PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/25/2017 – The Temple Owls women’s basketball team hosted a high-scoring Ole Miss Rebels team. The Owls needed to slow them down, and did. However, the offense could not get untracked, and Mississippi takes home a 64- 48 win at McGonigle Hall. Tanaya Atkinson led the hosts with 22 points and 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Ole Miss guard Shandricka Sessom scored a game-high 23 points.
Defensively, the Owls held the Rebels to 20 points under their season average. The Cherry and White did get more shots off, but only made 25% from the floor. Stopping a team is important, but there is also a need to score the ball.
“We knew that we would have to slow them down offensively as they average almost ninety points per game,” said Temple Coach Tonya Cardoza. “But we knew we would have to able to score with them as well. I thought we did a good job of frustrating them into twenty-three turnovers, but giving up second chance points definitely hurt us.”
In the game Temple did force 23 turnovers that did keep Mississippi from getting separation. The defense was needed and the Owls got it. The Cherry and white got 10 steals, led by Atkinson with 4.
“We were focusing on them getting a little rattled,” said Atkinson. “If we didn’t rotate right, it would be easy for them to get the ball into the post.”
When the Rebels were able to effectively get the ball to the basket and got good interior passing for good looks at the hoop, they made 25 field goals, 20 from inside the arc and assisted on 16 of those baskets. Mississippi had a 36 – 20 advantage in points in the paint. Forward Promise Taylor scored 15 points on 7 of 11 shooting, and added a career-high tying 8 rebounds. Guard Alissa Alston scored 10 and dished out a game-high 6 assists. Philadelphia native and Neumann-Goretti grad Chyna Nixon played scored 3 points. Mississippi leading scorer Madinah Muhammad was limited to 8 minutes.
On the glass each team pulled down 18 offensive rebounds, but Ole Miss had a 29 – 18 edge on the defensive glass, another factor in limiting the Temple offense.
The Rebels (5 – 1) did not trail. In the 3rd quarter the Owls surged getting to within 38 – 32 with 5:42 in the period on two free throws by Atkinson. Ole Miss answered with a layup by Sessom followed by back-to-back three-pointers by Torri Lewis and Sessom to take control of the game. The Cherry and White cut the deficit to single-digits twice before the end of the contest.
“Out of the timeout they made two threes, and that definitely changed the momentum of the game,” Cardoza said.
Senior Khadijah Berger scored 9 points. The next leading point producer for the Owls had 4 points. More support is needed.
“When you shoot 25%, it is going to be hard to win basketball games,” said Cardoza. “We were erratic in not knowing who and when to get the ball to in situations.”
Temple did shoot 80% from the free throw line (16 – 20) while Mississippi converted 9 of 21 foul shots
The Owls (4 – 2)are in the midst of a six-game home stand. Game two of the stretch will be on Wednesday when Big Five rival Saint Joseph’s will visit. It will be the city series curtain lifter for the Hawks, while the Cherry and White will try to go 2 – 0 in the Philadelphia Big Five.
“We’ve got to make shots,” Cardoza said. “We’re getting shots, but not making them.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian