When Owls sophomore forward Ines Piper blocked Shockers senior forward Jane Asinde’s jump shot midway through the second quarter, it sent Asinde to the ground. Senior guard Aleah Nelson grabbed the rebound and pushed the basketball in transition to find her teammate sophomore forward Caranda Perea, who knocked down the three-point opportunity to extend Temple’s lead to 21-14.
Temple Women’s Basketball (10-11, 5-4 American Athletic Conference) won their third straight game, earning a conference record above .500 after defeating Wichita State (13-9, 3-6 The American) 72-59 on Wednesday night at The Liacouras Center. The Owls continued to thrive off the energy that their starting lineup brings to the court, performing well while using a roster with only eight available players.
“It was a hard fought game,” said head coach Diane Richardson. “We did not get rattled in the end and pulled out a win, showing a lot of tenacity as a team.”
Temple entered the contest hoping to have a more fluid offense with better shot selection and consistent second chance opportunities. The Owls were able to score on more attempts in Wednesday’s game than they did in a 63-56 victory against the University of Central Florida (10-9, 1-6 The American) on Jan. 28, where the Owls grabbed a new season-high 19 offensive rebounds.
It was a team effort on the offensive side of the ball that displayed the equal opportunity offense Richardson has wanted her team to embody. Temple finished the game shooting 46 percent from the floor, totaling 19 team assists and having all eight players record baskets.
Perea led the Owls in scoring, finishing with a career-high 17 points while going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and grabbing four rebounds. The forward’s previous career high of 15 points came against the Shockers last year at The Liacouras Center.
“At the beginning of the game, my teammates just found me and I got a few open shots,” Perea said. “[Aleah] kept yelling at me all game, telling me to shoot the ball.”
In the early minutes of the first quarter, Temple struggled to connect on their three-point opportunities. The inefficiency from beyond the arc forced the offense to work inside, knocking down shots inside the three point line with Temple shooting 53 percent from the floor and leading 18-12 after the first ten minutes.
The Owls’ rebounding struggles were prevalent in the first half as the Shockers continuously maneuvered their way inside the paint to grab 10 offensive rebounds and 21 total rebounds. Temple’s high-energy offense still had the advantage entering halftime leading 35-28.
In the second half, Temple wasted no time pushing the ball in transition, leading to a 22-point third quarter and extending their lead to 57-41 entering the last quarter of play.
The Shockers took advantage of the Owls’ fatigue in the fourth quarter, going on a 9-0 scoring run to cut the deficit to nine points. Junior guard Tarriyonna Gary connected with a three at the top of the arc to bring the lead back to 12 points and halt Wichita State’s momentum.
Stifling defense continues to be a strong suit as the Owls forced the Shockers to make unnecessary passes that resulted in 16 lost turnovers.
“Knowing that we only have eight [players], just putting themselves on the line no matter what, it makes me feel good,” Richardson said. “It lets them know that they are all in and they have each other’s back.”
Temple will hit the road in hopes of continuing their winning streak when they travel to face Houston (8-13, 5-3 The American) on Saturday at 2 p.m.