As the Owls led by 15 points with less than four minutes left, graduate student guard Alliya Butts wanted to hold the ball and drain the clock.
Carrying the ball up the court, sophomore guard Desiree Oliver didn’t pick up on Butts’ cue and rushed a pass to sophomore guard Emani Mayo under the basket. Butts threw her hands up in frustration and confusion.
Temple University women’s basketball made several fourth-quarter mistakes against Delaware State University, yet the team prevailed in its 75-61 win Tuesday night at McGonigle Hall.
“Our brains just got fried in that fourth quarter,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “We just started shutting down and making a lot of careless mistakes. We made it a lot closer than it needed to be, but I’m happy that the outcome was us getting a victory.”
The Owls led by 23 points at the start of the fourth quarter, but they allowed a 9-0 Delaware State run in the first three minutes, 55 seconds. The Hornets outscored the Owls 18-9 in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re a little more solid in the fourth quarter and not allow a team to outscore us in the fourth quarter,” Cardoza said.
The Owls, led by sophomore forward Mia Davis, outscored the Hornets in the first three quarters. Davis recorded her sixth career double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, both of which were team-highs. She made seven of her eight free throw attempts.
Butts was second on the team in scoring with 18 points. Tuesday was Butts’s first regular-season game since February 2017 after missing last season with an ACL injury. In her first regular-season game in more than a year, the point guard picked up where she left off. Butts, who has made the most 3-point shots in Temple history, shot 4-for-9 from behind the arc.
“It felt good to be back out there and just be in that environment,” Butts said. “I’ve been working on getting my shot back and just being consistent and just trying to make shots for my team.”
Butts recorded a team-high four steals and five assists. She played nearly 33 minutes despite not being fully recovered from her injury. Only Davis and Mayo recorded more minutes.
Mayo was the only other Owl to score a 3-point shot, making both of her attempts. Temple shot 30 percent from 3-point range and made 26 of its 68 shots for a 41.2 field goal percentage. The Owls held the Hornets to a 34.3 field goal percentage.
“I felt like there were times that we did a good job of running our offense,” Cardoza said. “There were some times that we missed an easy shot, but I liked the execution of some of the things that we ran.”
With 18 seconds left in the first half, freshman guard Marissa Mackins collided with Hornets junior forward Alycea Sharpe and fell to the ground in pain, grabbing her left leg. She did not return to the game and sat on the bench for the second half with her left knee and leg wrapped. Mackins was on crutches after the game. Cardoza declined to comment on her injury.
Freshman forward Alexa Williamson was the only other freshman to see action. Williamson played nearly 20 minutes, scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds in her college debut. Cardoza said the forward did not play as many minutes as she would have liked because of Delaware State’s guard-heavy offense.
Temple’s next game is against Saint Joseph’s on Friday. The game starts the Owls’ six-game, month-long road trip. The Owls do not play another home game until Dec. 6 against Iona College.
“Having [only] three home games in the nonconference isn’t any coach’s dream, but it will definitely test us,” Cardoza said. “Being able to play a bunch of different types of teams on the road, I think it will just prepare us for the long run.”