Owls use balance to set up points

Coming off an 83-point victory, the Owls point to balance as the key.

Senior guard Tyonna Williams drives to the basket during the Owls’ 83-50 victory against Cincinnati. | Jenny Kerrigan TTN
Senior guard Tyonna Williams drives to the basket during the Owls’ 83-50 victory against Cincinnati. | Jenny Kerrigan TTN

In the lone game of their week, the Owls managed to score a season-high in points with an 83-50 win against Cincinnati. The squad’s 49.3 shooting percentage from the floor was also a season high.

While the victory showed what the Temple offense can do when it is clicking on all cylinders, it was not representative of the team’s production this season.

Inconsistent offensive play has contributed to the Owls’ losing record (9-11, 5-2 American Athletic Conference). Using the game against the Bearcats as an idea of what their potential can be, the Owls are trying to find different ways to enhance their offensive production.

Offensively for the Owls, equal distribution is crucial. This season, four players are averaging double figures in scoring.

With the squad aiming to produce from a variety of places, the Owls want to challenge defenses and make it hard for teams to focus on one single player. But for a team that shoots 36 percent from the field – this production from all players on the court is necessary.

“It makes everything way easier because then it is just not pressure on one person because we are all producing,” freshman Tanaya Atkinson said. “It’s really a team effort … it’s way more fun.”

In games in which the Owls score 70-plus points, they are 8-1. In those eight games, the Owls have had four or more double-digit scorers six times. When the Owls share the ball, their offensive production increases their chance to win. In games where the Owls have 13 or more assists, the team is 7-2.

“I think we are really unselfish and it’s not one person really caring about burdening the scoring load,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “But, when everyone is involved and working the ball, it just makes us that much more difficult to defend.”

Despite the Owls’ shooting struggles, as they rank 309th out of 343 Division I teams in field-goal percentage since the most recently available statistics were released, the team has still been able to put points on the board. Temple’s average of 66.6 points per game ranks 135th in Division I, a mark helped by the team’s fast-tempo style.

The Owls have forced 8.5 steals per game and have the 83rd-best turnover margin among Division I schools. As a result, they have attempted 1,358 shots this season, the fifth-most among D-I schools.

Making plays on the defensive end helps Temple’s quick guards get out in transition for easy buckets.

“We have to scramble around and try to get loose balls, get in the passing lanes, try to trap and make things happen so that we can get out and run,” Cardoza said after a 72-57 defeat of Central Florida on Jan. 17.

Michael Guise and Owen McCue can be reached at sports@temple-news.com

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