No. 24 Villanova Claws Back and Erases Temple’s Fourth Quarter Lead to Remain Undefeated

Written by: Adrian Maghacot

Photo by: Tim McCall/Temple Athletics

Despite leading No. 24 Villanova by nine points at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Owls lost 74-71 in the Liacouras Center.

Temple held a 57-49 lead entering the fourth quarter and looked to secure the upset. However, Villanova erased the Owls’ 8-point lead and went on a 14-point run, with eight points coming from senior forward Maddy Siegrist.

Temple did not score their first point in the quarter until four minutes left in the game.

With 35 seconds left and the Owls down by five, junior guard Tarriyona Gary scored a three-pointer to get the Owls within two, but Villanova answered back after Gary turned the ball over and fouled Villanova junior guard Bella Runyan. Villanova closed out the game and sealed the comeback.

One of the biggest struggles for the Owls was boxing out and getting defensive rebounds. Siegrist, the reigning Big East Player of the Year, had nine rebounds in the first half, six on the offensive side. She ended the night with 16 total rebounds and had a career high of eight offensive rebounds.

“Something I try to do is crash the boards,” Siegrist said. “Just keep going every time and try to create more possessions for your team.”

Siegrist also had a productive shooting night, scoring 41 points on 56 percent from the field. The rest of the team scored 33 points and shot 26.7 percent from the field. This was her fourth consecutive double-double.

“She’s very smart and a very high-IQ basketball player,” Temple head coach Diane Richardson said. “She’s a really good player and we tried to see if we could get some help-side defense against her, but she is a tough, tough player to guard.”

Gary and senior guard Aleah Nelson were the main contributors for the Owls in this game. Nelson played all 40 minutes and showed her aggressiveness with 20 points, four defensive rebounds, and eight assists. Gary, on the other hand, relied on shooting outside the paint, ending the night with an efficient 78% beyond the arc with 23 points.

Her 23 points is the most Gary has scored in a game in her college career at Temple and Towson.

“I just practice, and I work on that every day,” Gary said. “Coach [Richardson] believes in me and my teammates want me to shoot, so that’s what I am going to do.”

Foul trouble was the biggest issue for the Owls as there were 13 in the first half alone, ending with 22. Sophomore guard Tiarra East fouled out with 35 seconds left in the game. Villanova took advantage of those mistakes and scored 24 points on 75 percent shooting from the line.

Temple (1-3) will stay in Philadelphia but play an away game against Saint Joseph’s at Hagan Arena. The game is scheduled for Wednesday, November 23 at 5:00 PM on ESPN+.

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