The Temple University women’s basketball team (5-5, 0-1, The American Athletic Conference) fell short to the University of South Carolina (9-1) 78-71 on Saturday afternoon at McGonigle Hall. They played a close game against a team that entered the day ranked sixth in the country by the Associated Press.
South Carolina had 22 points in the first quarter on 45 percent shooting—its best mark of any quarter in the game. The Owls only found themselves down seven points after the first 10 minutes.
Coach Tonya Cardoza was pleased with the Owls’ performance in the loss, especially defensively.
“I thought we did what I asked and we were making guys make shots, like [freshman guard Brea] Beal,” she said. “She made threes, that’s not her strength but she made them today.”
Cardoza also said that the game-plan was to try to prevent South Carolina forwards freshman Aliyah Boston and senior Mikiah Herbert Harrigan from getting post touches, two players who were matchup problems for Temple.
“We were forcing guys to make jump-shots and they made some,” Cardoza said.
The Owls made up some ground in the second quarter when the Gamecocks only shot 27.8 percent from the field. Sophomore guard Marissa Mackins played a role in the Owls’ second-quarter strength. She had 12 points in the first half and finished with 26, a career-high.
Mackins started the second half well, making two threes that gave the Owls a brief lead, but the Gamecocks quickly retook the lead and went into the fourth quarter up four.
However, the team was pleased with the effort and focus put forth today.
“[Cardoza has] been harping on being focused and being disciplined for the past couple weeks, Mackins said. “Because our first few games we were and started drifting away from that. But tonight we were focused for 40 minutes.”
In the fourth quarter, the Owls’ turnovers caught up with them. The Owls committed 19 turnovers overall.
“I felt like down the stretch we were tired,” Cardoza said. “I think it got to us. It carried its toll.”
South Carolina’s size took its toll on junior forward Mia Davis. Davis struggled offensively, going 6-20 from the field, and was in foul trouble for most of the second half.
She was still able to make in impact in the game, pulling down 13 rebounds.
“It was a little tough, they were bigger and stronger,” Davis said. “So just being competitive back with them, being a body and boxing out.”
The Owls look to continue the level of focus Cardoza saw today when they take on Villanova (4-4) Tuesday at McGonigle Hall at 5:00 p.m.