With a chance to win its third straight game, the women’s basketball team traveled southward to take on South Florida in a rematch, after the Bulls topped the Owls in a 12-point defeat last month.
The result left the Owls dealing with a blowout loss, as the No. 2 team in the American Athletic Conference dispatched Temple, 79-53, Sunday.
“They really did take it to us,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “They really did kick our butts today, on both sides of the basketball.”
From the start, Temple (13-15, 9-6 The American) was unable to keep up with South Florida’s efficient and balanced offensive attack.
The Bulls (22-5, 13-2 The American) had five players score in double figures, including freshman Laura Ferreira with her team-high 17 points, and shot 48 percent from the field. The Owls held junior Courtney Williams to eight points below her season average of 20 points per game.
“I thought we did a good job on Courtney,” Cardoza said. “Other guys stepped up for them and made shots for them and helped control the game.”
“That’s what makes a good team,” Cardoza added. “When someone tries to take away your best player out of the game, other guys step up and contribute and that’s what South Florida did.”
Offensively for the Owls, it was a struggle all day.
Temple shot a season-low 27 percent from the floor and sophomore Feyonda Fitzgerald, 15 points, and Tyonna Williams, 17 points, were the only Owls to score in double figures.
The Owls also attempted 25 3-pointers, which is the sixth time in seven games that the Owls have attempted 20 plus 3-pointers.
The Owls’ two leading scorers, freshman Alliya Butts and junior Erica Covile, were held to 11 points total on 3 of 22 shooting from the field combined. For Butts, it was the first time the freshman guard did not post double-figure scoring totals in 11 games.
“We missed some easy shots around the basket that definitely could have gained some confidence from that,” Cardoza said. “I thought USF did a good job of making it difficult for us to get easy looks.”
After the Owls held an early 8-7 advantage, the Bulls went on a 13-3 run to pull away and take a 39-22 lead at halftime. The Owls scored five points in the final eight minutes of the first half.
When play resumed in the second half, it was much the same for the Owls. South Florida opened the second half on a 15-2 run in the first seven minutes of the half.
With the season soon coming to the end, the Owls will travel to Dallas to take on Southern Methodist on Wednesday night.
Sophomore Safiya Martin left the game with an injury. There was no update on her condition following the contest … The Owls are currently tied for fifth place in the American Athletic Conference.
Michael Guise can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Michael_Guise.