Quietly, and without a whole lot of attention, the women’s basketball team has put together two solid weeks of basketball.
After inconsistencies and struggles in the beginning of the year, the Owls have reeled off four wins in a row, including a pair of road victories last week. On Wednesday night, they came from behind to top Richmond, 47-40. Then, on Sunday afternoon, they handedly beat Rhode Island, 48-34.
Against Richmond, the Owls (11-10, 4-1 Atlantic Ten Conference) found themselves down by as many as 14 points in the second half before going on a 21-2 run to close out the game. Senior guard Ashley Morris tallied 22 points in the contest, 13 of which came during the Owls late-game spurt.
The stout Temple defense held the Spiders without a field goal for the final 10 minutes, 53 seconds of the game, as they forced 19 turnovers and held leading scorer Brittani Shells to just two points.
“We’re just trying to pick up our defense more and just trying to get more aggressive because our offense is a little bit lacking,” senior center Lady Comfort said. “We just want to make sure our opponents don’t outscore us at anytime in the game.”
With the Owls’ furious second half comeback, they kept the momentum going from their upset of then-No. 13 George Washington on Jan. 19. But most importantly, they kept climbing up the conference standings.
“Well, basically, we want to continue to lead our conference [standings],” Comfort said. “So we’re just trying to get these wins early in the conference [season].”
The Owls’ win over Rhode Island was also keyed by a second half run, as they used a 20-2 sprint to turn a close game into a blow out. Comfort led the charge with seven points and a season-high 14 rebounds, and junior forward Shenita Landry added eight points and six rebounds off the bench.
However, no Owl scored in double figures and the team shot just 34.6 percent from the field. That kind of offensive performance is certainly not something the Owls are particularly happy with, but, at same time, they know that the most important thing is still getting the win.
“We need to score more,” Comfort said. “But as long as we’re winning, it doesn’t really matter. As long as we put enough points on the board to beat our opponents, I think that’s okay for us.”
And winning games hasn’t exactly been the easiest thing for the Owls to do when stepping outside of the friendly confines of the Liacorous Center. With their only previous road win coming Dec. 16 against Western Michigan, the Owls are clearly looking to improve in that area.
“Our road record wasn’t as good as we would like it to be,” Comfort said. “So we just have to come out like it’s a home game with lots of energy and [that will help] our confidence.”
With their at-large NCAA Tournament hopes hanging by a thread and games against city and conference rivals looming, the Owls will embark on a stretch of games that could define their season.
First up is a Big 5 showdown with Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center, a team the Owls have lost to just once in the past four seasons.
Todd Orodenker can be reached at email@example.com.