At the end of the first ten minutes of play, the Owls were down 13 points and scored just eight.
Playing through the deficit, Temple University pulled within one point of the University of Mississippi in the third quarter and trailed by as few as three in the fourth.
Despite pressing until the end, the Owls (2-1) lost 62-55 in their first loss of the season against Mississippi (2-1) on the road Wednesday night.
“That is just something that is hard to come back from, but the crazy thing is we found a way to come back,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “To fight like we did, I thought that showed a lot of toughness. But now, we have to figure out how to close that game.”
The Owls missed open shots and had trouble scoring throughout the game, Cardoza said. Mississippi outscored Temple 17-15 in the final quarter. The Owls shot 32.7 percent, which is higher than the team’s first half 26.1 shooting percentage.
However, sophomore forward Mia Davis was unaffected by Temple’s scoring struggles.
The Owls leading scorer had 22 points, she shot 8-16 and went perfect from beyond the arc, going 2-2. Davis helped Temple stay within reach in the second half, as 18 of her 22 points and three of her six rebounds came in the final 20 minutes.
“She was just being super aggressive, and we were getting her the ball,” Cardoza said. “I felt like in the first half, she wasn’t making herself as available as she should have, and I thought the third quarter, she definitely changed that.”
Temple’s other main offensive contributor was freshman guard Marissa Mackins. She ended the night with 15 points and added three assists and three rebounds. Mackins’ performance comes after leaving Temple’s first game on Nov. 6 with an injury and missing the last game against St. Joseph’s.
On a night when shots were not falling for graduate student guard Alliya Butts, Temple’s eighth all-time leading scorer, Mackins’ contributions were important. Butts had three steals, four assists and seven points, shooting 2-10 and 0-4 from the three-point line. Cardoza said depth in the point guard position takes the pressure off just one person to score every night.
“[Mackins] definitely was a spark for us,” Cardoza said. “She came in in that first half and made a couple of shots, she was being super aggressive, and I think that might’ve been the difference in the second quarter, too, is her play.”
Davis and Mackins were the only two Owls to score in the double digits.
“I feel like when we got stops, we didn’t capitalize on offense like we should’ve,” Cardoza said. “It was just hard for us to score. I felt like our execution wasn’t on point, and we were a little passive.”
Turnovers compounded Temple’s scoring difficulties. The Owls ended the game with 17 turnovers compared to the Rebels’ 11. Mississippi capitalized scoring 15 points off on Temple’s turnovers while shooting 43.4 percent from the field.
Temple’s next game is against Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, on Nov. 18.