What was supposed to be the role of one player this season has now become the role of three.
Temple’s women’s basketball team lost its starting center, Candice Dupree.
In her place, Tynecia Pam, Lorenthea Jones and Mercedes Miller have become the immediate answer for the team at this point.
Pam, a junior college transfer from Syracuse, N.Y., has started the past three games in Dupree’s absence.
For much of the season, Pam was coming off of the bench and averaging 4.3 rebounds a game.
Taking the starter’s position has elevated her from the bench to the post player on a team that is undersized compared to other teams in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
“When I was coming off the bench, I brought energy to the team and created a spark when I wasn’t starting,” Pam said.
“I think we needed to step up anyway with or without Candace.”
Jones, another junior college transfer, has not seen much playing time this season.
However, she turned in a huge performance against LaSalle two weekends ago with 27 points and eight rebounds.
It’s a wonder how all of that talent was under wraps for so long.
“I knew I could do it all along, I was holding back,” Jones said.
“I feel as though it was my time and I owe it to the team.”
Miller, a freshman, rounds out the group.
She has mainly come off the bench, showing great energy and quickness in the post.
Under these circumstances, she will have the chance to prove her ability.
Miller, as well as the rest of her teammates, remains motivated by the simple fact that March is near.
She wants to win the A-10 Tournament.
“I think with [Dupree] going out, it was a motivation because a lot of people were depending on her to win the games for us,” Pam said.
“And now that she’s out, everybody’s looking at the other three post players that weren’t really getting a lot of time.”
No one in the group of three has seen Dupree-like minutes, which is a decision made by the coaching staff.
Jones, who saw 28 minutes against LaSalle, only had six minutes of playing time against Xavier last Thursday.
“I didn’t think that this was a game that she could be effective in,” coach Dawn Staley said.
“We needed to be more physical down low, we needed to be quicker in helping, and we needed a little better defense. It wasn’t her night tonight. That position is by committee; you don’t get 20 minutes every night.”
It will be a game-to-game observation as to who will be the x-factor for the team.
What is certain is that the three committee members have a huge task at hand: containing the post as well as they can.
“The fact that the opportunity was there for the other players to step up and to do what needs to be done is motivation,” Jones said.
“With the tournament coming up and all of these big games coming up, we still have business to take care of.”
In their game against Xavier, it was a lesson in acting, with Xavier getting to the line 29 times to Temple’s 10 attempts.
Even though there was a question on whether the officiating was accurate or not, it was clear that Xavier greatly benefited from the rulings and took advantage.
“I can’t keep going into our locker room and keep telling our kids that they’re not good enough to win basketball games,” Staley said.
With the loss, the Owls fall to 9-14 overall and 5-7 in the conference.
Saudia Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org