Temple University “disrespected” Iona College and the game of basketball itself, coach Tonya Cardoza said.
Cardoza said Temple (3-5) was “going through the motions” during its 59-39 victory against Iona (1-7) on Thursday night at McGonigle Hall.
“Some people would think, ‘Well, at least you guys got a win,’” Cardoza said. “Well, there’s a way that I like to look, and I don’t think today’s game was anything like our last two.”
Cardoza was partly disappointed in her team’s lack of energy because Temple hadn’t played at home since the season opener on Nov. 6. The Owls played six straight games on the road and lost five consecutive games before Thursday.
Playing at McGonigle Hall was a refreshing change of pace from traveling, said freshman guard Marissa Mackins, who finished as the Owls’ second-leading scorer with nine points and had three steals.
“It feels really great,” Mackins said. “I’m pretty sure our team doesn’t really like away games. We like playing in front of our home crowd and just playing.”
In Monday’s loss to nationally ranked DePaul University to close their road trip, the Owls scored a season-high 88 points and shot a season-high 50 percent.
Against Iona (1-7) the Owls had just one player score in double digits, shot 39.3 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc.
“I really don’t know what affected our play,” Cardoza said. “I felt like we just showed up and it was a game and we had to play, not like we really wanted to go out and really show our fans what we should look like.”
The Owls also struggled to hold onto the basketball. They committed 24 turnovers, which upset Cardoza.
“To turn the ball over 24 times against a team that did not start pressing you until the last four minutes of the game is a lot of immaturity,” Cardoza said. “I thought we would come out and be excited about being at home and playing in front of our fans.”
Sophomore forward Mia Davis led the Owls with 25 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.
The Owls shot 40 percent from the field in the first quarter, allowing them to jump out to a 13-4 lead they never relinquished.
“It gave me a little momentum and the team because usually, we start off a little slow,” Davis said. “Us gaining a lead early gave us a little momentum.”
Temple outrebounded the Gaels 43-27, which helped the Owls get off to a fast start. Temple held Iona scoreless for the first eight minutes of the game. Seven of Davis’s 14 rebounds were offensive boards to help Temple record 14 second-chance points to Iona’s two.
“The one thing about her is she’s very savvy around the basket,” Cardoza said. “She’s undersized, but she finds a way to get the ball up on the rim and to actually go get it. She just is tough, she has heart, she’s a competitor and that’s why she gets the numbers that she has because that’s just who she is.”
Temple faces Big 5 opponent Villanova next on Dec. 9 at the Finneran Pavilion in another away game.