Temple University women’s basketball (4-2, 0-1 The American Athletic Conference) rebounded from Sunday’s loss against Connecticut (4-0, 1-0 The AAC) with a win over Bucknell University (2-3) on Wednesday night. The Owls started slow, trailing 18-12 after the first quarter, but utilized three consecutive 20-point quarters to snag the win, defeating the Bison 72-61 to gain their fourth win of the season.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Ashley Jones led the team with 24 points, her highest point total this season. She shot 55.6 percent on field goal attempts in addition to 40 percent shooting on three-point field goals.
“[Jones] did a really good job of making the big plays today,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “She’s done a good job so far this season of stepping up and making the big plays. If we need her to hit a three, she can do that. I know she’s just going to get better.”
Freshman guard Asonah Alexander accumulated a season-high eight assists, tying her with Jones for the team lead in assists. Jones and Alexander have averaged 5 assists per game thus far, which places them at fifth in the conference.
“[Alexander] is looking to pass first,” Cardoza stated. “She’s a great playmaker and finds the open guy, and she did that well today. She can give us a lot of things without being too flashy, and today was a good example of that.”
Junior forward Mia Davis also contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds to record her fourth double-double of the season. Davis, Jones and graduate student forward Lena Niang collectively scored 61 of the team’s 72 points.
Temple stifled Bucknell’s shooters following the second quarter, holding them to 33 percent on field goal attempts and 21.4 percent on three-point attempts. The Bison only scored 28 points in the second half, compared to Temple’s 40 points.
They also recorded eight blocks as a team, including four from senior center Shannen Atkinson in 21 minutes of play. Alexander also recorded her first multi-block game as an Owl, adding two to bring her to four blocks on the season.
“[Atkinson] was being aggressive throughout the entire game,” Cardoza said. “She did a good job of recovering after going to help others on defense. She was able to use her length to switch back and forth between guarding her man and going to help others.”
Despite the strong defensive effort, Temple still allowed 61 points, bringing their average points allowed as a team down to 67.8 points per game. This places them 10th out of the 12 teams in The American Conference. Cardoza, as well as several others on the team, have been vocal about wanting to improve their defense.
“I was impressed with the defensive effort today, especially after our tough loss to Connecticut,” Cardoza said. “We had to be solid on defense with all of Bucknell’s playmakers. They had a lot of big guys on their team that can score. We had to be on our game today and we were able to get the stops where we needed.”
Temple will be back in action next Thursday in the Cancun Challenge Tournament, where they will face off against the University of North Carolina (3-0) and Creighton University (3-1) on consecutive days.