Temple University women’s basketball never stood a chance against Big 5 rival Villanova in their first game of the season on Friday afternoon.
The Owls (0-1,0-0 The American Athletic Conference) lost at home to The Wildcats (3-0,0-0 The Big East) 90-72 in a game where Temple struggled to shoot the ball from the field and was outscored by 16 points in the third quarter.
The game wasn’t on the initial schedule for the Owls, but both coaches agreed to play earlier in the week to give their players another chance to get on the court, said Temple head coach Tonya Cardoza.
“It’s the first time out, we had a long list of young guys and guys that haven’t played a lot of basketball for us,” Cardoza said. “But it was just good to be out on the court.”
Cardoza felt that despite the loss, the Owls needed this extra game to help them get in shape for the rest of the season.
Temple struggled to keep pace with Villanova’s offense. The Wildcats shot 51 percent from the field while the Owls only shot 41 percent from the field.
Neither shot well from three-point range. Temple made just three of their nine attempts, while Villanova made just six of their 27 attempts from beyond the arc.
Two Wildcat players scored more than20 points: sophomore forward Maddy Siegrist led the team in scoring with 23, while senior forward Brianna Herlihy recorded 22 points of her own.
Senior forward Mia Davis led the Owls in scoring with 22 points, shooting 10-of-22 from the field. The only other Owls in double figures both made their Temple debut today. Freshman guard Jasha Clinton shot 7-12 and finished with 16 points, and graduate student guard Jada Graves put up 11 points.
The Owls’ offensive strategy was to get down the court quick and feed the post inside. Temple was able to find shots near the basket. The Owls got a combined 31 shots out of their primary post players, Davis and junior forward Alexa Williamson, but they weren’t able to finish at the rim.
“We definitely missed a lot of shots we should have finished,” Davis said.
Both teams struggled to take care of the ball. The Owls turned the ball over 14 times, compared to Villanova’s 15 turnovers.
However, the Wildcats were able to capitalize on turnovers more often. They scored 28 points off turnovers compared to just 13 for the Owls.
“I know that we will turn the ball over a lot because we want to play fast,” Cardoza said. “But we just got to learn from our mistakes.”
Temple ended the game on a 17-2 run over the last three minutes and 53 seconds of the game, but the game was already out of reach.
The Owls’ next game is against Florida Gulf Coast (2-2, 0-0 Atlantic Sun Conference) this Sunday, at 2 p.m.