Owls top Mustangs, clinch bye in AAC Tournament

Temple University women’s basketball defeated Southern Methodist University 56-48 on Wednesday night in Dallas, Texas.

Aniya Gourdine, a freshman guard, recorded 13 points in an Owls' win against Southern Methodist University on Mar. 2. | NICK DAVIS / FILE

With just less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Owls’ freshman guard Aniya Gourdine converted a 3-pointer, giving the Owls a 52-48 lead and sealing their victory.

Temple University women’s basketball (13-14, 8-8 The American Athletic Conference) defeated Southern Methodist University (13-13, 7-7 The American) 56-48 on Wednesday night in Dallas, Texas.

With the victory, the Owls clinched the fourth seed and a first round bye in next week’s American Athletic Conference Tournament. They will play the Mustangs for a third straight game in the second round of the tournament on March 8.

“It was a big win for us because it gives us the opportunity to end the regular season on a good note,” said head coach Tonya Cardoza. “Last game against these guys was a really close one, and we made some adjustments and found a way to pull it out, which is always hard to do on the road.”

The Owls got off to a hot start, outscoring the Mustangs 17-7 in the first quarter behind nine points from graduate student forward Mia Davis.

Despite entering halftime with a 29-19 lead, the Owls were outscored 23-13 in the third quarter and were on the wrong side of an 8-2 run, which Mustangs’ graduate student guard Sydne Wiggins capped off with a mid-range jumper tying the game at 42.

“Last game, we didn’t get stops and didn’t get rebounds down the stretch,” Cardoza said. “Today, we were playing a lot better defense, and we were really securing the ball, and we knocked down some big shots.”

After a back-and-forth start to the fourth quarter, the Owls closed out the game on a 12-0 run that freshman guard Jasha Clinton capped off with a pair of free throws.

Davis led the way offensively for the Owls, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds while shooting six for 12 from the field.

“When you look at all the teams around the conference, everyone gameplans to stop [Davis],” Cardoza said. “If she doesn’t get the league MVP it would be a travesty because when teams go into games, they are trying to make sure she doesn’t get the ball. And she’s still putting up a double-double and leading the conference in scoring.”

Temple’s matchup against the Mustangs in the second round of the AAC Tournament will tip-off at 3 p.m. in Fort Worth, Texas. 

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