PHILADELPHIA – Despite 19 points and 15 rebounds for Victoria Macaulay,
Temple women's basketball suffered a 71-55 Atlantic 10 and Big 5 loss
to La Salle on Sunday afternoon. The loss to the Explorers (6-14, 2-2)
was the first since 2000 for the Owls (8-11, 1-3).
Temple and La Salle are now both 1-2 in the Philadelphia Big 5 with only Saint Joseph's left to play.
The Owls were able to narrow a 16-point deficit down to eight in the final minutes, but could come no closer as La Salle hit 9-of-10 from the free throw line in the final 2:24. Turnovers were the story of the game for Temple as the Owls committed 27 of them to the Explorers' 11, leading to a 28-8 edge in points off turnovers by La Salle.
Meghan Roxas came off the bench to score 11 points for Temple and hit 3-of-5 behind the arc. Macaulay struggled from the field overall, but hit 7-of-8 at the line en route to her team-high 19 points. Natasha Thames hit 4-of-6 from the field for eight points, while also grabbing six boards.
Also having a strong outing off the bench for the Owls was Jacquilyn Jackson, who hit 3-of-3 en route to seven points. She also grabbed five rebounds and recorded three assists.
Shanel Harrison scored a career-high 29 points to lead La Salle, and came one shy of the school record with eight steals.
"The credit goes to La Salle," said head coach Tonya Cardoza. "They saw that we weren't ready to play, and they took advantage of that. Right from the start, we started the game turning the ball over and I think that just fed in to them and they really started to get a lot of confidence. They just ran with that. They had some players that really played well for them, and we didn't show up to play. When you don't show up, this is what happens."
La Salle led for most of the first half as the Owls struggled to hold onto the ball. Temple committed 10 turnovers in just the first six minutes of the game and the Explorers led by seven, 12-5 at 13:47. Roxas helped keep the Owls close with eight early points including a pair of treys, but La Salle still matched its largest lead of seven with nine minutes remaining in the half.
Jackson and Roxas each scored three points in a 6-0 run to pull Temple within a point, 19-18 at 5:31, but opportunities continued to be lost as the Owls gave up the ball before getting shots off. La Salle had a 14-3 edge in points off turnovers at the seven-minute mark, and made it 18-3 by halftime.
The Explorers led by eight on two occasions in the last few minutes of the half after an 11-4 run put them up 30-22 near the two-minute mark.
Natasha Thames had back-to-back offensive rebounds and putbacks to put the Owls within four in the final minute of the half, but after a free throw for La Salle, the Explorers' Harrison put in a layup at the buzzer for a 33-26 lead at the break.
Temple finished the half with 19 turnovers to La Salle's eight, but the Owls were strong on the glass with a 24-10 advantage in rebounds. Roxas had eight points to lead Temple, while Harrison put in 19 first-half points to lead all players.
La Salle scored the first four points of the second half for its largest lead of 11. The Owls hit just one field goal in the first nine minutes of the half, but made use of opportunities at the line, going 5-of-6 in that stretch.
As the cold spell continued for Temple, the Explorers' lead increased to 16 points, 49-33 with 11:27 remaining. Macaulay scored five points in a 7-2 run that narrowed the gap to 11 at 9:15, but La Salle responded with two buckets to get its lead back to 15, 55-40.
Three different players scored in a 7-0 run for the Owls, including Roxas who hit her third trey of the game. That basket put Temple within single digits, trailing just 55-47 with four and a half minutes remaining.
The Owls matched that eight-point deficit three more times, but La Salle always had an answer. The Explorers also got the job done at the line, going 9-for-10 in the final three minutes to hold off any hopes of a comeback for Temple.
Rebounding was one bright spot in the loss for the Owls, who out-rebounded the Explorers 45-28. Despite an 18-8 edge on the offensive glass, however, Temple got just 13 second-chance points to La Salle's 10.
The Owls will also play their next game in McGonigle Hall, facing Richmond at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31.