After beginning the season 0-2, the womens basketball team has come back strong by routing Northern Illinois 79-56 at home Tuesday night to grab its second-straight win.
Led by junior guard Shey Peddy’s game-high 23 points and four steals, the Owls dominated Northern Illinois (3-2) on both ends of the court, shooting 51.7 percent from the field while holding the Huskies to just 22.7 percent shooting in the second half.
“I’m happy with our team’s performance, mainly in the second half and the last 10 minutes especially,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “Obviously, Shey had a great game for us to set the tone, coming out and looking to be aggressive on the offensive end as well as on defense by getting in the passing lane and getting some steals for us.”
Coming off a 20-point performance against Buffalo, Peddy scored 16 points in the first half to give her team a 13-point lead and finished the night 10 of 16 from the field. The 5-foot-7 point guard was also three of seven from behind the arc and a perfect four of four from the free throw line.
“I thought I was more aggressive in this game than I was in the first two games,” Peddy said. “I could still be a little more aggressive on defense and keep the tempo of the game in our control. I think I’m getting all my jitters out now and becoming the point guard coach wants me to be.”
Defended by Peddy for most of the night, Northern Illinois redshirt-senior guard and leading scorer Marke Freeman led the Huskies with 21 points and four rebounds on the night. Fellow redshirt senior Ellis Ebony also had a big night for the Huskies, posting a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
“I though Northern Illinois did a great job of competing,” Cardoza said. “The score is not indicative of how they played. They played really hard and had kids that played great for them. I just thought we had a lot of help from our bench.”
Junior guard BJ Williams came off the bench to record 13 points and a game-high six assists for the Owls. Senior forward Danielle Brinkley also came off the bench to score three points and grab three rebounds, and starting forward Natasha Thames contributed six points and recorded a team-high eight rebounds.
Senior guard and leading scorer Qwedia Wallace started off the game strong for the Owls, scoring two quick back-to-back lay-ups to give Temple an 8-0 lead. Despite Wallace only playing 12 minutes due to foul trouble, the Owls maintained at least a four-point lead throughout the first half.
“We allowed them to stick around by putting them on the free-throw line and committing a lot of fouls where now we have to sit on the bench,” Cardoza said. “I thought the way the refs were calling the game made us start to back off of them a lot and that allowed them to get to the basket. I really didn’t feel in control of the game until the last 10 minutes.”
After reaching halftime with a seven-point lead, Temple dominated the Huskies, holding them scoreless from the field for nearly 15 straight minutes in the second half. The Owls were also highly efficient on the offensive end, turning the ball over only eight times during the game. The Huskies, on the other hand, committed 17 turnovers, which resulted in 30 points for Temple.
Now 2-2 on the season and coming off two big wins at home, the Owls will hit the road to California this weekend for their next two games against Pepperdine and No. 13 UCLA.
“I thought the last 10 minutes was probably the best basketball we’ve played so far,” Cardoza said. “I’m going to enjoy this but knowing that we have a tough road ahead of us.”
Jeffrey Janiczek can be reached at email@example.com.