Owls using up-tempo offense to find rhythm

After a win against Bucknell, Temple Women’s Basketball is looking to keep the momentum and close out their next away contest with a victory.

Temple Women's Basketball celebrating after their win against Georgetown University. ERIKA MONN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

After a 75-66 loss at Saint Joseph’s University (6-0, 0-0 Atlantic-10) on Nov. 23, the Owls returned to the win column with a 77-62 victory against Bucknell University (2-5, 0-0 Patriot League) on Nov. 27. 

Temple Women’s Basketball (2-4, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) wants to sustain their momentum by closing out their three-game road trip with consistent scoring and improved defense. While Temple has generally struggled with team chemistry this season, the Owls may have determined faster ball movement to be their recipe for success after their win against Bucknell.

“We were more poised today and not rushing our shots,” said head coach Diane Richardson following the win against Bucknell. “We’ve got some great three-point shooters and they let the ball fly today.”

The Owls experienced a difficult start to their season when they squared off against two nationally-ranked opponents in Princeton University (3-2, 0-0 Ivy League) on Nov. 7 and Villanova University (6-1, 0-0 Big East) on Nov. 20 along with an undefeated Saint John’s University (6-0, 0-0 Big East) on Nov. 16. 

In these losses, Temple’s starting lineup consisted of five transfer players that followed Richardson from her previous coaching job at Towson University. The team overcame some of their struggles in their latest win. 

Here are some takeaways from Temple’s previous two games:

Equal Opportunity Offense

Richardson came to Temple with plans for her team to adopt an “equal opportunity offense,” meaning everyone on the court gets to touch and shoot the ball. Richardson’s teams at Towson have utilized this strategy to regularly score between 70 and 80 points.

Temple’s offense featured a much faster play style against St. Joseph’s than what had been showcased in recent games. The Owls’ game in the first half was reminiscent of what Richardson wanted from her more active offense. All five players that were on the court touched the ball, with Temple closing the first half on a 10-3 scoring run.

These were the types of runs that were missing in the Owls’ losses to Villanova and Princeton as Temple’s consistent scoring stretches wore down the Bison’s defense. 

The Owls’ offense continued their pressure in the second half when they scored 25 third-quarter points. Temple would finish the contest shooting 9-of-15 from beyond the three-point line and converting 54.9 percent of the team’s field goal attempts in their win. The 32 field goals made in the win is the team’s highest this season.

Even in the loss against St. Joseph’s, Richardson’s team was still successful on the offensive side of the ball. Temple finished the contest shooting 36 percent from three, and 93 percent from the free-throw line. The 66 points scored by Temple is the fourth-most points scored by the team this season.   

Richardson’s offensive vision is starting to take shape, and it should eventually lead to wins. Temple’s 70-plus point games simply need more defensive pressure to turn them into victories down the stretch.

Offensive Playmakers

Temple senior guard Aleah Nelson scored a season-high 23 points against Bucknell and shot 66 percent on three-point shots. Nelson has averaged 19.5 points and 5.5 assists during her last two games. Her recent successes earned her honors in both the Big 5 and AAC Weekly Honor Rolls. 

However, Nelson is not the only Owl that is contributing to the offense. The recent emergence of sophomore guard Jasha Clinton has been influential to the Owls’ offense. 

The former Big 5 Rookie of the Year is currently the team’s second-leading scorer averaging 11 points per game.

Clinton achieved her season high in points with 17 against Bucknell. She is also second on the team with total points scored with 66 points, and has been solid passing the ball, averaging 3.2 assists per game.  

Nelson and Clinton must continue to facilitate the offense by getting to the basket and creating shots if the Owls want to keep up their scoring habits. The duo brings defenders’ attention their way, paving the way for other teammates to get involved offensively. 

On Tap

The Owls will continue their road trip when they travel to Old Dominion University (3-3, 0-0 Sun Belt) on Wednesday night. The Monarchs are coming off a 70-63 win against Coppin State University (2-5, 0-0 Middle Eastern Atlantic Conference) on Sunday night. 

Temple will then head back to The Liacouras Center as they take on The University of Maryland,  Baltimore County (2-3, 0-0 American East Conference) on Dec. 3.

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