It took until the midway point of the second quarter, but the disparity in experience between visiting Blinn and Temple College eventually emerged Wednesday night as the Lady Buccaneers built a lead during the middle periods that the youthful Lady Leopards couldn’t overcome.
But not by all that much when it was done.
Blinn led by as many as 27 points and had a comfortable enough advantage to come away with a 70-61 non-conference victory in Temple College’s home opener despite the Lady Leopards’ 30-point fourth quarter.
“We had a decent first quarter, but offensively we were horrible in the second and third quarters,” said Temple College coach Kim Sebek, whose team dipped to 1-2. “But we had a 30-point fourth quarter which leads me to believe we can do better things over the course of a game.”
Beginning the second half down 34-24, things didn’t get any better for the Lady Leopards in the third quarter. TC made only one field goal during the 10-minute span — a driving layup by Amanda Ferry — and was just 5-of-12 from the free throw line while struggling with turnovers.
The Lady Leopards coughed up the ball 27 times overall, hindering efforts to stick with and catch up to the Lady Buccaneers, who carried a 57-31 advantage into the fourth.
TC made the game interesting and entertaining in the fourth by heating up offensively. The Lady Buccaneers’ lead was still well out of reach, but the Lady Leopards covered a lot ground in outscoring Blinn 30-13.
Freshman Jordyn Carter scored eight of her game-high 15 points in the final frame and had ample help with a pair of 3-pointers from Brooke Lopez — one of just two sophomores on the 13-player roster — and points from Kassadie Sanders, Tiana Gardner, Jawain Caston and Kennedy Youngblood. Lopez finished with 11 points.
“With a team like this you are going to expect to have variations in how you play,” Sebek said. “We took those to extremes. We did turn the tide of momentum.”
It was TC that got off to a hot albeit short-lived start to force the issue early. The Lady Leopards came out of the gate with an 8-2 start in the first 2 minutes with two buckets from Starr Jones, plus one apiece by Carter and Gardner.
TC, however, didn’t convert another field goal until Elaina Tate connected in the final minute and the Lady Buccaneers took a 16-15 lead by quarter’s end. They expanded on that for the 10-point halftime margin.
“You have to give Blinn credit,” Sebek said. “They played great defense and forced a lot of our turnovers and bad shots. I just thought we were trying to get too fancy at times. If we don’t score we’ve got to learn how to stop them.”
The balanced Lady Buccaneers offense was led by Kristine Ezimako and Gabriela Bosquez with 13 points apiece, followed by Alanna Spencer with 12.
TC hosts its tournament this weekend by taking on Killeen Force at 5 p.m. Friday and San Antonio College at 2 p.m. Saturday before another home game at 5:30 p.m. Monday against Panola.
Despite the loss, the Lady Leopards have reason for optimism going into that trio of games.
“I saw some fun things in that fourth quarter,” Sebek said. “We can build off of that with this youthful team over the next games.”