Written by: Zachary Silverstein
Photo by: Andrew Mayo
After shooting 25 percent from the field, and going on multiple extended scoring droughts, Temple women’s basketball (7-11, 2-4 American Athletic Conference) found themselves in a deficit too large to overcome, falling 64-53 to Memphis (11-8, 3-3 AAC) at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
“I thought we were getting over the hump,” Temple head coach Diane Richardson said. “We had a good game against Cincinnati [on Jan. 7]. I thought we were learning some things about ourselves, but unfortunately, we had an uphill battle and just didn’t climb that mountain well these last two games.”
The first quarter was a defensive battle, with the Owls and Tigers shooting 40 percent and 27.8 percent from the field respectively. Turnovers were also a problem for both teams, as Temple forced five and Memphis forced four.
The star of the quarter was Temple junior guard Tarriyonna Gary. She shot an efficient 2-3 from beyond the arc and added a nice pull-up jumper, finishing the first 10 minutes with eight points.
Both teams ended the first quarter with extended scoring droughts, with the Owls lasting the final 3 minutes and two seconds and the Tigers drought lasting the final two minutes.
Despite the extended scoring drought, the Owls carried a two-point lead in the second quarter.
Memphis found success in the second quarter, outscoring the Owls 15-11.
Gary was held scoreless, but sophomore forward Caranda Parea stepped up, leading the charge with five points on 2-2 shooting (1-1 from three-point range). She also pulled down three rebounds.
Senior guard Aleah Nelson, Temple’s minutes-per-game leader, took just two shots in the first half, both of them coming from beyond the three-point arc.
Richardson wanted Nelson to be more aggressive.
“She has to shoot the ball,” Richardson said at halftime. “She hasn’t been shooting the ball, and we need to get her to do it. She’s passing up shots.”
Memphis senior forward Lanetta Williams led the Tigers in the second quarter, scoring a team-high seven points in just six minutes.
“I’m really excited for Lanetta,” Memphis head coach Katrina Merriweather said at halftime. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of putting her in a spot where she’s comfortable. She’s a really good finisher at the rim and we should probably give it to her down there more often.”
Memphis took a two-point lead into the locker room, thanks to Williams second quarter surge.
The Tigers put on a defensive clinic in the third quarter, holding the Owls to just seven points and forcing them to commit six turnovers.
Temple was held scoreless for 4:38, while Memphis went on a 9-0 run for four minutes and 13 seconds. The Tigers were aggressive on both sides of the ball, and it was too much for the Owls to handle.
Temple’s scoring drought ultimately ended when Nelson made two free throws after being fouled while shooting a fast-break layup. However, they didn’t score a field goal for the final six minutes and five seconds of the quarter.
Memphis sophomore forward Hannah Riddick scored two points and pulled down three rebounds in the third quarter, giving herself her third double-double of the season. She finished the game with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Tigers came out firing in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points in the first 4:44. However, Temple began to lock in as they held the Tigers to zero field goals for the final five minutes and 16 seconds. Memphis scored just seven points during that stretch, all coming from the free throw line.
Temple was able to go on a quick 9-0 scoring run, which included an and-1 three-pointer from Nelson. Nelson scored 10 points in the quarter after scoring just six points in the first three quarters combined.
Seeing that Nelson was struggling, Richardson and her staff told Towson transfer that she needs to take more shots because she has the ability to score at will.
“It was more of a mindset thing,” Richardson said. “I think she passed up some shots in the first half. She has the ability to shoot with a defender on her, and she was passing those up in the first half. At halftime we told her that she has to shoot the ball.”
Unfortunately for Temple, it was too late, as the Owls ultimately walked away with their third-straight loss.
The Owls will travel to New Orleans on Jan. 25, where they will take on Tulane at 7 p.m. The game can be streamed live on ESPN+.