Temple University women’s basketball (1-0, 0-0 The American Athletic Conference) won 73-53 against Saint Francis University (0-1, 0-0 The Northeast Conference) in its season opener on Tuesday evening.
Even though the Owls led by a decent scoring margin throughout the game, they had to find their defensive rhythm early on, and settled down on both sides of the ball as the contest progressed.
“Coming into this season, we were just really really anxious,” said head coach Tonya Cardoza. “We’ve been practicing now for a few months, so I think one of the reasons we were a little rusty in that first quarter was because we were a little anxious trying to hurry up and get it going.”
Saint Francis scored 30 points in the first half as Temple led by ten. After halftime, the Owls stayed on top and worked on keeping the Red Flash out of the paint, only allowing them to score just another 23 points.
Temple regained control in the third quarter after some communication adjustments on defense prevented the Red Flash from executing their offense efficiently, which limited their scoring opportunities.
Temple played with a deep bench, rotating almost everyone on its active roster.
“I felt like everybody that came out there today contributed in some type of way,” Cardoza said. “I felt like the communication got better as the game went on, and I just really like our overall team effort.”
Graduate students forward Mia Davis and guard Jiselle Thomas led the team in points. Thomas scored a team-high 20 points while shooting seven of 11 from the field. Davis followed closely behind with 18 points, most of which were scored in the second half.
“Like coach said, we rush a lot of shots, so me rushing, I traveled a lot,” Davis said. “When Caranda [Perea] came in again, it opened up more.”
Once the Owls settled down and focused on defense, they honed in on Saint Francis’ tendency to spend too much time dribbling instead of using ball movement and screens to free up open shots.
As a team, Temple forced 28 total turnovers, which they turned into 26 points. They also scored 15 second chance points and 11 fast break points.
“The mindset was to turn them over,” Cardoza said. “The mindset was to definitely contain them and not allow guys that can shoot to shoot the ball.”
The Owls will play their second game of the season on Friday Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. in Fort Myers, Florida against Florida Gulf Coast University (1-0, 0-0 Atlantic Sun Conference).