Written by: Adrian Maghacot
Photo by: Temple Athletics
The Owls (7-8, 2-1 AAC) defeated Cincinnati (7-8, 0-2 AAC) 77-73 Saturday at Fifth Third Arena behind strong performances by sophomore guard Jasha Clinton and senior guard Aleah Nelson to earn their second win in conference play.
Nelson blossomed against her former team as before transferring to Towson and Temple, she played at Cincinnati as a freshman, averaging 1.3 points and 9.6 minutes per game.
During her homecoming outing, Nelson finished the game with 20 points, three assists, and three rebounds.
Clinton helped control Temple’s first half, scoring 16 points, one point shy of her season-high in one game, on 6 of 9 shooting. The team also held Cincinnati to a 30.3% shooting percentage during the first half, including limiting junior Jillian Hayes, the team’s leading scorer, to only four points.
In the second quarter while Nelson was struggling, Clinton provided a spark to the Owls by scoring 13 of the team’s 20 points during that quarter, including contributing to a seven-point run. One of their biggest successes was Temple taking advantage of Cincinnati’s 4 of 14 shooting to then feed Clinton the ball.
While Cincinnati only scored 11 points during the quarter, senior guard Jada Scott made a buzzer beating shot at the free throw line to give the Bearcats some momentum into halftime.
Despite Temple replicating their performance from the first half by shooting 50% in the second, Cincinnati shot much better and attempted to mount a comeback after halftime, thanks to a 52% team shooting percentage and a seven-point third quarter by Hayes.
With 39 seconds left in the game and Cincinnati down by eight, Hayes fouled out and the team was without its leading scorer with an opportunity to tie.
After a personal and technical foul by Clinton, Cincinnati scored the following three free throws and forced a turnover, but Temple sophomore forward Tiarra East grabbed a rebound and made her two free throws after being fouled with four seconds left.
Cincinnati freshman guard A’riel Jackson then made a three-pointer at the buzzer, but it was not enough, giving Temple the four-point win.
Clinton scored a career-high 28 points and tied her season-high of six assists. East captured her second double-double after scoring 10 points and grabbed 10 boards.
Jackson led the Bearcats with 19 points and junior forward Malea Williams and Hayes each grabbed eight rebounds.
Cincinnati will travel to Texas to play SMU (10-5, 1-2 AAC) at Moody Coliseum on Tuesday, January 10, at 8:00 PM.
Temple will return home to the Liacouras Center to face East Carolina (10-5, 1-1 AAC) on Wednesday, January 11, at 12:00 PM.