PHILADELPHIA- The Owls pulled out an impressive victory against undefeated St. Joe’s in a close and highly competitive Philadelphia Big 5 matchup.
Coming off a disappointing loss vs Ole Miss, the Owls came out flat in the first quarter, only managing 9 points and turning over the basketball 7 times. The Hawks looked poised for an easy win, but the Owls bounced back and had the game tied all up at 30 come halftime. It wasn’t easy, but Temple eked out a 69-66 with clutch free throws and tight defense to hold off a potential comeback from St. Joe’s.
Head Coach Tonya Cardoza said this about what clicked for the Owls after a tough first quarter, “Picking up the pace of the game. We are better when we are faster and being aggressive. And then defensively, when we are a lot faster and a lot quicker, even when their guys are open, we were quick enough to catch up to them and get them out of their rhythm.
Cardoza also believes that tough competitive Big 5 games, should prepare the Owls for further tests along the road. “It doesn’t matter what someone’s record is, the game is always intense.”
Tanya Atkinson again led the way for the Owls and registered yet another double-double. Atkinson has 24 points on 8 of 20 shooting, with 13 rebounds, and a clutch layup in the closing seconds of the game. Atkinson said that it “feels good” to be given the final shot and that she’s “matured and grown enough to be put in that position that even when I do miss, I know they still have my back.”
Mia Davis also registered a double-double, adding 15 points, along with 13 rebounds. Deja Reynold scored a career-high 12 points and hit two clutch free throws with 7 seconds remaining to give the Owls their 69-66 lead.
The Owls did happen to give a lot of baskets inside, but they outrebounded the Hawks, 50-40, and were able to neutralize the three-point scoring abilities of St. Joe’s. Coming into the game, the Hawks were shooting more than 50% from the three-point line, tonight, they were 1 of 10, and coach Cardoza credits that to the defense of freshman, Emani Mayo. Even though Mayo was 1-11 from the field, Cardoza views her as somebody who can defend anyone because she always sticks to and knows her assignment.
After a rough start, the Owls were able to bounce back and take control of the game. When they play their style of basketball, fast-paced, they are a hard team to beat.
The Owls now sitting at 5-2, will take on Harvard at McGonigle Hall on Saturday afternoon.