Temple dominates in win against Wichita State

Temple Women’s Basketball picked up its third win in four games in commanding fashion, beating Wichita State 72-49 Tuesday for Diane Richardson’s 100th career victory.

Guard Demi Washington's 20 points guided the Owls a dominant 72-49 win over Wichita State| ROBERT JOSEH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Women’s Basketball has struggled to find its rhythm this season. The Owls entered Tuesday’s matchup with Wichita State shooting the ball poorly, only seven days removed from making just two of their 23 three-point attempts against North Texas on Jan. 2.

Temple needed someone to step up with guard Tiarra East out with an injury, and guard Demi Washington did just that. Her 20 points led all scorers, and the Owls put up a lights-out shooting and strong defensive performance to secure their second straight conference win.

Temple (9-7, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) beat Wichita State (5-11, 1-3 AAC) 72-49 Tuesday night at the Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas. The Owls put together a strong performance from the jump and earned Diane Richardson’s 100th career win as a head coach.

“I couldn’t have done it without [guard Aleah Nelson, forward Rayne Tucker and East] and without my staff who have been with me the entire time I’ve been a head coach,” Richardson said. “I’m happy and glad that we could accomplish that, and I’m really proud of my squad.”

Washington had one of her best performances in Cherry and White, earning her career high in points on an efficient 82 percent shooting. The Owls shot more than 50 percent from the field in the contest, which was their best performance since their season-opening win against Delaware State on Nov. 6.

Temple played dominantly from the opening whistle, shooting 42 percent from the field in the first quarter. The Owls defense smothered Wichita State, holding the Shockers to five points on 1-14 shooting during the first quarter. Washington and forward Ines Piper were key to the hot start, each leading the team with seven first-half points.

“We talked about the sense of urgency before the game,” Richardson said. “And I wanted [the team] to stay on that urgency and the importance of not waiting to react but to go ahead and do what we needed them to do.”

Richardson’s equal-opportunity offense was on full display despite missing East, who leads the team in points per game this season. Four Owls scored in double-figures, and guard Tarriyonna Gary registered her first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Owls found success by playing at a faster pace, creating turnovers and using speed to score in transition before the Wichita State defense could get set. Temple helped force 19 Shockers’ turnovers and scored 21 points off those turnovers in the win.

“I think things are clicking both defensively and offensively,” Richardson said. “Our defense turns into our offense, which gives us more confidence and more confidence when we shoot the ball, and we saw that today.”

The Owls will try to maintain their winning ways against Memphis (4-10, 0-3 AAC) at The Liacouras Center on Jan. 14 at 2 p.m.

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