Temple women’s basketball drops pair to open new year

Temple lost to Duquesne University on Wednesday and fell to American Athletic Conference opponent South Florida on Saturday to begin 2019.

Freshman forward Alexa Williamson attempts a layup during Temple's 59-37 win against Iona on Dec. 9, 2018 at McGonigle Hall. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Shooting woes have plagued  Temple University women’s basketball all season, resulting in two wins in its past 10 games

This shows in Temple’s’ 32.9 percent shooting clip in its first two games of the calendar year. Their shooting slump led to the Owls losing two games to Duquesne University and South Florida.

On Saturday, Temple (4-9, 0-1 American Athletic Conference) shot 31.3 percent from the field during a 63-55 loss to South Florida at McGonigle Hall in the Owls first American Athletic Conference game of the season.

The Owls have only scored fewer than 53 points in one game this season.

“On the offensive end, all year, we haven’t made shots,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “It’s going to be hard to win games when you shoot 30 percent.”

Sophomore forward Mia Davis led the Owls in scoring after missing the most recent game due to injury. Davis said she is now, however, “good to go,” and added 19 points, six rebounds, and two steals in her return.

Davis, the team’s leading rebounder fell short of her average 9.2 rebounds per game. The Bulls collected 57 rebounds compared to Temple’s 40.

Freshman forward Alexa Williamson added a “bright spot” to the loss, Cardoza added. Williamson collected a team-high eight rebounds and four steals while tying the team-high two blocks and adding nine points.

“She’s really coming into her own, and she’s showing that she can just do a lot of things and she wants the ball,” Cardoza said. “She’s just going to continue to learn and I think she’s gaining a lot more confidence and her teammates have confidence in her as well.”

The Owls recorded five blocked shots and 11 steals, but turned the ball over 18 times, tied for the second-highest amount this season. The Bulls capitalized, scoring 20 points off turnovers while committing 19 themselves. Temple was not as successful in turning South Florida’s mishaps into points as the Owls had just 14 points off turnovers.

Graduate student guard Alliya Butts added two steals to Temple’s total, tying Temple’s all-time steals record at 252, and scored 16 points in The American loss. Butts went 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and the Owls shot just 30.8 percent from the three-point line.

Freshman guard Marissa Mackins and sophomore forward Breanna Perry were the only other Owls to score with seven and two points, respectively. Mackins hit one of Temple’s four three-pointers and added two steals.

“I think Marissa has taken her game to another level,” Cardoza said. “We have to deliver the ball when she’s open, but Marissa is someone that can really knock down shots. But again, she’s playing in games and playing a lot of minutes as a freshman, and she’s holding her own.”

On Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, Temple lost its eighth match of the season in a close game.

The game was tied heading into the fourth quarter at 42, despite leads by Temple at the end of the first and second quarters. Temple was outscored 12-11 in the fourth quarter and Duquesne’s tying and winning points came from four free throws in the final 44 seconds of the game as the Dukes went 2-of-4 from the line.

Down by one, the Owls had the ball back with seven seconds remaining and could not overcome the deficit, as Mackins’ final shot of the game, a three-pointer, did not fall.

Temple only made three more three-pointers, two of which came from Mackins. Temple shot 20 percent from beyond the arc in it’s 54-53 loss to Duquesne University.

Butts ended as Temple’s leading scorer with 15 points, three assists, and three steals. Mackins scored 14 points off four three-pointers. Temple shot 34.5 percent from the field, compared to the Duke’s 31 percent.

The Owls finished the game with 22 personal fouls, tying their season-high, while the Dukes accumulated just 14. Temple is averaging 17 personal fouls per-game on the season.

The Owls dominated in points in the paint, scoring 24 to Duquesne’s 10. Temple’s forwards, junior Shantay Taylor and Williamson, in her second career start, scored eight and six, respectively, contributing to Temple’s points in the paint.

Temple’s dominance in the paint came without Davis, who did not play due to an unspecified injury. Perry stepped up to record a team-high nine rebounds, a season-best for the forward. The Owls pulled in 34 rebounds, just short of their average of 40.2 rebounds per game.

The Owls continue The American play with another home game on Jan. 8 against Tulane. Tulane is 1-0 in conference play thanks to a win against East Carolina on Saturday.

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