Owls win conference opener against Bearcats

Temple University women’s basketball defeated the University of Cincinnati 75-68 on Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Mia Davis, a graduate student forward, led the team in scoring with 23 points during an Owl's game against the University of Cincinnati on Jan. 8. | NOEL CHACKO / FILE

With just less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Owls’ graduate student forward Mia Davis drove to the basket and made a layup that extended their lead to four, putting an end to the Bearcats’ 10-4 run and comeback hopes.

Temple University women’s basketball (6-6, 1-0 The American Athletic Conference) defeated the University of Cincinnati (7-7, 0-2 The American) 75-68 on Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The win marked the Owls’ first victory in 34 days following three straight postponements due to COVID-19 protocol issues in their program.

“We didn’t even have a real team practice until Wednesday,” said head coach Tonya Cardoza. “A lot of it was just making sure we didn’t rush anybody and make sure the amount of time spent on the court wasn’t overkill.”

The Owls got off to a hot start early, leading by 15 after Davis and junior forward Alexa Williamson scored a combined 17 points in the first quarter.  

“The difference was the points in the paint,” Cardoza said. “We did a really good job of attacking them, which helped us score or get to the free-throw line and we shot a bunch of free throws.”

Despite the hot start, the Bearcats pulled within nine going into halftime. They opened the second half on a 9-3 run capped by a layup from Bearcats’ sophomore guard Jillian Hayes, cutting the Owls’ lead to three.

With less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Bearcats’ graduate student forward Arame Niang converted a layup to cap off a 10-4 run, cutting Temple’s lead to just two points.

Graduate student guard Emani Mayo and freshman guard Aniya Gourdine scored late free throws, putting the game away and securing the Owls’ victory.

The Owls did not surrender the lead at any point during the contest, despite the close finish. However, they could have put the game away quicker, Cardoza said.

“I felt like we were in control of the entire game but their little lapses that we had which led to wide-open shots,” Cardoza added.

Davis led the team in scoring, finishing with 23 points in 35 minutes and shooting 10-of-17 from the field. She also added seven rebounds and a pair of blocks. It was her fourth 20-point outing this season.

“That’s who [Davis] is,” Cardoza said. “She’s not only not going to shy away from it, but she accepts it and goes and tries to put us on her back and go and win the game.”

The Owls will look to win back-to-back victories when they travel back to Philadelphia to take on Big-5 rival, University of Pennsylvania (6-7, 1-0 The Ivy League) on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. at The Palestra.

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