Written by: Vince Tulli
The Owls were able to pull out a major win for the Big 5 title last night against a tough Penn team.
Headed into the fourth quarter down 13, things were looking bleak for the Owls. Penn was hot from beyond the arc all game, and Temple was struggling with Penn’s mixture of 2-3 defense, man defense, and the full court press.
The Owls were able to shake of their poor first three quarters of play down the stretch by finally breaking down Penn’s tight defense. Temple went on an 18-3 run in the fourth to give them their first lead of the game.
The momentum totally switched into Temple’s favor, and the Owls shocked the Quakers to win their first Big 5 title since the 2016-17 season. The huge 76-72 victory raises the Owls record to 12-7 on the year, while Penn drops to 10-4.
The win was a great way to bounce back from a crushing loss to Wichita State the other day. This Big 5 title is what the Owls needed to have all the confidence in the world headed into the bulk of their conference schedule. If the Owls play how they did on Thursday night for the rest of the season, they will have a legitimate shot at making the NCAA tournament.
The whole game had a Big 5 rivalry feel to it. Players on both teams were aggressive from the tip, and it was a slug fest the rest of the way in true Philly-style basketball.
Multiple Owls got hot at different points in the game.
Marissa Mackins was the only Owl that kept Temple in the game through the first frame. She had 11 of the teams first 13 points and ended the half and game with 14 total points.
Mia Davis was her usual dominant self, dropping 20 points and grabbing 14 rebounds for her thirteenth double double of the season.
Lena Niang had all 7 of her points in the fourth quarter when the Owls needed it most to go along with 7 boards.
The biggest part of the Owls’ comeback came from Ashley Jones, who had 10 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter giving the Owls the momentum they needed to close out the game.
She hit a clutch three-pointer to bring Temple within two, then immediately stole the ball from Penn, and dished it to Alexa Williamson who got the and-1 layup putting the Owls ahead by one. The Owls never looked back and went on a 7-2 run to seal the win.
Temple’s next game will be on Sunday, January 26th at 2:00pm against Cincinnati.