Mike Jensen is a general assignment reporter for the Inquirer and Daily News. Among other assignments, he writes "Off Campus," a regular column on college sports for the Inquirer. A staff writer with the Inquirer since 1988, Jensen covered college basketball and football beats for 15 years, wrote about soccer from 10 countries on five continents, and was assigned to the Kentucky Derby the year of Smarty Jones. He won Eclipse Awards for his coverage of Smarty Jones and Barbaro.
Dawn Staley brought her defending NCAA champions, the South Carolina Gamecocks, to the Liacouras Center on Thursday night, Staley’s first time coaching on North Broad Street since she was in charge of the Owls. Her current team showed a lot of reasons why South Carolina won that national title, taking Temple out, 87-60.
At halftime, Temple great Candice Dupree, a six-time WNBA all-star and two-time world champion, had her Owls number retired. Dupree, who scored 1,698 points and was a two-time Big Five player of the year, talked before the game about how an Owls assistant coach used to have her touch her heart and point to the rafters before every game, that it took her a long time to figure out why he did that.
Dupree (2002-06), part of three conference title winners, is the second Temple women’s player to have her number hanging from those rafters, joining Marilyn Stephens (1980-84). The ceremony was scheduled for this game since Dupree played for Staley, who joined her for the ceremony.
South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson is a favorite for national player of the year. In the first minute, Temple (8-4) left the 6-foot-5 senior open outside and Wilson buried a three-pointer. By the end of the first quarter, Wilson had 10 points, Temple had 9 and the fourth-ranked Gamecocks (11-1) were up by 17. Before halftime, the margin had stretched to 44-16. Wilson finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 blocks.