Temple University women’s basketball (3-2, 0-1 The American Athletic Conference) could not control Connecticut (3-0, 1-0 The AAC) and its big fourth quarter, losing 83-54 at the Liacouras Center on Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore guard Christyn Williams led the way for the Huskies, scoring a team-leading 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Junior forward Mia Davis was the highest scorer for the Owls in the game with 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting. Davis scored her 1000th-career point during the game, becoming the 25th Temple player to do so.
“I didn’t even realize that I was close to this milestone,” Davis said. “I just want to say thank you to my teammates and coaches for helping me reach this goal.”
Davis’s efforts failed to salvage the game as the rest of the team struggled to contain the size of Connecticut’s forwards. The Owls lost the rebounding battle 40-32 and allowed 36 of the Huskies’ 83 points to come from in the paint. On the offensive side, they struggled to produce in the paint with Connecticut’s sophomore forward Olivia Nelson-Ododa blocking five of Temple’s shots.
“We didn’t look good offensively today,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “I thought we were a little stagnant. They had [Nelson-Ododa] hanging in the lane, which made it a little difficult to score in the paint.”
Temple’s 54 points were the lowest they have produced all season; UConn’s 83 is the most they have allowed in any game so far.
“This was an opportunity for us to come out and play good basketball,” Cardoza said. “We just let it slip away in the fourth quarter.”
Temple was outscored 26-9 in the fourth quarter, with Connecticut shooting 71 percent on field-goal attempts to help extend their lead.
Connecticut’s strong shooting, combined with the Owls’ 26.7 percent shooting on field goal attempts, allowed the lead to swell to 29 with one minute remaining in the game. It also helped Connecticut reel off a 12-point run that concluded with five minutes and 27 seconds remaining in the fourth.
One positive in Cardoza’s eyes was the performance of freshmen guards Asonah Alexander and Rayniah Walker.
“They did a really good job playing in their first game on the defensive side,” Cardoza said. “They really were focused and tried to communicate and be in the right spots. I liked their effort on the defensive side of the basketball.”
Alexander has averaged 29 minutes per game over the five games the Owls have played while Walker has started playing more minutes in recent games, with 10 minutes against Xavier University and 20 minutes against Connecticut. Walker also hit a key three-point shot against Xavier on Thursday.
Temple will be back in action on Wednesday, playing against Bucknell University (2-2) at 6:00 p.m. in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.