Temple falls to SMU at the buzzer

After major first half struggles, Temple Women’s Basketball had a chance to win at the buzzer, but guard Tiarra East did not shoot in time as Temple fell to SMU 68-66 Wednesday.

Demi Washington shoots a mid-range shot during Temple's win over Charlotte. She had 17 points against SMU, but it was not enough as the Owls fell 68-66. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

In its previous game, Temple Women’s Basketball picked up its strongest win of the season against then-conference leader Charlotte on Jan. 21. The Owls hoped to carry that momentum on the road against Southern Methodist, who had lost three straight games heading into the matchup. 

Temple came alive late in the third quarter after struggling in the first half, and the Owls took a lead. However, the Mustangs held the Owls scoreless for almost two minutes to close the game, and Temple guard Tiarra East missed a potential game-winning three at the buzzer to secure the SMU win. 

Temple (10-9, 4-3 American Athletic Conference) fell to SMU (9-10, 3-5 AAC) 68-66 in University Park, Texas, Wednesday night. The Owls were one game back from first place in the conference but now sit just one game above .500 on the season. 

“It was just a slow start,” said Temple head coach Diane Richardson. “You start slow, you lose games.” 

Temple’s first half was not pretty. The Owls struggled both offensively and defensively, finding themselves in a 10-point hole at halftime. They shot just 33 percent from the field and allowed SMU to get plenty of clean looks on the other end.

The Owls continued to struggle in the third quarter, but something began to click after the five-minute media timeout. The team made its next four shots and cut SMU’s lead down to two points. 

“It was just effort,” Richardson said. “[SMU] decided to turn it. We were down 10 points at halftime, and after sitting back, they decided to play the scout.”

Temple shot nearly 47 percent from the field in the second half and fared well from the charity stripe, making 10-15 free throws. The Owls picked up the pressure on defense, holding the Mustangs to just 40 percent from the field while out rebounding them by six in the second half. 

Temple guard Demi Washington led with eight first half points and kept her team within striking distance. She stayed hot and finished with arguably her best game in the Cherry and White, earning 17 points and seven rebounds.

Guard Tarriyonna Gary directed the Owls’ second half comeback, making multiple big shots in the final 20 minutes. Gary went 4-5 from the field in the second half, including three makes from three-point territory. She finished with 16 points and made all four of Temple’s three pointers.

Temple’s leading scorer, guard Aleah Nelson, was held to just a single point and missed much of the third quarter after walking off with a limp. Guard Tristen Taylor had eight points filling in for Nelson. 

“Aleah hurt her knee,” Richardson said. “We expect Tristen to play anyways. Being in her hometown, I knew she would play and with Aleah being out I knew she would step up.”

The Owls excelled in forcing turnovers and offensive rebounding, turning 16 SMU turnovers into 23 points while grabbing 11 offensive rebounds for nine points. The Owls could not pull out the victory despite creating 32 extra points for themselves.

Temple will remain on the road and try to rediscover its momentum against Tulane (8-10, 1-6 AAC) on Jan. 28 at 3 p.m.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.