Temple women’s basketball’s woes just seem to be growing larger and larger.
The Owl’s suffered an 88-67 loss to the visiting No. 2 UConn Huskies Saturday afternoon at the Liacouras Center in a game where it looked like they didn’t stand a chance from tip-off.
The Huskies look like they’re in the middle of a war-path as they’ve beaten each of their last five opponents by an average of 28.8 points. Twice during that stretch, they’ve given up less than 40 points: 38 vs. Cincinnati on Jan. 9 and 33 vs. Tulane on Jan. 16. They’re no
This all leads back to the loss the Huskies took against the No. 2/3 Baylor Bears on Jan. 3 by a score of 68-57, something that they won’t forget when it comes time to play in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies are now 16-1 overall on the year and are 5-0 in conference play.
On the other side, this season looks like it’s been a nightmare for Tonya Cardoza and company. The Owls have not won a game in January and with Saturday’s loss to the Huskies, they now move to 4-12 on the season, and remain winless in conference play.
“It’s been a long January for us,” Cardoza said. “It’s just been tough trying to find ways to get better and get wins and coming into today we knew it was going to be hard. We’re playing against one of the best teams in the country, so we just talked about trying to be different, different than we have been the last few weeks and making sure that we compete for 40 minutes and just doing things that we’ve been harping on and then trying to make changes.”
Cardoza also mentioned how her team needed to take and make it’s open shots and to not second guess in order to stay in the game. She said that due to the Huskies size and length, “they’re going to steal the ball and when they steal the ball, they’re going to score in transition.”
Early on in the game the Owls showed life as sophomore forward Mia Davis opened the scoring with a three-pointer. After freshman forward Alexa Williamson hit a shot to make the score 9-8 in favor of the Owl’s, head coach Geno Auriemma called a timeout to get his team together. Coming out of that timeout, the Huskies ended the first quarter on a 14-2 run and led 22-11.
The second quarter was all-Huskies. To close out the quarter, junior guard Crystal Dangerfield grabbed a rebound, looked up at the clock, and proceeded to go end-to-end and blew by the entire Owl defense to lay the ball in before the buzzer went off. The Huskies led 42-25 at halftime.
”I would like to think that could be a typical game for Crystal, creating a lot of points for us and knocking in her share of points,” Auriemma said. ”She was on her game tonight. She made shots, she got people shots and she managed the game. That about says it all.”
The closest the Owls got in the fourth quarter was 17 points, but the Huskies closed it out easily for the win.
Overall, the Huskies shot 48.5% from the field in the first half, and while they turned the ball over 17 times, they out-rebounded the Owls 43-31.
The Owls shot 41.5% from the field for the game and a dismal 20.8% from three-point range, converting on just five of their 24 chances. Senior forward Lena Niang didn’t hit any of her eight three point opportunities, but played a force on defense.
“So when you were open, you needed to shoot the basketball and I felt like Lena, she had a lot of wide open shots,” Cardoza said. “They didn’t fall but I felt like her effort on the defensive side, she can continue to shoot if she’s going to play defense like that.”
Sophomore guard Desiree Oliver put on a very good performance today as she grabbed her first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds and added a career-high seven assists as well. Williamson impressed in her first matchup vs the Huskies as she scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds. Graduate student point guard Alliya Butts finished with 17 points and two steals.
For the Huskies, Dangerfield shot ten-for-fourteen from the field and three-for-seven from the field. She finished with 26 total points and quarterbacked the Huskie offense as well. Senior forward Napheesa Collier shot ten-for-fifteen from the field and two-for-three from three and scored 30 points in 36 total minutes.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” Cardoza said. “I wanted to see a different team, a different mindset. I saw those glimpses in certain individuals, but there’s definitely still a ways to go.”
The Owls will look to grab their first win in January as they face off Penn at 7:00 on Wednesday night.