Basketball journalist Hannah Robbins discusses the Golden Hurricane’s struggle to break their three-game losing streak as they failed to capitalize on an early lead.
The Golden Hurricane’s hope of breaking their three-game losing streak were dashed on Tuesday evening. After a strong start where Tulsa matched and even led against the Temple Owls, Tulsa faltered after the half and watched their lead dwindle into a deficit. The Golden Hurricane had no response to the 34 points Alliya Butts put up or the 25 scored by Mia Davis. Tulsa’s highest scorer, Madi Bittle, had only 15 points.
Tulsa started strong after Desiree Lewis got the tip, handing it off to Crystal Polk whose jumper put the Golden Hurricane on the board. The Owls responded with two three-pointers in quick succession, but then stagnated. The teams kept within four points of each other for the first five minutes, but with Bittle’s first three of the game, Tulsa started to widen their lead.
Butts began to hit her stride soon afterward. Her jumper with three minutes left in the first quarter took the lead from Tulsa’s hands. Bittle hit another three to put Tulsa on top, and going into the second quarter, it looked good for the Golden Hurricane; they were up by three and had the momentum to keep it going.
Two quick three-pointers by Bittle and Morgan Brady and a pair of free throws by Lewis had the Golden Hurricane up by nine three minutes into the second quarter. Another three by Bittle with four left in the half had Tulsa up by a game-high 13 points. The Golden Hurricane started to fizzle soon afterward. The Owls hit four unanswered twos to end the half only down by five.
Tulsa was unable to recover once they lost that momentum. They returned from the locker room with a lack of motivation and started to slide once the Owls started the half. When Butts tied it up with a three-pointer a minute into the half, it became a losing battle. The Golden Hurricane went five for 17 on the court in the third, unable to respond to the Owls, who went 11 for 16.
For the first half of the third quarter, Tulsa still seemed to have a chance. The Owls were in control, but Tulsa could respond in kind, keeping the lead below four. After a layup by Lewis and a three-pointer by Bittle, the Golden Hurricane was even able to snag a one-point lead with three left in the third, but that did not last. A three by Butts took away Tulsa’s last lead of the game and left control squarely in Temple’s corner. The Owls ended the quarter with three unanswered shots, leaving them up by seven to start the fourth quarter.
Tulsa struggled in the fourth quarter, scoring a mere five points to Temple’s 19 as Butts and Davis combined for 17. Temple ran out the clock as Tulsa fell apart, missing two-thirds of their shots and half of their free throws. Lewis and Alexis Gaulden tried to put anything on the board with minutes left but had to watch Temple run away with a 75-61 win.