The Owls lost their annual School Day game, 70-52, on Wednesday afternoon at the Liacouras Center, where they played for the second time this season.
The bookend quarters proved to be problematic for the Temple (10-17, 2-12 American Athletic Conference). Cincinnati outscored the Owls 21-10 in the first quarter and 27-17 in the fourth quarter. In the second and third quarters, Temple outscored Cincinnati 25-22.
Temple shot 20.8 from 3-point range and 33.3 percent from the field in its fifth straight loss.
“I think we just weren’t aggressive on the offensive end,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “We thought we had a couple of mismatches that we could’ve taken advantage of by taking them off the dribble but instead we settled for jump shots.”
Cincinnati (17-10, 9-5 The American) held Temple’s leading scorer, senior guard Tanaya Atkinson, in check. In the first half, she only scored four points on 2-of-5 shooting. Atkinson scored 10 points, 11 below her season average.
Atkinson still added to her historic resume with another milestone. One of the 11 rebounds she grabbed Wednesday afternoon was the 1,000th of her career.
Atkinson is already second on the Owls’ all-time rebounding list, but now she is one of only two players in Temple program history with 1,000 or more points and 1,000 or more rebounds. She joins Temple Hall of Famer Marilyn Stephens, who played in the 1980s.
“It feels great,” Atkinson said. “It’s obviously a huge honor to be in a class with Marilyn. I just wish it would’ve came in a win.”
With three minutes, 30 seconds left in the first quarter, the Bearcats went on a 13-4 run capped off by a layup at the buzzer by senior guard Ana Owens.
To end the half, Temple held Cincinnati to 11 points. But Temple only managed to score 14, so the Bearcats’ lead was 32-24 at halftime.
Temple cut its deficit to five points with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, but Cincinnati countered with 10 consecutive points.
Three freshmen led the Owls in scoring. Emani Mayo’s 13 points, Desiree Oliver’s 12 points and forward Mia Davis added 11 points.
“When I was out there, we had to opportunity to push the tempo,” Oliver said. “I just wanted to keep doing that as best I could.
Two regular-season games remain. As Temple’s season winds down, Cardoza has seen progress from her young team, even if it hasn’t translated to success in The American. Temple’s next game is on Saturday at 1 p.m. against East Carolina (15-12, 7-7 The American).
“For the most part, it has been one freshman having a good game and then a different one having a good game the next,” Cardoza said. ”But I have seen a lot of growth from them. I think [freshman forward Breanna Perry] can be a double-digit scorer. Emani has been a real bright spot. She always pays attention and is always learning.”