WASHINGTON. D.C.—Facing a 17-point deficit early in the second half, the Howard University women’s basketball team ignited a 23-5 run over 11 minutes of action to secure a 61-58 victory over the Lady Owls of Philadelphia’s Temple University on Jan. 4 in Burr Gymnasium on the HU campus.
In the first half Howard and Temple played to six ties and 10 lead changes, neither side gaining more than an eight-point advantage. Temple’s eight-point lead came in the final seconds of the first half when sophomore guard Tyonna Williams hit a three-point basket.
By the half, the HU scoring phenomenon senior guard Saadia Doyle had scored 13 of the team’s total 28 points. Temple at the half boasted two student-athletes in double figures. Redshirt junior forward Natasha Thames with 13 points and a perfect 5-of-5 from the field, and Williams with 10 points.
The Lady Owls built on that momentum in the second half, opening with a 15-4 run to establish a 17-point margin at the 13:28 mark of the period.
In spite of the double-figure deficit, Howard staged a 22-5 run to tie the contest at 56 points each and leave Temple scoreless from the field for 10 minutes and 11 seconds of action by the 3:17 mark.
Howard took the lead at the 2:28 mark on two free throws by Doyle and closed out the contest 61-58 despite going 4-of-3 from the free-throw line in last minutes of the game.
Doyle, who was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Pre-Season Player of the Year in November, scored a season-best 32 points, while pulling down nine rebounds and going 11-12 from the charity stripe, 10-of-19 from the field and 1-of-1 from behind the arc. Fellow senior guards Cheyenne Curley-Payne and Kara Smith, who consistently play a part in the offense mix, supplemented the winning effort; Curley-Payne put in a team-high 10 points and grabbed four steals, as Smith finished with 11 points on the night.
The collective effort consisted of a 41 percent outing from the field, a 36 percent effort from the long range and an 80 percent finish from the free-throw line, which is the best free-throw performance on the season.
The comeback effort advanced Howard to 6-6 overall, 4-0 at home and 5-6 in non-conference competition.
Temple drops to 5-8 on the season, while extending its losing streak to six losses.
Howard will next face Coppin State University on Jan. 7 at 6:00 p.m. in Baltimore.