Six games into the season, the women’s basketball team is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2-4 start with three games against Rutgers, Auburn and Ohio this week.
After recovering from two difficult loses to Pepperdine and No. 13 UCLA during a road trip to California, Temple’s first game in the upcoming stretch will come at home Wednesday night against the 4-2 Scarlet Knights.
Similar to the Owls, Rutgers began its season with a road trip to California and returned with two loses, but since then, the Scarlet Knights have won four straight. The team has averaged 64.5 points per game and is led by redshirt-junior guard Khadijah Rushdan, who has averaged a team-high 13.5 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Junior forward April Sykes and sophomore center Monique Oliver have averaged 13.3 and 10.8 points, respectively, to help lead a solid supporting cast. The duo has combined for 9.3 rebounds per game, and Sykes has also led the team from behind the arc, converting on 11 of 23 attempts.
Rutgers is coming off a huge 65-52 win over Oregon State in the Hyatt Place Lady Rebel Round-Up Championship last week. Sykes was named the tournament MVP, scoring 18 points against Oregon State in the final, and Oliver had a career-high six blocks and four steals in the contest.
After they face the Scarlet Knights at home, the Owls will head south to Alabama, taking on Auburn Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers have struggled to a 2-4 start but managed to rout Seton Hall, 85-51, on the road last week. Led by senior guard Alli Smalley, Auburn has averaged 64.8 points per game while giving up an almost equal 64.3 points. Smalley is averaging 10.8 points per game, but as a team, the Tigers have struggled offensively and are just 38.4 percent from the floor this season.
Although Auburn is 2-4, two of the team’s losses came against undefeated national powerhouses No. 15 Florida State and No. 6 Duke. The Tigers will also take on 3-3 South Alabama before they face Temple, and the team could be on a roll by time the Owls come to town.
Temple then remains on the road, heading north to take on Ohio Monday night.
Averaging only 53.8 points per game, the Bobcats are led by Cincinnati transfer Tenishia Benson. The redshirt-junior guard has been dominant for Ohio this season, averaging 15.5 points and seven rebounds per game. However, the Bobcats do not have much depth beyond Benson and sophomore guard Ashley Fower, who averages 9.8 points and three rebounds per game.
The Bobcats were blown out, 84-47, by Louisville in their home opener and fell to Youngstown State, 60-52, over the weekend, but the team pulled off close wins over Memphis and Marshall. They will also take on George Washington and Chicago State on the road before playing Temple.
If the Owls can pull off three victories over the next week, they will be in a much better position as they head into the tail-end of the their non-conference schedule.