HOUSTON — Coming into this game, following four blowout victories in a row, Temple has been hot on a four-game winning streak, which turned into five after their first single digit win in as many games. Temple came into Houston for their second conference match-up of the season, after a big conference match-up win over Memphis, and defeated Houston 75-66. Three players on Temple’s roster (Feyonda Fitzgerald, Alliya Butts, and Erica Coville) all scored more than the highest scorer on Houston’s (Chyanne Butler). Butts had the most well rounded performance of the group, with 20 points, four rebounds, and five steals. Fitzgerald and Covile also had respectable performances with 23 and 17 points, respectively. Temple was out-bounded, created less assists, and had worse field goal percentage; however, they had 10 less turnovers and made 18 more free-throws. Their protection of the ball and success from the line had a strong part in what made Temple successful this game.
Temple started off the game as strong as they could’ve, with a 17-3 run for the entire quarter. Houston was only able to make one field goal and one free-throw throughout the whole quarter, while Temple was scoring all over them. In fact, Houston didn’t even score their only basket until there was under three minutes remaining. The run was built mainly through causing turnovers and turning them into transition baskets, or free-throws.
During the second quarter, Houston started to catch back up by going on a 13-1 run for the first five minutes, to bring the game to within two. After Houston brought the game to one point, as the score was 19-18, Temple went on a 10-2 run to bring the lead to 29-20. They traded baskets towards the end and the half ended 33-24. By halftime, three players on Temple (Alliya Butts, Erica Covile, and Tanaya Atkinson) had already scored double digit points, while not one player on Houston had at least 10 points yet. The difference between the two teams in free-throws was apparent at the half, as Houston had only made three free-throws, while Temple had 11 completed free-throws at that point.
The third quarter was pretty even between both teams, as neither really took advantage of the other with a huge run, but Houston was able to close the gap a little better as the score quarter ended with Temple only up by five.
In the fourth quarter, all the intensity picked up as Houston was able to tie the game, and even take their first lead of the game! The second-half collapse that had plagued Temple for so many games in the past almost came back until they went on a 13-4 run to end the game, which kept their lead safe. This win proved Temple’s ability to not only win blowout games, but win the close ones as well, which will be pivotal for playoff games. This five-game streak has improved their record to 8-4, and they have a chance to increase it even better with a game in Dallas against SMU.