Scoring a season-high in points, the Temple Owls defeated the visiting Howard Bisons 83-58 at McGonigle Hall on Thursday evening.
“[Howard] averages about 50-something points, and for the most part, you want to hold teams below their average and I just felt like they got whatever they wanted,” Coach Tonya Cardoza said.
After following a loss to a ranked Syracuse team on Monday with a victory against Howard (3-7), Temple (6-3) has now recorded a 3-0 record in games following a loss this season. In games following a loss, the Owls have also outscored opponents by an average of 19 points.
“I think in every game that we’ve lost, we’ve looked back and said ‘we should’ve won if we did this, this, and this,” Cardoza said. “It just so happens that we focus a little bit better. Hopefully, that is something that we stick with, where we lose a game and we definitely turn it around and play better basketball”.
For the Owls, senior forward Natasha Thames and fifth-year senior Shi-Heria Shipp controlled the offense for Temple, recording 24 and 22 points respectively.
“Tonight, I just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Shipp said.
Shipp led Temple with eight rebounds and also registered three steals, while Thames recorded seven rebounds and a game-high four steals. Combined, Thames and Shipp shot 19-of-25 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
“I definitely felt like I had an advantage,” Thames said. “I felt like I was stronger than the post players that they had. The guards were doing a really good job of getting me the ball and seeing me”.
Sophomore guard Erica Covile, who scored 11 points and pulled down six rebounds, recorded three blocks and three steals. Freshman guard Feyonda Fitzgerald recorded nine points, five rebounds, and four assists. Junior guard Tyonna Williams led the team with five assists. Temple reserve guards, junior Rateska Brown and sophomore Meghan Roxas, contributed off of the bench with six total assists, recording two and four respectively.
Howard’s leading scorer, redshirt freshman guard Tre’Shya Heslip, led the Bisons with 23 points but committed a game-high 13 turnovers on the night. Sophomore center Victoria Gonzalez recorded 17 total points, including shooting 9-for-11 on free throw opportunities.
In the first eight minutes of the game, the Owls forced eight steals, en route to a 23-7 run which included a stretch of 15 unanswered points. All 23 of Temple’s points were scored by the trio of Thames, Shipp, and Fitzgerald.
The majority of the first half was controlled by the combined efforts of Thames and Shipp, shooting a a combined 88 percent from the field on 14-of-16 shooting. In the first period, the Bisons scored one point more than than Temple’s senior duo, scoring 35 to Thames and Shipp’s 34 total points.
“We went to them early,” Cardoza said. “[Thames] established post presence that I haven’t seen from her in a long time. When she got the ball, she just felt like she could score at will. We needed both her and Shipp to shoot well from in the paint”.
The Bisons outscored Temple 28-26 for the remainder of the period, but Temple led Howard 49-35 at halftime. Though the Owls led by double figures, Howard scored 35 first half points, recording more than half of its average of 57 points per game.
In the first two minutes of the second half, Heslip assisted scores or scored herself on three of Howard’s first four possessions, outscoring Temple 6-2 and closing the deficit to 10.
Though the gap had shrunk, Howard’s effort to bring the lead down to 10 points was as close as the game would be in the second period. The Owls responded with a run of six consecutive points, capped by a Fitzgerald jumper, opening the gap further. After the 13:53 mark, the Bisons could not cut the lead closer than 18, and with 5:59 remaining, a couple of Thames free throws gave Temple a 26 point advantage, the largest of the night.
As a team, Temple held the advantage in rebounds, out-rebounding Howard 41-28, and shooting percentage, shooting 31-for-62 from the field compared to Howard’s 22-for-57 mark. The Owls also recorded a season-high of 15 steals.
“I like the way we started the game today but then we got lax,” Cardoza said. “We went up about 23 and we just got lax. Obviously, I’m glad that we won the game because we could’ve easily not won, but I’m not happy with how we won”.
Brien Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @BErick1123