UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Tanaya Atkinson and Emani Mayo combined for 44 points, as No. 11-seeded Temple defeated No. 6-seeded Wichita State 72-59 in the opening game of the 2018 Aaron’s American Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championship Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Temple (12-18), which had dropped six of its last seven games entering the tournament, advances to the quarterfinal round for the second straight season, where the Owls will face No. 3-seeded UCF Sunday at noon ET on ESPN3.
Wichita State, which rode a four-game winning streak into the tournament, saw its first season in the American Athletic Conference end with a 14-17 record.
?Temple head coach Tonya Cardoza collected her 200th career win, as the Owls shot 47 percent from the field.
Atkinson, who was named a first-team all-conference selection Friday, led all scorers with 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting to go with seven rebounds. Mayo, poured in 20 points with six assists and six rebounds in her first career postseason game.
Temple held Wichita State to shooting 29 percent from the floor in the opening quarter, as Mykia Jones drained a 3-pointer in the final 21 seconds to give her side a 15-11 edge at the first intermission. The Owls carried the momentum into the second period, using a 13-7 run to expand out to a 10-point lead.
However, the Shockers went on a 10-0 run of their own, fueled by two field goals from Cesaria Ambrosio to tie the game at 28-28. Temple then scored six straight in the final minute with Atkinson driving through traffic for a layup in the final seconds of the first half, as the Owls led 34-28 at the break.
Temple refused to look back from there, as Mia Davis scored in the paint with 28 seconds left in the third quarter to give the Owls a comfortable 58-47 advantage. Temple pulled away in the final frame and led by as many as 15 to capture the first-round victory.
Rangie Bessard ended the game with 23 points for the Shockers and was the only Wichita State player to hit for double figures.
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