastern Conference), ranked fifth in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, defeated the Owls (0-3, 0-0 The American Athletic Conference) 103-41, in a game where Temple was unable to get a stop on defense and only shot 14 percent from the field in the second half.
“That was obviously not something that I’m proud of,” said Temple head coach Tonya Cardoza. “I felt like that was a waste of time. You know, we didn’t compete the way that I thought we would. And they just thoroughly kicked our ass.”
Gamecocks sophomore guard Zia Cooke had 12 first quarter points on her way to a game-high 23 points. Cooke made five 3-pointers while shooting a blistering 71 percent from behind the arc.
“I kind of figured it was gonna be a pretty good night, just based on the week that I had,” Cooke said. “When my confidence is there, I usually know it’s going to be a pretty good night.”
Davis scored 17 points to lead the Owls, while senior guard Emani Mayo added 11 points.
Davis, who was averaging 28 points per game over the team’s first two contests, was held in check shooting just 6-16 from the field.
Both Davis and junior forward Alexa Williamson picked up three first-half fouls, stifling any opportunity to keep pace with South Carolina, Cardoza said.
“They didn’t play their normal minutes,” said South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. “If they were to play their normal minutes, they can be really impactful.”
Temple was unable to get into offensive sets and turned the ball over 18 times while only making 14 total shots from the field.
South Carolina scored 30 points off of Temple turnovers while the Owls only scored four points off turnovers.
“We don’t have that leader at the guard position that can grab everybody and huddle them together and keep everybody composed,” Cardoza said.
Foul trouble forced the Owls to use a zone defense for the first time this season. The Gamecocks took advantage by shooting 8-22 from 3-point range and scoring 54 points in the paint.
South Carolina dominated on the boards, out-rebounding Temple 54-30, including 19 offensive rebounds for 20 second chance points.
“I just felt like today, more so than ever, that we really didn’t compete,” Cardoza said. “I just felt like we quit. And we didn’t, we weren’t confident in ourselves, we weren’t confident in what we were supposed to do.”
Lack of experience at the guard position hurt Temple, with freshman Jasha Clinton and sophomore Asonah Alexander combining for 2-16 shooting for five points and eight turnovers.
“We don’t have that person on the defensive side making sure that we’re doing the things that we’re supposed to be doing,” Cardoza said. “When things hit the fan, it’s like we lose focus, and we have to find ways to make sure when we’re tired when teams go on a run that we stay composed.”
Temple will host Southern Methodist (0-5, 0-1 The American) in its conference opener on Dec. 20 at 2 p.m.