Third quarter collapse costs Temple in loss to St. Joe’s

Temple Women’s Basketball allowed the Hawks to shoot 64 percent from the field in the second half of a 75-66 loss Wednesday night.

Aleah Nelson prepares to shoot the ball into the basket. ERIKA MONN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

With 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Owls’ junior guard Tarriyonna Gary buried a three-point shot to cut Temple’s deficit to six points. Moments later, sophomore guard Makayla Waleed fouled Hawks’ graduate guard Katie Jekot, handing her two free throws.

Jekot stepped to the line and converted on both of her free throw attempts, giving the Hawks a 59-51 lead and halting any momentum after Gary’s three-pointer as both squads headed into the fourth quarter. 

Temple Women’s Basketball (1-4, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) lost to St. Joseph’s University (5-0, 0-0 Atlantic 10 Conference) 75-66 on Wednesday night at Hagan Arena in both teams’ second Big 5 matchup of the season. The Hawks outscored the Owls 27-13 in the third quarter, maintaining a lead that Temple’s offense could never cut into.

“To have a great defensive first half and then the total opposite in the second half, that can’t happen,” said head coach Diane Richardson.

The Hawks were efficient offensively all night, shooting 28-of-57 from the field and scoring a season-high 75 points. St. Joseph’s shot 49.1 percent from the field, the highest mark allowed by the Owls in a game this season. In the second half, the Hawks shot 16-25 from the field, compared to Temple’s underwhelming 10-32.

“I think we wanted it more,” said Hawks’ sophomore guard Mackenzie Smith. “They were working a little bit harder than we were and we decided as a group that can’t happen.”

Sophomore forward Talya Brugler led St. Joseph’s in scoring with 17 points on 7-of-14 from the field. 

“She just makes the difference defensively,” said Hawks’ head coach Cindy Griffin. “Offensively, she has a motor that is unmatched.”

The Hawks found much of their success down low, outscoring Temple 36-22 in the paint. Two more Hawks finished with double-digit points with Smith scoring 14 and freshman forward Laura Ziegler finishing with 10.

Temple’s offense was ineffective for much of the contest. On non-three-point field goal attempts, the Owls shot 13-of-40 and could only manage 11 fastbreak points. Sophomore guard Jasha Clinton was one of the lone bright spots for the Owls, scoring 12 points as well as four rebounds and four assists. 

Despite the 1-4 start, the Owls still believe they have what it takes to compete with the top teams in their conference, said senior guard Aleah Nelson.

“I’m not worried,” Nelson added. “We’re going to have a winning season and we’re going to win the championship.”

After three consecutive losses, the Owls will look to get back on track when they travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, to play Bucknell University (2-3, 0-0 Patriot League) on Nov. 27 at 4 p.m.

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