With trips to Tulane and Tulsa looming, Temple had a chance to solidify itself as the third-best team in the American Athletic Conference heading into this past weekend.
The Owls dropped the first of the two games against Tulane University on Saturday, but still came into Tuesday night’s contest tied with the University of Tulsa for fourth place in the conference.
However, Temple (11-14, 7-5 The American) let another opportunity slip away, as it fell to the Golden Hurricane by a score of 75-67.
“I think we’re good enough to compete with everybody that we’re playing against, but the fight right now is just not there,” Cardoza said.
“Right now, we need to take a step back, think out what it is we need to do and stop feeling sorry for ourselves,” Cardoza added.
Temple started the game by jumping out in front of Tulsa, as they maintained the lead for the first 16 minutes of play.
After the Golden Hurricane went on a 7-0 run to take the lead, the Owls recovered and went into halftime ahead, 33-29.
Junior Erica Covile had a well-rounded first-half performance, scoring 13 points and collecting three rebounds, two steals and two assists.
The team shot close to 42 percent from the field and made four of its attempts from 3-point range.
It was a different story for the Owls after the break, though, as they hit just 1 of 11 attempts from behind the arc in the second half.
Freshman Alliya Butts struggled with her outside shot, failing to record a 3-point basket for the first time in 11 contests, but she kept her team in the game with her second-half scoring. Butts poured in 15 of her team-high 17 points during the final 20 minutes of play.
Tulsa went on a 9-0 run beginning just after the nine-minute mark in the second half to extend its lead to 12. The Owls never recovered, as they wouldn’t get within less than eight points the rest of the way.
Cardoza said she felt her team’s response to falling behind was lacking in the game as it has at multiple times this season.
“When a team punches us, we don’t punch back,” Cardoza said. “Sometimes we want it to just be easy. When we’re really good, we’re really good. We’re kind of on a high, but I feel like when things aren’t going our way, we don’t fight like we should.”
Owen McCue can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Owen_McCue.