Midway through the second quarter of Thursday’s game, junior guard Alliya Butts made her second 3-pointer of the afternoon. It was Butts’ 172nd career 3-pointer, which put her past former teammate and current team Director of Operations Tyonna Williams for most in program history.
Butts finished the game with game with 26 points to lead all scorers in the Owls’ 73-59 win against Fairfield University at McGonigle Hall. The 26 points moved her 14th in school history in career points, passing Donna Kennedy and Kelly Lane.
“I’m just here to play my game and do what I can to help the team,” Butts said. “And hopefully I can help the team to win more games and go out with a bang.”
A fourth quarter surge propelled the Owls to the victory. Temple outscored Fairfield 19-6 in the 10 ten minutes, including scoring the first eight points of the quarter.
The Owls have now won four straight games leading up to their first conference game on Jan. 1. Coach Tonya Cardoza earned her 172nd career win, tying her with Dawn Staley for the most in program history.
“All this record means is that I’ve had a lot of pretty good teams, and I’ve been surrounded by a great coaching staff,” Cardoza said.
In the first quarter Temple started slowly as it tried to figure out how to attack Fairfield’s 2-3 zone defense. Temple only had nine points and only shot 16.9 percent from the field in the first 10 minutes.
“I thought we really passive in the first quarter, not really looking to attack the zone,” Cardoza said. “But later on in the second half we did a really good job of attacking, and finding holes in the zone and then forcing the defense to collapse so we could hit our threes.”
In the second and third quarters, Temple scored 23 and 22 points respectively. The Owls hit buzzer beaters to take the lead at the end of both periods. A three from junior guard Khadijah Berger gave Temple its first lead of the game at halftime. A floater from senior center Safiya Martin gave Temple a lead at the end of the third quarter.
Senior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald and junior guard Tanaya Atkinson both finished with double-doubles. Fitzgerald finished with 12 points and 12 assists, while Atkinson added 14 points and 15 rebounds.
The game was the last home game of the year for the Owls, whose next home game will be a conference game on Jan. 8 against Tulane. Temple is a perfect 5-0 at home to start the season.
Kevin Schaeffer can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @_kevinschaeffer.