Women’s basketball pulls out win against Northeastern

The women’s basketball team recorded its third win of the new season, but it certainly wasn’t pretty.

Temple held on to beat Northeastern 63-59 Saturday at the Liacouras Center behind a couple stellar offensive performances by its starting front court, despite committing 29 turnovers. Coach Tonya Cardoza said she knows the team will not have long-term success with sloppy performances like tonight.

“I’m one of those people that I’m not happy just because we win, but I want to look good doing it,” Cardoza said. “When I’m sitting out there coaching and watching the mistakes that they’re making, I know that we’re not going to be able to play like that down the road against better teams.”

Senior center Victoria Macaulay had another strong performance for Temple, dropping a career-high 27 points while gathering 10 rebounds and blocking five of the Huskies’ shots. Macaulay, who had a career-high 16 rebounds in an opening night win against Montana last week, shot 12-for-17 from the field.

However, much like Cardoza, Macaulay’s focus is on the teams overall play, not her individual performance.

“[Scoring a career-high] feels great, but most importantly it’s all about getting a good win,” Macaulay said. “That 27 points isn’t really relevant because we didn’t play a good game.”

Starting alongside Macaulay, redshirt-junior power forward Natasha Thames had her most productive game of the young season after being sidelined most of last season with an injury. Thames recorded her third career double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds on a 6-for-11 scoring night.Thames said she is “slowly but surely” making her way back to full health.

“The first few games I was still kind of out of it,” Thames said. “I’m trying to be more aggressive both on offense and defense and to make sure I rebound.”

Trailing by four at halftime, Northeastern was able to keep it close throughout the second half. With a combined 57 turnovers, neither team was doing much to help their chances of winning the game. However, with Northeastern down three with under a minute remaining, freshman guard Erica Covile  became Temple’s unsung hero. Covile went a clutch 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the games final 60 seconds. She went 9-for-10 from the line throughout the game, scoring a career-high 11 points.

“For [Covile] to step in and contribute like that, that was really good to see,” Cardoza said. “For her to play some defense and get a couple of steals, I think that’s just a confidence booster for her.”

The Owls primary focus heading into the game, Cardoza said, was limiting the scoring chances of Northeastern’s senior guard Deanna Kerkhof. Averaging 18 points coming into tonight, the Huskies’ leader was held to just eight points and 2-for-7 from the floor. Another senior guard, Kashaia Cannon, led Northeastern in scoring with 16 points.

“Our focus was to make sure [Kerkhof] didn’t get looks,” Cardoza said. “That was definitely a focus, to not only not allow her to get shots but to not allow her to touch the basketball. Switching off on her, I thought [freshman forward Sally Kabengano] and [Thames] did a really good job of pressuring her.”

Temple (3-1) has now won back-to-back games for the first time this season, albeit an ugly one. The Owls take on Rutgers on Wednesday, Nov. 21 in McGonigle Hall.

Tyler Sablich can be reached at tyler.sablich@temple.edu or on Twitter @TySablich.

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