First-quarter run helps women’s basketball beat Harvard

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Harvard University sophomore forward Jeannie Boehm scored the first points of the game, but that didn’t matter.

Temple scored the next 22 points.

“When you make those first couple of threes it changes your mindset, and not just for that one person but for the next guy,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “That’s just how we are, we feed off one another.”

The Owls (6-2) beat Harvard 86-64 Saturday afternoon at McGonigle Hall. Temple shot 45.5 percent from behind the arc and made 10 3-pointers against the Crimson.

Freshman guard Breanna Perry got the Owls’ hot shooting started with the first 3-pointer of the game. Senior guard Khadijah Berger followed that shot with a triple from the left wing.

Senior guard Tanaya Atkinson then made a 3-pointer to give Temple a 9-2 lead. By the three-minute, 26-second mark in the first quarter, Temple had built a 22-2 lead before junior guard Sydney Skinner made a layup for Harvard to make it an 18-point deficit.

During the 22-0 run the Owls went on to start the game, they forced Harvard to miss 10 3-pointers. Harvard shot 38 threes and only made eight of them Saturday.

“You got to make shots to go on a run like that, and we definitely did that,” Cardoza said. “I also think we did a good job of containing their shooters. It was a total team effort but again, defensively, I thought we did some really good things.”

Cardoza said the defensive scheme focused on Boehm and forcing Harvard’s perimeter players to make shots.

Boehm came into the game averaging 11.1 points per game. She was one of four Harvard starters who came into the game averaging double-figures in scoring. Sophomore guard Katie Benzan, junior guard Madeline Raster and senior guard Taylor Rooks all entered the game averaging more than 10 points per game.

“Jeannie is a post player, and we’re so small the way we start that we have to help off,” Cardoza said. “We just gambled and hoped that guys didn’t make shots but we did a good job, especially when [sophomore center] Shannen [Atkinson] came into the game, of protecting the paint and making them work for everything.”

Atkinson ended with a career-high four blocks. She also grabbed six rebounds and scored four points in 17 minutes.

Temple grabbed 56 rebounds to Harvard’s 31. The Owls’ rebounding total marked a season-high. Tanaya Atkinson had a game-high 11 rebounds and led all scorers with 27 points on 61.5 percent shooting. She recorded her seventh double-double of the season.

Temple has now won five of it’s past six games. The Owls will host Hampton University on Thursday in their next game.

“Stuff is just going well for me so it’s bringing me confidence,” Tanaya Atkinson said. “Even if I don’t score a point, I always make sure to tell my teammates to get back, play defense, box out and do all the little things. I just try to do the best I can do every time out and make sure I’m doing every and anything to help my teammates out.”

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