Temple Women’s Basketball (10-17, 5-10 American Athletic Conference) lost to Wichita State (16-12, 6-9 American Athletic Conference) 79-67 on Saturday afternoon in Wichita, Kansas, for their sixth consecutive defeat. The Owls, who battled back from a rough start to take the lead at halftime, struggled to make shots down the stretch, costing them the game.
Temple got in foul trouble early on when forward Ines Piper picked up two fouls within the first 20 seconds of the game, forcing her to come off the floor. The Owls already have a depleted roster, specifically at the forward position where they were severely outmatched in the paint.
The Shockers attacked down low, scoring 12 points in the paint in the first quarter with an additional six points coming from the free-throw line, which helped Wichita State take a 20-11 first-quarter lead.
“We had to scramble and make some adjustments with our subs,” said head coach Diane Richardson. “[Piper] had to sit on the bench for a little while so that means other people had to play a little longer than they’re typically used to playing.”
Temple began the second quarter with renewed energy by switching to a zone on defense, allowing them to create turnovers. On the offensive end, the Owls were led by forward Caranda Perea and guard Aleah Nelson.
Perea finished the first half with 14 points, finding gaps in the defensive zone that allowed her to convert on mid-range jumpers. Nelson closed the first half with 10 points and four assists while facilitating the ball and hitting tough shots when necessary.
With a strong defense limiting the Shockers to 36 percent from the field in the second quarter, the Owls jumped out in front and took a slim one-point lead into halftime.
“Im seeing that every day where we start bad and we get kind of punched in the mouth,” Richardson said. “Then we come back but we just got to be sustainable for the entire game and I think we kind of let down.”
For much of the third quarter, the two teams traded buckets, but Temple struggled to contain Shockers’ guard Curtessia Dean, who had 13 of her 22 points in the third quarter.
The Owls trailed by just four points going into the final period, but were not able to generate consistent offense in the late stages of the game.
Shockers’ forward Jane Asinde had her way in the paint, finishing with six points in the fourth quarter to bring her game total to 22. Temple, who shot just 3-of-13 from the field and 0-6 from three in the quarter, was outscored 16-8 to close out the game.
With just one regular season game remaining, Richardson hopes the Owls can end the season on a high note as they enter the conference tournament, she said.
“Hopefully we can get in there and fight for four quarters,” Richardson said. “This is the last game of the season to get us going into the tournament. When the tournament starts we are 0-0 and I would like for us to finish on a winning note.”
The Owls will return home for their final regular season game when they welcome Southern Methodist University (16-9, 7-6 American Athletic Conference) to The Liacouras Center on March 1 at 7 p.m.
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