PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/5/2019 – The Temple Owls started their conference schedule returning to McGonigle Hall against the University of South Florida Bulls who snapped a three game losing streak defeating the Owls 63 – 53. It was the fourth straight win by USF over the Cherry and White.
USF won the battle of the boards and with that the game. The Bulls outrebounded the Owls by a 57 – 40 margin, and pulled down 26 on the offensive end. Since neither team shot the ball well, both in the low 30’s percentage, rebounds were plentiful and important. In points in the paint and second chance points USF had a 52 – 38 edge.
Turnovers cost Temple committing 18. USF had more, 19, but won the points off turnover battle 20 – 14.
“We knew what South Florida was capable of doing,” said Temple Coach Tonya Cardoza. “It came down to rebounding and turnovers. They basically threw us around down there when it was time to go crash.”
Still, the Cherry and White stood up to the challenge and stayed in contention with the Green and Gold by trying to force an uptempo pace. Although they did not take a lead, the Owls got to within 49 – 45 with 4:45 to play on a Breanna Perry layup. South Florida (10 – 5, 1 – 0) regained control of the game behind a three-pointer by Enna Pehadzic with 3:07 on the clock.
Pehadzic had a career-high 13 rebounds. Shea Leverett got her second double-double of the season for USF with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Syndi Harvery recorded a team-best 19 points.
Temple got 19 points from Mia Davis. Alliya Butts added 16 points. She had two steals which tied her with LaKeisha Eddy for the program top spot with 252. Butts was more concerned with the outcome.
“I just wanted to get the win,” said Butts.
Freshman Alexa Williamson was just short of a double-double getting 9 points and 8 rebounds. The forward Houston continues to get better.
“The last couple of weeks she has impressed me,” Cardoza said. “She is showing she can do a lot of things. She wants the ball and was working hard. She is gaining confidence and her teammates have confidence in her as well.”
Temple is 4 – 9 this season. They are 1 – 2 over the past three games and host Tulane on Tuesday. This team is showing signs of improvement. The challenge is putting together a complete forty minute game.
“I definitely feel like we have improved some on the defensive side,” said Cardoza. “We are not giving up as many points as we have in the past, but not enough to get on the winning end. Improvement has not sustained over forty minutes. It may be within possessions. It’s just being in the moment of the defensive side.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian