Temple University women’s basketball (15-10, 7-5 The American Athletic Conference) dominated the paint in a 78-64 win over Memphis (13-13, 4-8 The AAC).
Even though Memphis had a slight edge in rebounding, Temple had 48 points in the paint. Coach Tonya Cardoza attributed this to the team’s aggressiveness.
“We knew that they only had six players so they didn’t wanna foul,” Cardoza said. “…I felt that just being on the attack because they don’t want to foul you we should be able to get easy buckets at the basket.”
Memphis only committed three shooting fouls the whole game, giving Temple easier looks at the basket while in the paint. This resulted in one of Temple’s best shooting percentages this season, 52.3 percent in comparison to their season average of 40.8 percent. Besides three-point shots, the Owls only took one shot attempt outside the paint.
Temple also went 8-of-21 from beyond the arc, shooting 38.1 percent. Graduate student forward Lena Niang led the team, going 4-of-9 from three-point range.
“[Niang] stepped up, she was confident today, but more importantly she was trying to focus on the defensive end and help,” Cardoza said.
Niang had two three pointers in the first quarter, helping the Owls go on a 16-point run in the first quarter. In response to Temple’s run, Memphis switched from a zone to a man-defense at the beginning of the second quarter. Temple did not take their foot off of the gas pedal and held the lead for the rest of the game.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Ashley Jones and junior forward Mia Davis combined for 44 points. Davis stuffed the stat sheet with 23 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two assists. She played an exceptionally efficient offensive game, shooting 68.8 percent from the field.
Jones had 21 points and nine assists. Jones attributed her offensive improvement to her defensive play.
“It starts with defense, when I focus on the defense it gets me going,” Jones said.
Jones lured the defense outside the perimeter with her ball handles and then got the ball down low to her teammates to score.
“This was a good win for us, that’s two games in a row and with only a few games left we had a great opportunity to win at home,” Cardoza said.
Temple looks to continue its three-game win streak on the road Saturday against East Carolina (6-18, 3-8 The ACC) at 1 p.m.