Freshman guard Jasha Clinton’s effort wasn’t enough for Temple University women’s basketball on Tuesday afternoon.
Clinton led all players in scoring (22 points), assists (eight), and steals (five), but as a team Temple shot just 41.1 percent from the floor in their 83-73 loss to the Tulane Green Wave (17-7, 12-6 AAC) in the opening round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament. Temple came in as the fifth seed, and Tulane as the fourth.
Temple ends their season with a record of 11-11 (11-7 AAC).
Tulane scored efficiently on Tuesday, which ended up being the difference in the game. They shot 50 percent (32-for-64) from the field and shot 82.4 percent (14-for-17) from the foul line. They also had seven players score at least seven points, whereas Temple only got consistent scoring from Clinton, senior forward Mia Davis (20 points, 8-for-18) and junior forward Alexa Williamson (17 points, 8-for-12).
“Felt like right from the start, we gave away too many second-chance opportunities defensively,” said head coach Tonya Cardoza. “It’s hard to win basketball games when you give up that many points, but we couldn’t really get control of the game.”
Temple additionally shot just 33.3 percent (7-for-21) from three-point range and struggled from the free throw line, shooting just at a 54.5 percent clip (6-for-11). They also only made 13 of 30 layup attempts.
Tulane held control over most of the game, as they led 21-14 at the end of the first quarter, 47-36 at halftime, and 73-54 at the end of the third quarter.
“I think overall Tulane of course outrebounded us,” Davis said. “We should have been better on the boards, and we also turned the ball over a lot. Those are things we can control, we just have to be better in those aspects.”
Tulane effectively ended the game towards the end of the third quarter. With 4:27 left in the quarter, Davis scored to cut Tulane’s lead to 57-50. Then, over a minute-and-half timeframe with the quarter close to ending, Tulane went on a 14-0 run and took the 19 point lead going into the final quarter.
Throughout the third quarter, Tulane scored nine second-chance points and scored an additional nine points off of the six turnovers Temple committed.
With their backs against the wall in the fourth quarter, Temple collected 15 offensive rebounds but scored just nine points off of them. They also shot 28.6 percent (8-for-28) to close out the contest.
“I definitely think it was a lack of focus,” Cardoza said. “I mean, we had two breakaways that we missed. I just feel like we could have played better basketball collectively.”
With nothing left to play for for the time being, Temple will wait to see if they’re offered a bid into the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). The WNIT will consist of 32 teams, and the field will be announced on March 15.
“Just to get an extra year and get another shot for a championship, it’ll be good for everybody coming back together,” Davis said. “Coming back together and gelling, it’s important that I get an extra year to fight for another championship.”