PHILADELPHIA - Backed by a career-high 21 points and 13 assists by junior guard Natasha Cloud, the Saint Joseph's women's basketball team topped Big 5 rival Temple, 73-53, Wednesday evening at McGonigle Hall. The Hawks improved to 7-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big 5 with the win.
Up 34-32 to start the second half, the Owls (4-2, 1-1 Big 5) would tie the game at 36-36, but Saint Joseph's would grab momentum from there. Spearheaded by three-pointer by Erin Shields, the Hawks used a 12-2 run to open a 48-38 lead with 12:50 to go on a baseline jumper by senior Kelsey Berger at 12:50.
Temple would cut the Hawks' lead to six, 51-45, midway through the half, but Saint Joseph's would pull away from the Owls from that point. Led by five points from Cloud, the Hawks went on a 13-1 run over three minute span to make it a 66-48 contest.
Saint Joseph's allowed Temple to get no closer than 16 points from there as won on the road against the Owls for the first time since a 49-47 win on January 26, 2003.
In the first half, the Hawks gained control quickly, running out to a 17-5 lead on a three-pointer by Shields at 12:05. Saint Joseph's would push its lead to 14, 26-12, on a jumper by Ciara Andrews with just over eight minutes to play in the stanza.
Temple fought back behind a 19-2 run to take a 31-28 lead on a free throw by Monaye Merritt at 2:03 as the Owls caused six turnovers and held the Hawks to 1-of-6 from the field over a five minute span.
A layup by Jessica Pongonis at 1:31 broke SJU's scoring drought and spearheaded a 6-1 spurt to end the half as the Hawks took a 34-32 edge into the second period.
For the game, the Hawks shot 44.2 percent from the floor (23-of-52), 58.3 percent from three-point range (7-of-12) and hit 20-of-23 from the foul line (87 percent).
Individually, Cloud was 5-of-10 from the floor, including 2-for-3 from behind the arc, and hit 9-of-10 free throws to surpass her previous career-high of 19 points from a season ago at Penn. Additionally, Cloud's 13 assists matched her career-high set this past Sunday at Quinnipiac.
Joining Cloud in double figures were senior Ilze Gotfrida with 12 points and seven rebounds Andrews with 10 points and Shields with 11points. Sophomore forward Sarah Fairbanks added a team-best nine rebounds to go with nine points and a pair of blocked shots.
At the other end, Temple shot 30 percent overall (18-of-60), but hit just 2-of-14 from three-point range (14.3 percent) and 15-of-25 from the foul line (60 percent). Natasha Thames' 19 points led two Owls in double figures.
The Hawks return to action this Saturday at Villanova at 2 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Today's win was the second-straight for SJU over Temple and the first back-to-back win over the Owls since the 2002-03 season...The Hawks were outrebounded 44-35, but caused 19 turnovers...Berger finished with eight points and a blocked shot...Pongonis added two points and two rebounds...Freshman Lisanne de Jonge added two rebounds, an assist, a steal and a blocked shot...Freshmen Geena Gomez and Kathleen Fitzpatrick played three minutes and two minutes, respectively...The Hawks have won six straight...Cloud's 13 assists are tied for sixth most in a single game.