PHILADELPHIA (Hagan Arena) – It was the perfect time to snap a losing streak for Temple women’s basketball, as the Owls stayed alive in the 2013 Buick Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship with a 52-45 win over seventh-seeded Xavier (13-16). The 10th-seeded Owls got a double-double from Victoria Macaulay in the win, her 12th of the season.
Temple will face second-seeded Charlotte in the quarterfinals at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 9. The first three rounds of the tournament are all being held at Saint Joseph’s Hagan Arena.
Macaulay scored 12 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, while also dishing three assists and blocking three shots. Rateska Brown scored 14 points to lead all players, and hit four three-pointers. She also tied her career high with six steals.
Natasha Thames was Temple’s third scorer in double figures, getting 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. She added eight boards and three steals, helping the Owls get 14 total steals to tie their season high.
“That was a great way to start the postseason,” said head coach Tonya Cardoza. “After the game our players asked if we were surprised or shocked, and I said ‘yes.’ We knew that we had this in us, and we picked the right time to do it and hopefully we can continue. This was a great win for us and definitely a confidence-booster. Last time we played these guys, we had a lead and we let it slip away, and today we made sure that we didn’t do that.”
The Owls had lost five straight coming into the game, the second of those losses coming at the hands of Xavier on Feb. 20. This time they got the edge in nearly every category, committing fewer turnovers and out-rebounding the Musketeers 38-30.
Xavier hit five of its first eight attempts from the field, jumping out to a 12-3 advantage as the Owls got just a single trey from Sally Kabengano in the first four minutes.
After hitting just 1-of-8 to start the game, Temple got hot in a hurry and hit five of its next seven on a 14-0 run. Brown hit two treys in the run while Thames also scored six points, including the final bucket which put the Owls up 17-12 at 11:06.
The Musketeers came within two a few minutes later, but Temple held the lead for the rest of the half. Macaulay hit the final two buckets in a 9-0 run that gave the Owls their largest lead of 11, 28-17 with 1:29 left. Xavier hit a three-pointer before the break for the last bucket of the half, and Temple led 28-20 at halftime.
Brown had nine first-half points to lead all players, including 3-of-6 behind the arc. Thames scored eight on 3-of-4 shooting from the field, while also grabbing six boards.
Xavier cut its deficit to three points early in the first half, but Temple responded with a 12-0 to lead by 15, 40-25 at 13:02. The Owls’ aggressive play on defense led to two fastbreak layups during the run, and kept the Musketeers from getting anything going inside.
Brown’s fourth trey of the game at the midway point of the second half put the Owls ahead by 15 for a second time, and Tyonna Williams followed with another three-pointer for Temple’s largest lead of 18.
The Owls still led by 16 with five minutes remaining, but a 7-0 run for Xavier put the margin back in single digits near the two-minute mark. The Musketeers never came within fewer than nine until the final second of the game on a layup from Briana Glover.
Ashley Wanninger led Xavier with 13 points and Amber Gray scored 11.