Coach Tonya Cardoza said before the season that she expected a double-double from senior center Victoria Macaulay in every game. So for the second time in three games she got just that.
Macaulay dominated once again at home, this time in the Liacouras Center, with 16 points and 13 rebounds in Temple’s (2-1) 54-38 win against Big East Conference foe Seton Hall (2-1) Wednesday night.
“Just basically taking my time from the last game,” Macaulay said about how she rebounded from the last game against Nebraska. “Relaxing, taking my time, seeing what’s open, not forcing up shots.”
Temple started out slow, committing 14 turnovers and shooting just 26.1 percent from the floor on their way to a 21-18 halftime lead. Freshman forward Sally Kabengano was the only player on either team to connect on more than one attempt, making two buckets en route to six points in the opening half.
“It’s still early,” Cardoza said. “We have young guys who are trying to do things that maybe they’re not comfortable with. But as a team we understand that we’ve been turning the ball over and we just have to make better decisions with the basketball.”
The Owls had plenty of trouble maintaining the lead throughout the first half. The defense was strong against a much bigger opponent but several passes went straight to Pirates defenders keeping them from pushing the lead further.
“We have to keep the team composed,” sophomore guard Tyonna Williams said. “When we’re just not doing that, when we’re just out of control, the team’s going to be out of control. It really falls back on me and May.”
Williams recorded a career high eight assists to go along with six points and four rebounds. She’s been playing out of position as the team’s point guard after spending much of her time last year focusing on the two position.
The Owls came out strong in the second half, jumping out on a quick 6-2 run. After senior guard Brittany Morris knocked down three of her 12 points on the night to cut the lead to four the Owls took off on another 14-4 run.
They would lead by less than ten points just once the rest of the night. Temple shot 56.5 percent in the second half while holding Seton Hall to 26.5.
“We held a team to 38 points,” Cardoza said. “When you can do something like that, that’s remarkable, and even then we felt like we gave them buckets they probably shouldn’t have gotten.”
Cardoza wasn’t comfortable with the lead, however, thanks in large part to Temple’s 26 turnovers. Despite a double-digit lead for much of the second half she refused to pull Macaulay until the final seconds. Macaulay wound up with 39 minutes, her second time in three games achieving that feat.
“Ten points is not really a big lead with four or five minutes left,” Cardoza said. “If you looked at the turnovers, we could turn the ball over and they could get an easy bucket. So I didn’t feel comfortable until I took her out.”
The matchup against Seton Hall is one of five games the Owls have against Big East teams as they transition to the conference next year. They have yet to face Rutgers, Syracuse, Villanova and Georgetown.
The Owls return to action on Saturday when they host Northeastern at 5 p.m..