Owls’ transfers help shape new roster

Temple Women’s Basketball will look to their seven new transfers to help reshape the roster during Diane Richardson’s first year as head coach.

Senior guard, Aleah Nelson, transferred from Towson University and is expected to put up the most points. EARL KUFEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Last season, the Owls’ offensive plan was simple — get the ball to former forward Mia Davis as often as possible. Davis led the Owls in scoring during the last four seasons and scored 10 more points per game than the team’s second highest scorer, forward Alexa Williamson, during the 2021-22 season.

First-year head coach Diane Richardson will focus on creating what she calls an “equal-opportunity offense” that allows every player on the floor to be a scoring threat without Davis this year.

“We want everybody to score,” Richardson said. “It’s great that I came into a program where we’ve got scorers here already and we have brought some scorers in so with that mantra of being opportunity scorers, it will work well for us and we want everyone to be able to score the ball.”

The Owls used the transfer portal to create a well-rounded offense that will no longer rely on the efforts of one player, hoping it leads to a more balanced offense that can score from different spots on the floor.

Here is a look at four transfers the Owls brought in during the offseason that can make an immediate impact for Temple this season.

Aleah Nelson

Nelson, a senior guard, spent her freshman year at the University of Cincinnati and the next two years at Towson University with Richardson. Last season, she was named to the All-CAA First Team, averaging 16.6 points per game and 5.3 assists per game. 

Nelson is expected to open the season as one of the Owls’ starting guards and will be a top scoring option while also helping spread the ball to other players on the court.

“I’ve played in the [American Athletic Conference] my freshman year,” Nelson said. “It’s nothing really new to me so it is gonna be fun to kind of see how much I have built up on my game but it should be good and I don’t think we should have a problem because we’re all talented.”

Tarriyonna Gary

Gary, a junior wing, joined the Owls after playing under Richardson at Towson for two years. Gary will likely be the Owls’ starting small forward to open the season due to graduate guard Kendall Currence’s season-ending knee injury.

Gary averaged 8.2 points per game across 31 games at Towson last year, starting in 29. She also led the Tigers in three-point shooting. Last season, Temple struggled to consistently convert on three-point shots, shooting just 24 percent.

Gary could be paired on the floor with returning sophomore forward Caranda Perea – the Owls’ best three-point shooter last season – in the second unit to create a shooting-focused lineup. The Owls were last in the American Athletic Conference in three-point scoring last season, and Gary will play a big part in helping the team improve in that area this year.

Denise Solis

Solis, a senior forward, joined the Owls after spending the last three years at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and has the opportunity to enter the starting lineup for Temple. Solis averaged 9.2 points per game last season for the River Hawks.

Temple gave most of their playing time at the forward positions to Davis, Williamson and sophomore Kyra Wood last season. Solis will play a large part in replacing the production the team lost at the position after Wood and Williamson entered the transfer portal, and Davis graduated.

“We want to win a championship here and prove people wrong,” Solis said. “I love the coaching staff and the atmosphere here on campus and I feel like I can bring some experience because this is my fourth year in college.”

Rayne Tucker

Tucker, a senior forward, spent her freshman and sophomore season at James Madison University before transferring to Towson, where she was coached by Richardson during her junior season. 

Last season, Tucker averaged 6.2 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting more than 40 percent from the field across 27 games, starting in 18. Tucker will begin the season earning valuable minutes at the forward position and has the opportunity to be a member of the regular starting lineup.

The Owls ranked seventh out of 11 teams in defensive rebounding last year and Davis, Williamson and Wood, three of the team’s top four rebounders from the 2021-22 season, aren’t on the roster this year. Tucker will play a large role in helping Temple improve on the boards this season.

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