After a slow start in the first half the women’s basketball team (20-6, 9-2), got a boost in scoring from sophomore guard Kristen McCarthy in the second half en route to a 52-41 win over Duquesne, a team that the Owls were tied with for second place in the Atlantic Ten Conference.
“Coming into the game, we knew it was going to be difficult, Duquesne is a very tough and scrappy team.” Coach Tonya Cardoza said. “We knew second place was on the line and we knew they weren’t going to roll over and die.”
Both teams struggled to score, but for different reasons. Duquesne could not get many scoring chances as they shot 5-19 from the floor and Temple couldn’t get their shots to fall as they went 9-34 from the floor. McCarthy, the team’s leading scorer, picked up two quick fouls and finished with two points by the end of the first half.
“She [Cardoza] always tells me to calm down and I tried to do that, I don’t know if I did that too well.” McCarthy said. “I just think some of my shots were rushed and I need to let the game come to me.”
“To be honest, there was so much on the line fighting for second place that we were a little antsy, a little too anxious instead of just calming down and being composed.” Cardoza added.
The team calmed down after halftime and McCarthy found her scoring touch, scoring 16 points to finish the game leading the team with 18 total points.
“She searched for the game, she went out there trying to make things happen for her team and that’s not so much about scoring, but just being competitive and wanting to win and wanting to make sure she led her team.” Cardoza said. “She just needed to relax and calm down.”
It also helped that the team began to attack the Dukes on the glass.
“We got ourselves some second-chance opportunities by crashing the boards.” Cardoza said. “We had Tasha [freshman center Natasha Thames] come in and grab 11 rebounds, we just got to have her get some put backs so she can get some double doubles.”
Thames 11 rebounds led the team as they out-rebounded the dukes 50-25. Temple continued to stymie Duquesne on offense. None of the Dukes scored in double digits. Junior forward Kelly Britcher lead the team with nine points. Senior guard Keri Pryor, redshirt junior forward Samantha Pollino and sophomore Alex Gensler, who each average 12.3, 12.7 and 11.6 points per game respectively, combined for 10 total points.
Up next, the Owls go on the road to face Dayton on Feb. 20 and Richmond on Feb. 24 before returning home for their season finale against George Washington Feb. 27. Tipoff is at 1 p.m. at the Liacouras Center.
Game Notes: Temple has won 20 games for the seventh straight season… The Owls have won five straight games and 10 of their last 11… Kristen McCarthy is the A-10 Player of the Week after putting up 42 points against Charlotte on Feb. 13.
Brian Dzenis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org