With six seconds left in the fourth quarter, Temple guard Tiarra East attempted to inbound the ball to sophomore forward Caranda Perea but it was tipped away, allowing Houston junior guard Tae’Lor Purvis to grab the ball to secure the win for the Cougars.
Temple University Women’s Basketball (10-12, 5-5 American Athletic Conference) lost to the University of Houston (9-13, 6-3 American Athletic Conference) 65-60 on Saturday afternoon. The defeat ended the Owls’ three-game winning streak and pushed the Cougars past the Owls in the conference standings.
Temple displayed creative ball movement from the opening tip that allowed them to generate multiple scoring opportunities. On the defensive end, the Owls’ active hands and hustle helped them force misses and grab tough rebounds.
Perea was instrumental in the Owls’ first-quarter success, putting up eight points and five rebounds, finishing the contest with a career-high of 13 boards.
“We knew that we had to crash the boards,” said head coach Diane Richardson. “Houston has some very athletic post players that crash the boards and they rebound well, so we concentrated on boxing out and then crashing the boards.”
In the second quarter, the Cougars were more aggressive with their defense, implementing a full-court press that has been crucial to Houston’s defense, which leads the AAC with 306 steals.
Houston’s offense also began to hit its stride in the second half. Junior guard Laila Blair dominated the Owls, scoring 20 points in just the final three quarters alone.
“[Blair] had a great game,” Richardson said. “5-12 from three, we need to be there on the catch. She had some really open looks and in a couple of them she did shoot contested shots, but we’ve got to be there on the catch on three-point shooters.”
Temple battled back in the late stages of the game, pulling to within one point in the final minutes. East and senior guard Aleah Nelson combined for 31 points and led the scoring charge for the Owls down the stretch.
“I think that is a key, [Nelson and East] have really come together,” Richardson said. “They fight for each other, they’re resilient and I’m really truly pleased and proud that they’ve done that.”
The Owls will remain on the road when they take on East Carolina University (15-8, 6-4 American Athletic Conference) on Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. to avenge their 72-51 loss to the Pirates.