Strong defense, rebounding lifts Temple women’s basketball to season-opening victory

The Owls beat Delaware State University 75-61 Tuesday at McGonigle Hall.

Sophomore Forward Mia Davis (right) goes up for a block in Temple's 75-61 over Delaware State at McGonigle Hall on Tuesday. | GENEVA HEFFERNAN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The Owls forced two turnovers in the first two minutes to grab the lead, and for the remaining 38 minutes, the team never trailed.

Temple University women’s basketball’s defense forced 17 turnovers and recorded nine steals in its 75-61 win against Delaware State University on Tuesday at McGonigle Hall. Graduate student guard Alliya Butts led the way with four steals, nearly matching the team’s 5.6 steals per game average from last season.

“We knew it was gonna be a lot of dribble penetration and I thought, for the most part, we did a decent job of trying to contain it,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “We had post players doing something maybe that we are not used to doing because again this was all on the fly because we did not know what they were gonna run.”

Senior forward Lena Niang had a steal with a little more than three minutes left in the second quarter, angering Hornets coach David Caputo. He was assessed a technical foul for arguing with the referees that Niang fouled his player. Temple went on a 9-3 run to extend its lead to 41-27.

Before the season, sophomore forward Mia Davis told The Temple News that the Owls want to improve their defensive play this season.

Temple out-rebounded Delaware State 47-39. This advantage allowed the Owls to own a 15-7 advantage in second-chance points.

The Owls had an advantage because of the Hornets’ smaller lineup, Davis said. Temple has six players taller than 6 feet, 1 inch while Delaware State only has three.

Davis had six rebounds on both offense and defense and finished the night with a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds.

The size advantage helped Temple contest several of Delaware State’s shots. The Hornets struggled shooting from the field, only making 24-of-70 attempts.

“For the most part on the defensive end, we did a pretty good job,” Cardoza said. “There was a lot of things that made us have to communicate and made us have to help each other out.”

Temple will embark on a six-game road trip starting Friday against Saint Joseph’s. The Hawks are coming off an appearance in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

“[Friday’s game] will definitely test us,” Cardoza said. “Being able to play a bunch of different types of teams on the road will just prepare us for the long run.”

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