Temple loses five-game win streak against Tulsa

Temple Women’s Basketball gave up 30 points in the fourth quarter and lost its five-game winning streak, falling to Tulsa 76-67 Wednesday night at The Liacouras Center.

Temple's five-game win streak came to an end in a 76-67 loss to Tulsa | LANDON STAFFORD / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Women’s Basketball entered Wednesday’s matchup with Tulsa sitting at first place in the American Athletic Conference with a five-game winning streak, its longest since 2019. The Owls hosted the third-place Golden Hurricane, who sat just one game behind them in the standings, hoping to extend their winning streak to the longest in eight years.

Temple Athletics attached several promotions to the game’s presentation and generated a lot of hype around the matchup while the Owls planned to continue their momentum. However, the Owls could not keep up with their opponent as they struggled to shoot in the second half and could not come up with key stops. 

Temple (17-11, 11-5 AAC) fell to Tulsa (21-8, 11-5 AAC) 76-67 on Wednesday at The Liacouras Center. The Owls now drop to third place in the conference standings behind North Texas and Tulsa with just two weeks remaining in the regular season. 

“We have to be better,” said Temple head coach Diane Richardson. “I was a little disappointed in our effort tonight but we know how to bounce back and I do not think this is going to happen again.”

Temple began the game slowly, down 10-3 in the first four minutes which forced Richardson to take a timeout. The Owls found their footing after the break and clawed back into the game. Their defense turned up the intensity and held Tulsa to just four points the rest of the quarter.

Guard Tiarra East scored eight first-quarter points and spearheaded an 8-0 run, giving the Owls a 17-14 lead to end the quarter. 

Temple guard Aleah Nelson hit back-to-back layups midway through the second quarter and trash talked the Tulsa bench. On the ensuing Golden Hurricane free throws, Richardson got the crowd into the game, waving her arms in the air and asking for as much energy as possible. 

“It was electric in there and we thank all the fans,” Richardson said. “We have been playing so that we can get fans in the stands, and I was pleased to see everybody in there, I was pleased to see them cheering for us.”

The Owls had a small lead at the half and lost it after a poor third quarter, entering the fourth quarter down just one point. Tulsa’s offense hit another gear in the final quarter, shooting 72 percent from the field and outscoring Temple by 10 points to secure the win.

“We have to play tough defense for four quarters,” Richardson said. “We can’t get our heads down and kind of self-destruct. We let them score 30 points in the fourth quarter, and that tells me our defense is not up to par.”

Nelson put up 16 points on 7-16 shooting from the field, leading the Owls’ offense. East and guard Demi Washington also ended the game in double-figures, as East finished with 16 points and Washington chipped in 15 in her first game back from injury. 

The Owls’ offense was inconsistent overall. They shot just 25 percent in the third quarter after ending the first half shooting 43 percent, and the team finished at 36 percent for the game. The Owls struggled to hit layups, going just 8-21, and couldn’t find their shot from behind the arc. 

“Prior to the game, our coaches were telling us it would be straight line drives to the hoop,” East said. “But we just stopped doing that in the second half.”

Temple sent constant pressure at Tulsa on defense. The Owls helped force 18 Golden Hurricane turnovers and turned them into 21 points. They had 11 steals, and four different Owls had multiple, led by forward Ines Piper’s three. 

Tulsa’s defense did their part as well, blocking 12 Temple shots, including forward Hadley Periman’s five.

Temple didn’t have an answer for Tulsa forward Temira Poindexter, who poured in 30 points on 11-21 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. Poindexter scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to help seal the deal for the Golden Hurricanes.

Temple will hit the road in hopes of regaining its momentum against East Carolina (15-12, 8-8 AAC) on March 3 at 2 p.m.

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