Temple University women’s basketball (16-14, 7-9 The American Athletic Conference) took down East Carolina (9-21, 6-10 The AAC) in the first round of the AAC tournament by a score of 67-57.
The Owls held ECU to just 28.2 percent shooting from the field on the day.
“I felt like last time we played them we allowed them to score the same way, we didn’t make any adjustments,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “Today I felt like we stuck to the game plan and forced them to take challenged shots.”
Offensively, junior forward Mia Davis exploded in the first half. Davis had 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the first half. She finished the game with 24 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for her 18th double-double of the season.
Davis said she was able to take advantage of smaller guards defending her out on the wing, by shooting over them or taking them past them to the basket off the dribble.
Other post players also contributed to the Owls’ score. Sophomore forward Alexa Williamson had 12 points, as well as seven rebounds and a block. Senior center Shannen Atkinson did not find the basket but recorded three blocks on the day.
The Owls had 32 points in the paint.
Sophomore guard Marissa Mackins felt the Owls’ post-play opened up her game.
“Well if [Davis] and [Williamson] are scoring obviously the defense is going to collapse, which opens up the perimeter and my point guards, [redshirt-sophomore guard Ashley Jones] and [freshman guard Asonah Alexander] can find me on the wing,” Mackins said.
Mackins had 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. She went 3-of-9 from behind the three-point line, including one that put ECU away for good.
“[Mackins] with that three down the stretch really put it away for us,” Cardoza said.
Mackins also had four personal fouls and Jones struggled to handle the ball all day. Jones turned the ball over five times, which allowed Alexander to see a lot of time in the fourth quarter.
“She showed me something different so I knew her head was in the game,” Cardoza said about Alexander’s play. “She was actually looking to be aggressive.”
The Owls’ next challenge in the tournament is the No. 1 seed Connecticut 26-3, 16-0 The AAC) on Saturday.
The Huskies have yet to lose a regular-season game since joining the American, but the Owls are going to treat this like any other game.
“Tomorrow’s game I feel as though we’re approaching it is just like it’s another game so just coming prepared and ready for whatever,” Davis said.