WRITTEN BY: MELISSA PAYAVIS
The Owls fought an uphill battle for most of their matchup with the #1 UConn at the Liacouras Center on Wednesday night. Temple scored the first points of the game, leaving the crowd hopeful for less than a minute, but UConn quickly took the lead and ran with it.
From early on, the Huskies hit the ground running, going 10-12 from the field, while holding the Owls to just eight points in the first quarter. UConn and Temple had both outscored themselves by two in the second quarter, heading into the locker room with a score of 52-18. This is the Owls’ largest halftime deficit of the season, as well as being tied for their lowest halftime point total this the season.
By the third quarter, the Temple squad had started to settle into its own, resulting in a 29-22 third quarter performance. It’s just the first time the Huskies have been outscored in a quarter during conference play this season. Temple cut its turnover total in half, going from 13 in the first half to six in the second. However, Coach Cardoza says missed chances in the first half left them unable to keep up with UConn.
“Whenever you get to compete against the best, it gives you an opportunity to see where you stand, and I felt like in the first 20 minutes we were caught up in the hype and not really competing against them, and just allowing them to do whatever they wanted,” Cardoza said. “In the second half I felt like we just threw that all out the window and just competed with them.”
Tanaya Atkinson was the standout player of the night for Temple, recording her sixth double-double of the season. Atkinson netted with 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, nine of which came of the offensive end, with a career-high four assists. With her stellar scoring performance, Atkinson surpassed Tyonna Williams, the team’s current Director of Basketball Operations, on the career points list.
The Owls travel to Devlin Fieldhouse in New Orleans this Sunday at 2 p.m. to take on the Tulane Green Wave.