By: Melissa Payavis
Temple took on its second undefeated Big 5 team to come into McGonigle Hall, but the results were different this time. The #20/22 Villanova Wildcats were nearly upset by the Owls, but Temple fell short in the final minutes, 69-65. The Owls have won two-straight in past two years against Villanova, but this loss for the Owls puts the Wildcats at 30-14 on the all-time series.
Villanova’s notorious defense was present, with five blocks and four steals on the day, compared to the Owls’ one block and no steals. However, Temple did surpass the average point per game Villanova allowed, which was previously 51.8.
It was pretty empty downtown, as Temple went 0-9 on three-pointers in the first half but still managed to keep the Villanova lead to two points going into the locker room, 27-25.
Senior guard Tanaya Atkinson nabbed a season-high 18 rebounds, with the last record of 13 being set against the last Big 5 opponent Saint Joe’s on November 29th. She also took her ninth double-double of the season with 24 points and was the Big 5 Player of the week.
The last four buckets came from Atkinson, who the team tends to rely on in tough last-minute situations.
“My teammates have a lot of faith in me, and have a lot of confidence in me so that gives me a lot of confidence,” Atkinson said. “I’ve been here four years. I feel like it shows growth in me that I get to take the last shot.”
Freshman forward Mia Davis neared another double-double, with nine rebounds and 13 points.
Davis was also named the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week.
The Owls will have another opportunity for a home win against Marist on Saturday, December 16th at 2 pm.