-- A fourth quarter drought doomed the Temple women's basketball team as the third-seeded Owls fell to second-seeded USF, 64-46, in the American Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday night. The loss dips Temple to 20-11 on the season, while #20 USF improves to 23-8.
The Owls led as late as 3:58 in the third quarter, and faced just a six-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter. However, USF opened the fourth with a 15-2 run, backed by nine points from All-American Courtney Williams, to put the game out of reach.
Temple shot just 25% (7-28) in the second half, while USF connected on 48.1% (13-27). The Bulls finished at 40.7% (25-59) for the game, and also held a 47-35 edge on the glass, including a 22-14 advantage in the second half.
Sophomore Tanaya Atkinson
led the Owls in scoring for the second-straight game, finishing with 17 points and also adding five rebounds. Senior Erica Covile
had nine points and nine rebounds, while sophomore Alliya Butts
had seven points. Junior Feyonda Fitzgerald
ended her night with six points and four assists, while sophomore Donnaizha Fountain
had four points and six rebounds.
The first quarter featured three ties and three lead changes, as each team traded significant runs. Temple had the first surge, 6-0, to lead 6-2 early. USF countered with a 12-0 run to take an eight-point lead at 14-6 with 4:46 on the clock. Temple then closed the frame with nine-straight, including five from Covile as the Owls led 15-14 after one.
After USF took a 17-15 lead on a three from Ariadna Pujol, Temple rattled off a 7-2 run to go up 22-19. USF's Stringfield then scored the next eight points for USF, as the Bulls went up 27-24 with 2:23 on the clock. The teams traded two points each over the final minutes, as USF took a three-point edge (29-26) into the locker room.
Atkinson had 12 first-half points for the Owls, while Covile added seven points and five rebounds. Stringfield led the Bulls with 12 points, while Alisia Jenkins had eight points and nine rebounds in the first half. Both teams connected for 11 first-half field goals as USF shot 34.4% (11-32) and Temple shot 33.3% (11-33). The Bulls also held a 25-21 edge on the glass.
Temple opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run, taking a 37-31 lead on a pair of Fitzgerald free throws. USF answered with six-straight Stringfield points to tie the game, before Fitzgerald again hit for Temple, putting the Owls up 39-37 with 3:58 on the clock. That proved to be the last points of the quarter for Temple, as USF used an 8-0 run to lead by six (45-39) after 30 minutes.
After the teams traded buckets to open the fourth quarter, Williams took over, scoring seven points in the next four minutes. That surge was part of a 13-0 run that put USF ahead 60-41 with 4:40 to play. Temple's offense stalled down the stretch, as the Owls could not get any closer than a 17-point deficit the rest of the way.
Williams scored 20 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to lead all players, while Stringfield and Jenkins both added double-doubles.
Temple will now await a possible at-large bid to the post-season. Box Score (PDF)
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