Temple kept attacking the inside. Over and over the Owls were able to get the ball in the low post and put it in the net.
Four of the five starters in Friday night’s season opening 96-72 win over the Delaware State Hornets were guards, but the team had no trouble excelling in the low post all night long.
“They [Delaware State[ were outmatched inside, as you can obviously see when you have Mia and Tanaya scoring over 40 points and getting 30 rebounds,” Coach Tonya Cardoza said. “We talked about how they were giving us threes but there was a reason for it, and just because they’re giving them to us doesn’t mean that we always have to shoot them. Once we realized that we really started to throw the ball inside and that was when we pulled away.”
Of Temple’s 96 points scored, 44 of them were inside the paint and dominated the boards, grabbing a total of 54. Freshman forward Mia Davis recorded her first double-double in her first collegiate game as she had 21 points and a game high 17 rebounds. Senior guard Tanaya Atkinson had 23 points and 13 rebounds, giving her her 15th career double-double.
“We ran a lot of rotations in tonight’s offense and although I play guard it just so happened that I was ending up in the low post a lot,” Atkinson said. “We looked at their foul count and attacked inside the best way that we could once that we noticed that.”
The way the offense ran impressed Cardoza as the Owls shot an overall 45.9 percent from the field and had 24 assists in comparison to the Hornet’s 14. The way that all the freshman contributed to the offense impressed Cardonza as well. Temple has six freshmen on this year’s roster, which is double the amount that they had last year. Throw in the fact that senior guard Alliya Butts is out the entire season with a torn ACL and these freshmen will be looked to by Coach Cardoza and the rest of the team to contribute right away.
“Of all the new guys that got into tonight’s game, every single one of them did something really well. Mia getting a double-double, Breanna [Perry] getting her first collegiate start and getting four blocks and almost having a double-double, Desiree coming in off the bench and getting six assists, and then Imani not missing a shot and scoring in getting double figures,” Cardoza said. “Those are guys that have never played a collegiate game and did really positive things so I’m hoping that we can continue to build off of that.”
Although the offense was efficient, Cardoza did not expect to give up 72 points to a Hornets team that shot just 34.7 percent from the field.
Temple committed 24 fouls as well to give the Hornets 30 free throw attempts. Fouls were an issue in Temple’s last exhibition game on November 4 as well. They committed the same number of fouls against the University of Charleston as they did against the Hornets.
“When you see the opponents getting wide open shots that means that we’re not talking. Whether it’s in transition, whether it’s on a screen, it’s because we’re not talking enough,” Cardoza said. “I don’t want to make excuses for them, but they’re young and sometimes they don’t know what to say. If you’re just talking about what you’re supposed to be saying, that helps out a lot, but the biggest thing is just the communication element of it all.”
Atkinson said that she needs to be more of a leader on the court as one of the lone seniors on the roster.
“I feel like I definitely have to step up to the plate. Even when I’m tired I need to talk because like Coach said, some of the young guys don’t really know what to say while on the court,” Atkinson said. “Once we get into the groove of things, we’ll be alright.”
The Owls will play again on Monday night at McGonigle at 7:00 when they take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
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