PHILADELPHIA, December 30, 2011 – The Temple women’s basketball team staged a second half comeback, but it was not enough as their rally fell short as the #8 Duke Blue Devils earned a 65 – 54 win over Temple at McGonigle Hall. The Owls shaved a 15 point Blue Devil lead to 5 with 1:07 to play, but were outscored 6 – 0 the rest of the way. Coach Tonya Cardoza felt her team got too far behind early by not playing aggressive.
“It was another disappointing loss,” said Cardoza. “We dug ourselves in a hole. We looked intimidated in the first half. In the second half we played like we thought we would. We had opportunities and didn’t take advantage of it. We have to find ways to win these games.”
Duke took a 37 – 20 halftime lead mostly behind making Temple pay for their turnovers. The Owls committed 11 in the half which Duke converted into 17 points, which was the first half point differential. The Blue Devils also had superior inside play and got a 24 – 10 advantage in points in the paint. In the second half the game began to turn for Temple as they made Duke pay for their mistakes. The second half saw Temple have a 13 – 4 lead in points off turnovers, and nearly matched Duke in points in the paint (22 – 10).
Trailing 43 – 28 with 16:14 remaining in the game Temple got back to within 6 by going on a 15 – 6 run as Senior guard Kristen McCarthy and Junior forward Brittany Lewis began to find the range. The lead fluctuated between 6 and 10 points. Back to back baskets by Lewis brought Temple to within 57 – 51 with 2:13 on the clock. On the next possession Duke guard Chelsea Gray put in a jump shot with no time on the shot clock. Temple continued to fight back as a free throw by Senior guard Shey Peddy and layup by McCarthy cut the deficit to 5 at 59 – 54. Temple got the ball back on a turnover. The Owls got the ball inside to Lewis, but her layup rimmed out with a minute left. Duke got the rebound and put the game in the win column scoring the final six points of the game.
“We put pressure on by attacking and getting to the foul line,” said Cardoza. “In the first half we settled for jump shots. That’s what they wanted us to do. We made it a game because we were the aggressors.”
Duke guard Tricia Liston scored a game-high 20 points. She was joined in double figures scoring by Gray (12), and forwards Richa Jackson and Haley Peters each had 10. Center Elizabeth Williams scored 9 points, but took down a game-high 11 rebounds. Peddy and Lewis scored 13 points for the Owls, and McCarthy contributed 12.
It was not an artistically beautiful game as Duke had 25 baskets and 25 turnovers. Temple had 22 field goals and 22 turnovers. Duke out-rebounded Temple 37 – 21.
The Owls record drops to 5 – 7, and they will go on the road to Western Michigan and Richmond to start the new year.
“We have to come out like we did in the second half,” said Peddy. “We dug ourselves a hole. We have to change that.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian