Andeija Puckett vs. Owls

UC forward Andeija Puckett looks to shoot Wednesday, Jan. 16, against the Temple University Owls.

After suffering two tough loses on the road, the University of Cincinnati women’s basketball team returned to Fifth Third Arena to defeat the Temple University Owls 72-52 Wednesday evening.

UC improved to 10-7, 2-2 in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), while Temple fell to 4-12, 0-4 AAC.

The Bearcats went on a 11-0 run to end the third quarter and take a 48-45 lead, ending the game on a 34-7 run.

“It was a great team win,” first-year head coach Michelle Clark-Heard said. “[I’m] really proud, and it was great to come out in the second-half and play the way we did. We needed that.”

The Bearcats were led by sophomore forward Iimar’I Thomas, who contributed her fourth double-double of the season with game-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds.

Junior guard Antoinette Miller also posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists.

“I give a lot of the credit to our bench,” Clark-Heard said. “They stepped up big time for us. I’Liyah Green was huge — got a lot of blocks and was ready when her number was called. Andeija Puckett did an amazing job in the second-half. I’m just really proud. Antoinette [Miller] had 10 assists, and Iimar’I did what she does. When we play like that and play together, we can be a really, really good team.”

Sophomore center Andeija Puckett had arguably her best collegiate performance off the bench, finishing with a career-high 15 points to go along with eight rebounds.

“I just try to get better at practice and learn new things and trust the process with the coaches and my team,” Puckett said. “It’s a learning experience, and we’re getting better … by taking it a day at a time.”

Behind Puckett and Thomas, the Bearcats outrebounded the Owls by a 49-38 margin.

The Bearcats return to action Saturday, Jan. 19, on the road at the 9-8 University of Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.

“Not an easy trip at all,” Clark-Heard said. “[Tulsa] is playing very well. [Coach] Matilda [Mossman] is doing an awesome job with just getting them to play hard. They’re going inside-out and being able to get up and down the floor and scoring. So, we’ve got a lot of focus that we make sure we turn our attention too.”

The next chance to catch the women’s basketball team at Fifth Third Arena is Wednesday, Jan. 23, against the University of Houston Cougars. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Managing Editor

Matt Huffmon has been with The News Record since 2018 as staff reporter, sports editor, and managing editor. He has bylines with The Plain Dealer/cleveland.com, and this summer, he will be a communications intern with Kentucky Speedway.