January 9, 2021 –
The Temple Owls women’s basketball team won its fourth game in a row and is still unbeaten in the American Athletic Conference upsetting the Knights of UCF 61 – 58 at McGonigle Hall. The Owls handed the Knights their first conference loss of the season. Freshman guard Jasha Clinton set a career-marks with 17 points, 5 made three-point baskets in a collegiate-high 37 minutes for Temple.
UCF is a team that the Owls struggle with or battle. Upsetting a team that is receiving votes for a national ranking uplifts the team and allows them to stay in second place in the conference with a 4 – 0 record, just a half-game behind league leading USF.
“They found success in the SMU game, then at Tulsa, and they started to feel good about themselves,” said Temple Coach Tonya Cardoza. “Then you go to ECU and beat them at home, you come into this game feeling confident.”
The Cherry and White snared the victory by the effort on the defensive end of the floor holding UCF to 58 points. The magic number for the Owls to win is holding the opponent to less than 60 points.
“It was key to get defensive stops,” Cardoza said. “They make it hard for you to score. We’re not making three’s. We can’t get the ball inside to Mia. It was crucial we kept them to under sixty points. Every game in our conference we’ve held the other team to under sixty. That sixty points is clutch.”
The Owls contained the Knights to 43.8% shooting (21 of 48) and 2 of 8 from beyond the arc. More importantly the defense forced 23 turnovers. Although Temple had 19, it created a choppy tempo which helped the home team.
The Owls led 52 – 44 with just over seven minutes remaining. The Knights mounted their last charge getting to within one-point at the 57 second mark. Temple put the game away sinking four straight free throws. To hold off a team like UCF is a sign of growth.
“To be in that situation and every possession mattered in that last two minutes, and for us to be able to to get the stops we needed, that says a lot,” said Cardoza.
On defense Owls guard Asonah Alexander set a season-high with 3 steals and added 9 boards
Mia Davis led the Cherry and White with 19 points. She converted 9 of 12 from the free throw line. Davis pulled down 6 rebounds.
Brittney Smith had a team-high in points with 17 and caroms getting 9. Courtajia Sanders scored in double-figures contributing 14 points for the 5 – 2 Knights.
This is another step in the right direction for the improving Owls who are scheduled to host the Cincinnati Bearcats on Wednesday.
“I like where our guys are right now,” said Cardoza. “Mentally, they’re really feedding off eazch other and really believing of what we are trying to get accomplished. I like the state of out team. Good things are happening for them.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian
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