University of Mississippi senior guard Shandricka Sessom led the way with 23 points and eight rebounds for the Rebels as they outmatched the Owls for a 64-48 victory at McGonigle Hall on Saturday. Temple’s three-game winning streak ended.
Mississippi (5-1) came into the game as the 18th-best field-goal shooting team in Division I at 48.9 percent. The Rebels also were the 15th-best rebounding team with 222 boards.
It showed on Saturday afternoon when they shot 43.9 percent from the field and outrebounded Temple (4-2) by 11.
Despite their shortcomings on defense, the Owls stymied junior guard Madinah Muhammad, who entered the game eighth in Division I with 24.6 points per game. They held her scoreless in eight minutes off the bench, but Mississippi didn’t miss a beat.
Sessom and freshman forward Promise Taylor combined for 38 points and 16 rebounds. The pair shot a combined 16-for-25 from the field. The Rebels’ other players shot 9-for-32.
“I thought we did a pretty good job frustrating them into 23 turnovers,” coach Tonya Cardoza said, “Giving up second-chance points to big kids inside definitely hurt us.”
One of the “big kids” Cardoza mentioned was Taylor, a 6-foot-4-inch center. Taylor finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. She had five offensive rebounds and scored 14 points in the paint.
The Rebels scored 36 of their 64 points in the paint. Temple struggled on both sides of the ball on Saturday, shooting 15-for-60 from the field. Cardoza described the Owls’ offense as “erratic” and said they “didn’t know where to go with the ball” on occasion. The 48 points scored by Temple is its lowest scoring output of the season.
Senior guard Tanaya Atkinson put in a nice effort, finishing with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. The New Haven, Connecticut, native accounted for a bulk of Temple’s offense. Excluding her attempts, the Owls were 8-for-40.
Atkinson’s double-double marks the fifth time in six games that she has achieved the feat and the 25th time in her career.
Miscommunication played a large role in the Owls’ loss. It helped lead to 18 turnovers and multiple missed rotations on the defensive end.
“We like to rotate off of our trap and get them rattled,” Atkinson said. “When we don’t rotate right, it’s gonna be easy for them to get it down in the post and get an easy two.”
Temple will take on St. Joseph’s (4-0) on Wednesday at McGonigle Hall for the second game of its seven-game homestand.