At the end of the first quarter, the Owls were on pace to score eight points by the end of Sunday’s game.
Freshman forward Mia Davis scored 44 seconds into the game on Temple’s first offensive possession against Iona College. The Owls wouldn’t score for another 10 minutes, five seconds, but luckily for them, Iona’s shots weren’t falling either. The Gaels finished the first quarter with just eight points.
“You could see a little bit of frustration, but we just kept praising them for how well the defense was playing,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “We did a really good job of holding them to eight. We needed that.”
After their two-point first quarter, the Owls rallied to beat Iona, 59-54, in New Rochelle, New York, in their first away game.
The Owls (3-1) implemented a full-court press against Iona to start the second quarter. Freshman guard Desiree Oliver hit a 3-pointer 4:47 into the second quarter, and from there, Temple started to see its shots fall.
Temple closed the second quarter shooting 5-for-7 from the field. The Owls pulled within three points of the Gaels thanks to a 17-point quarter. At halftime, the Owls were shooting 8-for-26 and the Gaels were slightly worse at 7-for-27.
“I think we just needed someone to step up and make one,” Cardoza said. “Then we finally did, and I think we got in a better groove.”
Temple tied the game three separate times in the third quarter and finally took the lead for good when freshman guard Emani Mayo hit a pair of free throws with 1:30 left. Temple never looked back, extending its lead to as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Senior guard Tanaya Atkinson led the team in points for the fourth game in a row. She scored 18 and played a team-high 34 minutes.
“She had to be out there a long period of time, trying to make sure guys are doing what they’re supposed to do,” Cardoza said. “She came away with another double-double, so that’s great for us.”
Atkinson is averaging a team-high 23.8 points per game and 12 rebounds per game. Mayo was Temple’s second-leading scorer against Iona with 15 points in 32 minutes.
Oliver and Davis barely missed double digits in the scoring column. They each scored nine points.
Defensively, Temple utilized a full-court press to help force some of Iona’s 22 turnovers. The Owls had one block and six steals.
“We were able to get some deflections, and we didn’t have to play defense as long,” Cardoza said. “I think we definitely got some energy off of getting deflections and some steals and giving ourselves another opportunity to go try to score.”
Temple forced turnovers, but it gave away the ball, too. The Owls had 19 turnovers, and the Gaels ended the afternoon with eight steals.
“I’m happy with a win on the road,” Cardoza said. “It’s our first road test and it wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it.”
The Owls’ next game is on Wednesday against La Salle, which has a negative 8.4 turnover margin and allows 26.7 points off turnovers per game.