PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/21/2018 – It was something a little different. The Temple Owls faced off with the Cincinnati Bearcats for a noon tip off on School Game Day. The Liacouras Center was rocking with school students happy for a day out of the classroom. Lots of music, lots of dancing in the stands, and the Owls were smiling for pregame.
The game is played on the court. While the stands brought some energy, the Bearcats had control on the floor and defeated the Owls 70 – 52. Temple falls for the fifth straight time to and are 10 – 17 on the season and 2 – 12 in the American. It was also the first loss in sixteen School Game Days.
“It was really exciting,” said Temple guard Desiree Oliver. “It gave us a lot of energy and was exciting.”
Basketball is a numbers game and the Cherry and White made only one-third of their shots (21 of 63). The Bearcats were better hitting 40% and out rebounded the hosts 48 to 36.
Cincinnati led the entire game except for the 2:15 when the game was tied. Temple stayed in proximity trailing by 8 at halftime and after three quarters of play. The Owls quickly got to within 5 at 45 – 40 less than one minute into the final quarter. They would get no closer.
“I thought Cincinnati had a great game plan, and making everything on the offensive end difficult,” said Temple Coach Tonya Cardoza.
“I felt like we made a little run, but our focus wasn’t where it should have been, especially playing in front of these little kids and having that energy. We didn’t do our part.”
Tanaya Atkinson set a place in the Temple record books. In the third quarter she took down the 7th of her 11 rebounds to become the second player in school history to score over a thousand points a thousand rebounds. She scored 10 points to record her 14th double-double of the season and 28th in her career.
“It’s a good feeling, but I would rather that we won,” said Atkinson. “But it’s a good feeling.”
Emani Mayo was the leading scorer for the Owls with 13 points. Oliver registered 12 points and Mia Davis contributed 11 points.
Cincinnati was led by Ana Owens and Philadelphian Shanice Johnson both scoring 24 points.
The Owls travel to ECU before returning home on Monday for the regular season ending game against Memphis. After that it is post-season play.
Written By: Glenn Papazian