The women’s basketball team is trying to find its shooting touch plays.
The Owls stayed busy during the winter break while other students were home enjoying the holidays.
The Owls played six games including two on the road. They split the six games winning three against UCLA, Richmond and Western Michigan and losing to Duke, Villanova and St. Bonaventure.
Recently, the Owls defeated the Dayton Flyers, 61-57 on the road last Sunday.
The Owls are 2-1 in a wide-open Atlantic Ten Conference, so the goal of bringing home a conference championship and returning to the NCAA tournament is still very much alive despite an inconsistent start.
“I think everybody knew that, once Xavier lost their big players, that the conference was wide open,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “No one gave Dayton or Temple the trophy this year. We knew that we were going to have to fight it out, and we knew that it was a balanced league. It’s tough competition throughout.”
Losses to in-city rival Villanova and No. 8 Duke, both at home, by nine and 11 points, respectively, were tough to swallow. In the loss to the Wildcats, the Owls shot 25.5 percent from the field, which crippled their chances to pull off the victory. A win against Duke would have been a confidence boost after a slow start to the season, but the Owls got themselves in a deep hole, down 37-20 at the half as they struggled again from the field, and their second-half rally wasn’t enough.
There was cause for concern as the next two games were on the road, but they beat Western Michigan by 12 thanks to 19 points apiece from senior guards Kristen McCarthy and Shey Peddy.
The following game against Richmond displayed one of the Owls’ best comebacks thus far of the year. The Owls trailed by 14 in the first half thanks to more cold shooting, but pulled off a 13-0 run in the second half to ensure a thrilling finish. With the Owls down by one with 10 seconds left, Cardoza put the ball in Peddy’s hands, who found McCarthy for a jumper with 0.2 left on the clock to give Temple the win.
The cold shooting has been a trend throughout the season as the team has a 29 percent field goal percentage from beyond the arc and is shooting less than 40 percent shooting overall.
Still a 7-8 record on the season isn’t what anyone on North Broad had envisioned for this team that went 24-9 a year ago. The low shooting percentage in most games has been a big Achilles’ heel for the team and so has the assist to turnover ratio, 186 assists compared to 238 turnovers.
Peddy and McCarthy are the only players averaging double figures in points as the rest of the starters and bench have struggled to find their scoring touch as of yet.
“To be honest, it’s not so much the bench,” Cardoza said. “We have to get more production from our starters, because our bench players are not really scorers. Our starters have to do the bulk of the scoring for us, and we know that.”
McCarthy said the team is looking to bounce back after the slow start.
“I don’t know if I would call it pressure, but just urgency,” McCarthy said. “It’s urgent that we come out to play every game.”
The team still has time, as it is early in conference play and no one team in the conference has really separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Big road games against Dayton and Xavier await the Owls in the later part of January.
“It’s just going to be one of those seasons where you’re going to have to fight to the end,” Cardoza said. “And that’s been different for the conference since I’ve been here, and that’s what’s exciting about it. You know that every single night out you have to play your best basketball to give yourself a chance at the end.”
Brandon Stoneburg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.