After getting fouled on a 3-point attempt with one second left in the fourth quarter, Pirates’ junior guard Taniyah Thompson made only two of her three free throw attempts allowing the Owls to cling to their slim one-point lead and secure a victory.
Temple University women’s basketball (11-9, 6-3 The American Athletic Conference) escaped with a 60-59 victory against East Carolina University (8-14, 1-8 The American) on Sunday afternoon at McGonigle Hall.
After a back-and-forth opening quarter, the Owls built a 14-point lead in the second quarter. They went into halftime up 35-21 after Owls’ freshman forward Kyra Wood converted on a layup from underneath the basket to cap off an 11-3 run.
Despite the halftime lead, the Owls were outscored 38-25 in the second half and struggled to adjust to the Pirates’ full court press defense.
“We had to settle everyone down,” said head coach Tonya Cardoza. “We weren’t paying attention to what was going on and we just allowed the pressure to make us go faster which made us do exactly what they wanted us to do.”
With just less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Pirates’ graduate student forward Tylar Bennett made a pair of free throws, making the score 55-54.
Just less than a minute later, Owls’ freshman guard Aniya Gourdine made a pair of free throws, and Wood converted on a layup from underneath the basket, pushing the Owls’ lead back up to six.
Gourdine finished the game with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, giving her Temple’s first triple-double of the season.
“For me it’s not really intentional,” Gourdine said. “I just try to do all of the little things right, and it feels good to finally be getting congratulated for things.”
Wood made her first start of the season – filling in for injured junior forward Alexa Williamson – and finished with 16 points and eight rebounds while shooting six for 12 from the field. The team wants to see this type of game more from Wood as she fills in for Williamson, Cardoza said.
“[Wood] has really caught my eye over the last couple of weeks,” Cardoza added. “I trust that she is going to go out there and give it her all every single day, and she always pays attention, and I have definitely seen growth.”
The Owls will look to make it three straight victories when they host the University of South Florida (16-6, 6-2 The American) on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at McGonigle Hall.