The East Carolina University women’s basketball team (5-5, 3-2 American Athletic Conference) suffered a 66-57 loss against the Temple University Owls (3-3, 3-0 AAC) on Jan. 6 at Williams Arena in Greenville, North Carolina.
In ECU’s last game on Jan. 2, they came up short in a 71-58 loss at the hands of the University of South Florida Bulls (7-1, 4-1 AAC), who were the No. 21 team in the country at the time. In that game, graduate guard Sierra DaCosta and senior guard Lashonda Monk both led the team in points scored with 13 each.
Head coach Kim McNeill said Temple wanted the game more than ECU. She said Temple was a tough and hard-nosed team to matchup against.
“There’s not a lot of good I can say about our performance tonight,” McNeill said. “I’m extremely disappointed just in the way we played from the jump.”
Temple started out the game strong as they outscored the Pirates 18-14 in the first quarter. At the end of the first, freshman guard Jasha Clinton led the Owls in points scored with seven. In addition, she shot 60% from the field in the first quarter of play for Temple.
ECU would respond well in the second quarter, as they were able to take a 36-34 lead into the halftime break after they outscored Temple 22-16 in the quarter. Sophomore guard Taniyah Thompson led ECU in points scored at the half with 12 to go along with four rebounds. In the first half, the Pirates shot 50% from the three point line and made seven total. In addition, they outrebounded Temple 20-19 in the final quarter before halftime.
McNeill said the preparation for her team won’t change. She said the team has to get back to its defensive identity as it moves forward.
“We were too nice tonight,” McNeill said. “They were the aggressors and we were on our heels the whole night, even when we went on a run in the second quarter.”
Thompson said the team needed to regroup and stick to its style of play. She said although the loss was tough, the team needs to stay the course ahead for the remainder of the AAC schedule.
“We gotta get back to what we know best, which is defense,” Thompson said. “It’ll just come with hard work in practice, and we can’t dwell on this loss.”
At the end of the third quarter, Temple was able to gain the advantage and outscored ECU 15-12 in the third, which gave them a 49-48 lead heading into the final quarter of play. Junior forward Alexa Williamson led the Owls in points scored after the third quarter with 13 total. She had three rebounds and two blocks to go along with her statline.
Temple managed to stretch its lead by a larger margin and outscored ECU in the final quarter of play by a score of 17-9. Williamson and senior forward Mia Davis led the Owls in points scored with 19 and 17 respectively. As a team, Temple shot 41.7% from the field and they won the battle on the boards and out rebounded ECU 43-37.
With this win, Temple remains undefeated in conference play and currently sits at third in the AAC standings. For ECU, they are now fourth in the AAC rankings after the loss to Temple.
The Pirates will look to bounce back with a matchup against the University of Central Florida Golden Knights (5-1, 3-0 AAC) on Jan. 13 at Williams Arena in Greenville, North Carolina. The game is set to tip off at 6 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.