Temple University coach Tonya Cardoza rushed to call a timeout after Tulane senior guard Tatyana Lofton hit a 3-point shot to extend her team’s lead to 10 points.
Cardoza called the timeout with three minutes, 10 seconds left in the third quarter to try to stop the Green Wave’s offensive push. But Tulane (12-3, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) continued its momentum by extending its lead to 19 points on the way to a 66-57 victory against Temple (4-10, 0-2 The American) on Tuesday at McGonigle Hall.
Tulane scored 28 third-quarter points and closed the quarter on a 15-0 run. Cardoza contributed the Green Wave’s run to the Owls’ inability to make open shots to keep pace with Tulane.
In the third quarter, Tulane shot 58.8 percent from the field. Temple shot 45.5 percent, but the team took just 11 shots to the Green Wave’s 17.
“On the defensive side, we worked really hard,” Cardoza said. “But the difference between us and them was that when they got open shots they made them, and it all boils down to that. You have to put the ball in the hole, and we haven’t consistently put the ball in the hole.”
Tulane exploited Temple’s defense in the third quarter because of the Owls’ lack of communication, freshman forward Alexa Williamson said.
The Owls’ defense forced 25 turnovers and recorded a season-high 16 steals against Tulane, but they didn’t force any turnovers during Tulane’s run.
Temple trailed the Green Wave by just three points at halftime. The Owls held Tulane to 36 percent shooting from the floor, but the Green Wave limited Temple to 31.3 percent.
Temple entered the game coming off a season-low 31.3 percent clip from the field in Saturday’s loss to South Florida, and its shooting struggles continued. The Owls shot 6-for-29 from 3-point range and 37.7 percent from the floor.
Graduate student guard Alliya Butts, who is Temple’s all-time leader in made 3-pointers, shot 0-for-7 from behind the arc.
Tulane held sophomore forward Mia Davis, the Owls’ leading scorer, to eight points and two rebounds, well below her average of 19.3 points and 9.3 rebounds.
“The way that they defended Mia, they were just going to crowd her and push her around,” Cardoza said. “Every play she went, they pushed her around and made sure that she had no open looks. However, they were giving other people shots.”
Tulane’s zone defense and full-court press also contributed to Temple’s difficult to get going on offense, freshman guard Marissa Mackins said. The zone helped forced the Owls to commit 20 turnovers.
“When they were in the trap, nobody came to the ball,” Mackins said. “It was hard for us to get out of the trap, and at times we just walked right into it.”
Temple will continue conference play when it travels to Texas to play Houston (6-8, 0-1 The American) on Saturday at 2 p.m.