Strong defense gives Owls back-to-back wins

Temple’s 15-0 scoring run late in the game helped defeat Big 5 rival La Salle in 70-56 win.

Junior guard Tarriyonna Gary shooting a three-pointer in the Owls' 70-56 win against La Salle University. EARL KUFEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

During a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter, Temple sophomore guard Tiarra East jumped the passing lane for a steal before passing to senior guard Aleah Nelson for a transition three-point shot. The shot ended all of La Salle’s momentum and sealed the deal for the Owls.

Temple Women’s Basketball’s (4-5, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) defeated La Salle University (6-4, 0-0 Atlantic-10) 70-56 on Monday night at The Liacouras Center, marking the Owls’ first Big 5 win of the season. 

The Owls’ defense forced La Salle to miss all of its field goal attempts in the final six minutes of the first half, exemplifying the tight defense that Temple played throughout the night.

“I think it was a great win for us,” said head coach Diane Richardson. “Again, a Big 5 win. Those are so really, really important in Philly. And I think we did a great job defensively. So it was a great win for everybody.”

East, who led the offense on Monday night, set a new career high in points with 25, while going 10-of-22 from the field. Senior guard and leading scorer Aleah Nelson had a quiet game, finishing with just six points. 

La Salle made a comeback in the second half tying the game 50-50 early on in the fourth quarter. East then took control of the offense and sparked the 15-0 run that allowed Temple to pull away, finishing with seven points during that span. 

The Explorers were following their own shots and grabbing their own offensive rebounds. After calling a timeout at the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Owls started getting more aggressive in the paint, cleaning up their rebounding mistakes and boxing out and reclaiming control of the boards. 

“We can get out in transition and did a great job with five steals and turning us back around,” Richardson said. 

The Owls’ steals led to easy baskets in transition in the first half with seven different players recording field goals and scoring 17 bench points. 

Turnovers continued to haunt Temple’s offense as the Owls finished Monday’s contest with 17. However, Temple’s defense forced 22 turnovers that contributed to Monday’s win after they forced 25 in Saturday’s 68-53 victory against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2-5, 0-0 America East Conference).

It was a group effort for the Owls to outrebound La Salle 46 to 38. Sophomore guard Jasha Clinton finished with 11 rebounds and sophomore forward Ines Piper followed up her career-high nine-rebound performance against UMBC with another nine boards. Additionally, East finished with a career-high of nine rebounds.

“When we rebound well, we win games,” Richardson said. “That’s one of our Achilles heel for us, is we’re not rebounding well enough and today they stepped up and rebounded.” 

Sophomore guard Jasha Clinton was also involved in the rebounding efforts, grabbing 10 rebounds and recording 12 points in a double-double effort. 

Temple did not look for the three-pointer early on in the game as the Owls ended the first quarter with just one three-point attempt. Instead, Temple focused on easy baskets in the interior, scoring 42 points in the paint including 16 in the first half.

Temple will look to extend their winning streak to three games as they take on another Big 5 rival in the University of Pennsylvania (3-5, 0-0 Ivy League) on Dec. 11 at 12 p.m. at The Palestra. 

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