PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/30/2018 – The Temple Owls were playing at McGonigle for only the third time this season. The La Salle Explorers traveled a couple of miles on Broad Street. A local battle and a Big Five game. Temple got a total team effort with five players in double figures, and turned up the defense to post a 75 – 47 win over La Salle.
Turnovers were a big part of the game. The Explorers lost opportunities to get shots as they committed 18 miscues. The Owls did not get a major boost in points off turnovers, but limited La Salle on offense getting 11 more field goals. The defense kept the Explorers from getting a consistent flow on the offensive end, and they went 16 of 62 from the floor (25.8%).
“We had to be aggressive on defense and be as disruptive as we possibly can,” said Temple Coach Tonya Cardoza. “We might not have had a lot of points off turnovers, but we set up our defense and kept being aggressive. It forced them to take shots they may not have wanted. There was more communication.”
As the Cherry and White got steals, 12 total, it led to easy baskets. The Owls also had an inside force in forward Mia Davis who registered her 11th career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Davis was injured in the fourth quarter and had to leave the game.
Temple players registered new career-high totals. Guard Alliya Butts did not score, but had a career-mark in assists with 10. Fellow guard Emani Mayo set a mark in steals with 6 and contributed a game-high 18 points. It was her defense that mattered.
“I take a lot of pride in my defense,” said Mayo.
“She had six steals and with a couple of tricks she could have had two more,” Cardoza said. “Emani is a capable scorer, but she can be a great defensive player.”
Forward Shantay Taylor set a collegiate mark in rebounds with 13 and tied tied her career-high in points with 14. It was Taylor’s initial double-double. Forward Alexa Williamson pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds to go along with 11 points recording her first collegiate double-double. Marissa Mackins added 11 points. The Owls got contributions from many players.
“It’s really important, and everybody just played hard,” Mayo said.
La Salle kept the game close early. Showing grit the Blue and Gold stayed in contention. The deficit at halftime was 33 – 28. The game moved in the Owls direction later in the third quarter scoring 10 straight points to move in front 55 – 38 when the final ten minutes began. The Explorers forced 15 Owls turnovers. Forward Deja King led La Salle with 10 points.
La Salle falls to 3 – 11 and is 0 – 3 in city series. The Explorers go on the road for conference games at Dayton and VCU.
Temple improves to 4 – 7 and 2 – 1 in the Big Five. The Owls play Duquesne before entering American play. They still have Penn on the schedule, and there is a chance they could share the city crown.
“We are trying to get a championship, a Big Five championship,” Butts said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian