Temple University opened the third quarter flat. It prompted a frustrated coach Tonya Cardoza to call a timeout two minutes into the second half.
Still, it was to no avail as the Owls (3-7) were outscored 27-6 in the third quarter by the University of South Carolina. At the end of the third, Temple trailed by 30 points.
The deficit was too much to overcome and despite outscoring the Gamecocks (7-4) in the final quarter, Temple dropped its sixth road game of the season, 88-60, on Friday in Columbia, South Carolina.
“I thought in the first half, we really tried to make it a game, stuck around, but once the third quarter hit, it was hard to come back from that,” Cardoza said.
At the end of the half, South Carolina, who is ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press poll, led by nine points. But in the second half, Temple’s inability to score allowed the Gamecocks to secure the victory in the second half. Scoring is a problem the Owls have faced in most games so far this season, Cardoza said.
Temple shot 33.3 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from beyond the arc, making just five three-pointers, all of which came in the first half.
“We’re getting shots, we’re just not making them,” Cardoza said. “That’s what it all boils down to. We just have to get in the gym and get better at it. You’ve got to be able to make them and if not, you’re not going to win a lot of basketball games.”
The Owls make 38.4 percent of their shots this season compared to their opponent’s mark of 41.7 percent. The Gamecocks made 47.7 percent of their shots from the field and the three-point line on Friday.
Even though the Owls turned the ball over a season-low eight times, South Carolina’s 88 points are the second-most the Owls have given up this season.
“Anytime you give up that many points, you obviously didn’t do a good job defensively,” Cardoza said. “If we make shots, maybe our intensity on the defensive side might feed off it a little more because that’s the type of team we are.”
Cardoza said the Owls gain more momentum on defense if the team is successful on offense. Temple’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Mia Davis, who averages 19.8 points per game, scored just 10 against South Carolina. Graduate student guard Alliya Butts led the way offensively for the Owls with 19 points and four assists while making 3-of-8 3-point shots.
Junior forward Shantay Taylor earned her first start of the season and scored 14 points, a career high while falling just one rebound short of a double-double. Taylor also set a new career high with three steals.
“[Taylor has] been working really hard in practice the last couple of days, actually the last couple of weeks,” Cardoza said. “The way she played today is the way she’s been practicing, and that’s why she was out there.”
The Owls will return to McGonigle Hall to play Big 5 opponent La Salle (3-10) on Sunday. Temple is 1-1 in the Big 5, having defeated Saint Joseph’s on Nov. 9 and losing to Villanova on Dec. 9.