Temple recorded season-highs in field-goal percentage and points during Monday’s game against DePaul University.
But the Owls also allowed a season-high 102 points in Chicago in their 102-88 loss to the Blue Demons, the No. 20 team in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Despite Temple’s fifth consecutive loss, coach Tonya Cardoza saw the improvements made by the team as something to be happy about.
The Owls (2-5) shot 50.8 percent from the field, finishing higher than 50 percent for the first time this season and shooting more than 40 percent for the first time since their season opener.
“I like our fight, I like the way we competed when we were down,” Cardoza said. “We have to do a better job in taking care of the basketball and limiting second-chance opportunities, and it’s a totally different ballgame if you do those two things.”
DePaul’s largest lead in the first half was 23 points. DePaul (5-3) outscored Temple 29-17 in the first quarter behind 11 points from senior guard Ashton Millender, who finished with a team-high 23 points.
Performances from key players and accurate shooting in the second half helped the Owls get back on track. The Owls shot at least 60 percent in both the second and the third quarters, helping to make up for their 38.9 clip in the first quarter.
“We’ve been talking about it, how if we make shots, our record would be something completely different,” Cardoza said. “We’d be sitting here feeling good about ourselves, and so it was good to see shots go in for those guys.”
Sophomore forward Mia Davis contributed 22 second-half points to trim the Owls’ deficit to seven points with five minutes, five seconds left in the fourth quarter. After that, DePaul closed the game on a 7-0 run.
Davis shot 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, notching a new career-high in made 3-pointers. Davis’s team-high 11 rebounds also helped her achieve her fourth double-double of the season.
Graduate student guard Alliya Butts, who scored 19 of her season-high 23 points in the second half, gave Temple a second-half boost. Butts shot 9-for-17 from the field but got off to a slow start by shooting 1-for-3 and turning the ball over twice in the first quarter.
“The way Alliya started wasn’t good, but I told her after the game that she showed growth,” Cardoza said. “In the past, the way she started, she would’ve ended the same way, and we wouldn’t have gotten anything from her.”
Temple’s bench contributed 31 points on Monday. Senior forward Lena Niang led the reserves with 12 points, while sophomore guard Desiree Oliver and freshman forward Alexa Williamson combined for 19 points.
“Hopefully, that is a confidence booster for a lot of those guys because it’s going to be hard to win basketball games with just Alliya and Mia scoring,” Cardoza said.
Temple’s downfall was its inability to grab offensive rebounds and secure the ball, Cardoza said. DePaul scored 22 second-chance points and 28 points off turnovers. Davis and Butts, the Owls’ leading scorers on Monday, combined for 10 turnovers.
The Owls will try to end their losing streak on Thursday against Iona College in its first home game since Nov 6.
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