Temple University women’s basketball (11-6, 4-1 The American Athletic Conference) managed to close out a win over South Florida (10-7, 2-1 The AAC) 69-66 Thursday night at McGonigle Hall.
What started as a good all-around game for the Owls, turned ugly in the fourth quarter as they saw an 18-point lead disintegrate, thanks in large part to the 13 free throws USF took in the fourth quarter.
Junior forward Mia Davis led the Owls in scoring with 25 points. She also tacked on eight rebounds, three assists, and a block. Davis shot 9-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, as well as going 4-of-5 from the free throw line.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Ashley Jones provided a much-needed scoring burst off the bench with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Both teams traded the lead in the second quarter, but neither was able to take a lead larger than five in the first half. The Owls held a 3 point lead going into the half.
“I thought it was a key for us to come out and make shots early,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “And early on we did a good job defensively.”
The Owls held the Bulls to under 40 percent shooting from the field in the first half and took a three-point lead into halftime.
The Owls pulled away in the third quarter. The Owls shot 50 percent from the floor in the period and made five three-point shots. They also went to the free-throw line four times after being fouled in the frame.
Davis and Jones led the surge in the third, Cardoza said.
“[Jones] was being super aggressive attacking, and [Davis] as well,” Cardoza said. “We were able to score and I think we were getting and-ones so we were getting three points every time down.”
The Owls were not able to put the Bulls away just yet. In the fourth quarter, the Owls struggled from the field, while the Bulls lived at the free throw line. The Owls shot 4-of-12 from the field in the final frame while the Bulls went 12-of-13 from the line.
The Bulls were more aggressive on Davis and attacked with dribble penetration to get back into the game.
“We didn’t keep them out of the lane,” Cardoza said. “We allowed them to get exactly what they wanted to get.”
Davis felt the pressure from the Bulls late in the game, but the Owls came up with enough key stops and rebounds to pull out the win.
“They were being very aggressive,” Davis said. “Me and the other post players had to be physical back with them, put a body on them and box out.”
The Owls have now won five times in a row, and with each game, they are enjoying themselves more and more, Jones said.
“It motivates you to keep that streak going,” Jones said. “So it’s more exciting when you’re going into the next game.”
The Owls will look to continue their winning streak when they play at Wichita State (10-7, 2-2 The AAC) Sunday at 3 p.m.