Garner’s season-high lifts Temple past SMU
Written by: Adrian Maghacot
Photo by: Zack Silverstein
On an electric senior night, Temple women’s basketball (11-17, 6-10 American Athletic Conference) defeated SMU (16-11, 7-8 AAC) 68-62 at The Liacouras Center in its last game of the regular season.
The Owls were led by forward Brittany Garner, who scored a season-high 15 points in addition to grabbing seven rebounds, two steals, and one block. Garner was also recognized as the redshirt junior will be graduating after this season.
“Not only did we get a win, but [Garner] just took over the game,” Temple head coach Diane Richardson said. “We wanted to win for her more than we wanted to win for our senior night, and she contributed to that.”
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair, and while scoring was divided evenly for Temple, SMU center Jessica Peterson came out hot, scoring 10 points and seven rebounds. Her efforts led to the Mustangs’ three-point lead at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter took a turn in the opposite direction, as SMU was unable to have the same success. The team scored eight points on 21% shooting, including a scoring drought that lasted over three minutes.
At the end of the first half, Temple went on a late surge with seven points inside three minutes, and the Owls took a 32-30 lead.
Coming out of the locker room, the Owls were the ones that suffered a scoring drought, not making a basket for 3:03 of the quarter. However, Temple managed to make a push later in the quarter, scoring 16 points while holding the Mustangs to only 10 on 29% shooting.
By the end of the third quarter, the Owls extended their lead to eight points after out rebounding the Mustangs 10-8. While SMU attempted to mount a comeback, including a 13-point barrage in the last five minutes, it was too little too late, as the Mustangs had three turnovers within the final two minutes.
Sophomore forward Tiarra East was the catalyst into finishing the game on a high note, as she scored 11 of the team’s 20 points in the fourth quarter. East led the team with 21 points while also grabbing six rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Guard Tarriyonna Gary greatly aided in the Owls’ win by adding 15 points, seven rebounds, and one steal.
Four Mustangs finished the game in double-digit scoring figures: Peterson’s career-high 19, forward Chantae Embry’s 10, forward Savannah Wilkinson’s 10, and guard Jasmine Smith’s 10.
“I had three other players in double figures today,” Richardson said. “We are finding each other and helping each other, and people are stepping up because we want to win and we saw that today.”
The Owls’ next game will be in the first round of the AAC conference tournament at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, TX. Temple, as the ninth seed, will face eighth-seeded Wichita State (16-13, 6-10 AAC) at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN+.