In the game’s closing moments, Penn’s two-time first-team All-Ivy League senior guard Kayla Padilla dribbled around Temple’s defense with six seconds remaining to get a game-winning layup and complete a 15-point comeback for the Quakers.
Temple Women’s Basketball (4-6, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) lost a heartbreaker to the University of Pennsylvania (6-5, 0-0 Ivy League) 62-61 on Sunday afternoon at The Palestra after winning their two previous games. Despite holding a 15-point lead late in the third quarter, the Owls couldn’t secure a victory in their final Big 5 game of the season due to sloppy execution on both sides of the ball.
Padilla led Penn’s offense, finishing with 28 points on Sunday. Temple sophomore guard Jasha Clinton struggled to keep up while guarding Padilla all afternoon.
“We tried to face guard her,” said head coach Diane Richardson. “We lost her and she got some shots off.”
The Owls’ missed free throws played a large factor in their demise. Temple shot 13-of-24 from the free throw line, denying themselves easy opportunities to increase an already large lead. Worst of all, the Owls missed six free throws in the final three minutes of play.
“Believe me, I gave them some choice words about free throws,” Richardson said. “The free throws count. I mean, shooting 50 percent from the line is not going to win a game. Especially in the fourth quarter.”
Sophomore guard Tiarra East continued to lead Temple’s offense, finishing with 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting. The Owls were successful on the boards Sunday as they secured 37 rebounds. Sophomore forward Ines Piper contributed seven points and secured two big offensive rebounds in the last two minutes of the game, but it was not enough to help Temple secure a late lead.
Temple’s offense struggled to open up the game with Penn running a 2-3 zone defense that made the Owls force shots from the three-point line. Their strategy worked as the Owls shot only 33 percent from three in the first half. The Quakers also struggled from distance in the first half as Temple forced them to shoot 2-of-13 from beyond the arc.
After forcing 22 turnovers in the Dec. 5 win against La Salle University (8-4, 0-0 Atlantic-10), Temple forced 18 Quaker turnovers to build up their lead Sunday. Temple continuously generated steals off the Quakers, which led to a 13-0 run in the third quarter after leading 29-27 at the half. However, Penn tightened up their ball security late in the second half, en route to a victory.
Following Temple’s scoring run, Padilla led an 11-0 run for the Quakers where she earned her 1,000th career point in the process and trimmed Temple’s lead to three points.
“You know Penn fought hard,” Richardson said. “They fought hard to the end and came out with the win.”
Temple will look to get back to their winning ways as they travel back home to The Liacouras Center to take on Duquesne University (8-2,0-0 Atlantic-10) on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.