SALT LAKE CITY- After trailing by one, the 10th-seeded Temple Owls used a 10-0 run in the first half and never looked back in their 63-45 victory over No. 7 Arizona State in the first round of the Dayton Region of the Women’s NCAA Basketball Championship Saturday.
The Sun Devils (20-11) jumped to a 9-8 lead in the first nine minutes before the Owls (24-8) scored the 10 consecutive and took a 31-17 lead. Temple led 31-20 at the half and was soon up 48-27 midway through the second.
“The gravity of the game got to us,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “The last 10 minutes of the game, I could have been telling them, ‘hey, we can turn 20 points in two minutes,’ but we didn’t have the drive today. We’re a very close team; they’re like sisters, and we’re like dominos – either we’re all good or we’re not.
“I’m very proud of my team this year. Temple’s a good team; they don’t have that much of a margin for error.”
The Owls scored 18 points off turnovers, 14 second-chance points, and the bench outscored ASU 19-4.
Tonya Cardoza, the Temple coach who was named Atlantic-10 Conference Coach of the Year, said her team used a zone defense, which she doesn’t enjoy.
“It frustrated them, and it worked for us, so we played as much zone as possible today,” Cardoza said.
Sophomore center Victoria Macaulay led the Owls with 12 points and three blocks.
“I felt like I had to step up in this game,” Macaulay said. “My offense knew I was on a roll today, so they tried to get me the ball inside.”
All-conference junior guard Shey Peddy added 10 points, seven rebounds and six steals for the Owls.
“I just tried to be as aggressive as I could,” Peddy said. “We all had a lot of jitters, it being our first game, but after the first timeout, it was like ‘OK settle down and just play our game.’”
The Sun Devils shot just 26 percent in the first half and 31 percent for the game.
“Before the game, we were feeling really good, but when we got to the game, maybe we were rushing a bit,” said senior Becca Tobin, who scored 10 and grabbed eight boards for ASU.
Kimberly Brandon led ASU with 11 points, and Kristen McCarthy added 10 for the Owls.
In her final game, ASU senior guard Dymond Simon shot one-for-six from the floor and finished with five points.
“I knew what Temple was going to do – put pressure on me,” Simon said. “I didn’t have a great game, but it’s just the way it goes sometimes. We had let downs a lot in this game, but I wish it didn’t happen today in one of the biggest games of our lives.”
The game was a rematch of a first-round game from 2008, when the Sun Devils defeated the Owls, in what proved to be Dawn Staley’s final game behind the Temple bench.
ASU was making its 11th tournament appearance, while Temple was making its 10th and eighth consecutive. The Owls were third in the Atlantic 10 in defense, holding opponents to just under 60 points per game, while the Sun Devils’ offense was averaging around 60.
The Owls will face either No. 2 Notre Dame or No. 15 Utah in the second round at 6 p.m. PT Monday night.