With a 1:24 left in Temple’s 100-59 win Saturday against Delaware State, sophomore guard Alliya Butts stole the ball and ran up the middle of the court.
As two Hornet defenders closed in, Butts cut to the outside and stood in front of Temple’s bench on the left side of the court.
Butts, who finished the game with 17 points, dished the ball to sophomore guard Khadijah Berger, who drained a 3-pointer to give the Owls (6-4) a 98-57 lead with 1:17 remaining in the game.
“Towards the end my confidence started boosting up,” Berger said. “I started getting steels and you know I just wanted to finish the game strong.”
The basket surpassed Temple’s season-high of 97 points, which the squad scored against the University of Florida Nov. 13.
It was the third time the Owls have scored more than 90 points in a game this season. Last season, the Owls did not score 90 or more points in their 37 games.
It was also the first time Temple scored 100 or more point since 1994, when the team totaled 102 in a win against Rutgers University.
The Owls held Delaware State’s Mikah Aldridge, the team’s leading scorer, to 10 points. As a team, the Hornets shot 36 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point range in the game. Temple also forced 24 turnovers and grabbed 19 more rebounds than Delaware State.
“First thing first, we were boxing out and getting offensive rebounds,” Berger said. “[Coach Cardoza] always says we need to out jump everybody, and we need to learn how to box out and go grab it.”
After Delaware State trailed 53-25 at the half, the Hornets totaled 25 points in the third quarter, shooting 44 percent from the field. The Hornets turned the ball over three times, their lowest total in the game’s four quarters.
Temple shot 39 percent from the field in the third quarter while turning the ball over three times.
“We didn’t like how the third quarter looked,” Berger said. “We wanted to turn it around and show coach we could do all the little things like boxing out, crash and help one another out.”
Heading into the fourth quarter with a 75-50 lead, Berger earned two of her three steals, collecting five points to finish the night with 11. Sophomore guard Tanaya Atkinson scored 10 points in the final quarter, finishing the night with a team-high 24 points.
The Owls have started five guards in their last five games: Butts, Atkinson, senior guard Erica Covile, junior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald and sophomore guard Donnaizha Fountain.
“When we do play the five guards, our mentality is we really have to buckle down and defend and really be aggressive,” Cardoza said. “Because of that, we are getting a lot of steals and not letting them take advantage of us inside.”
Fitzgerald, who leads the Owls this season with 179 total points, scored 10 points as Butts, Covile, Atkinson, Fountain and Berger all finished with double digits in points scored.
Centers Ugo Nwaigwe, Safiya Martin, Taylor Robinson and forward Monasia Bolduc played a combined 34 minutes, producing eight points.
“Honestly, right now it’s working, and I’m sure throughout the season we will not be able to do that,” Cardoza said. “Right now it is not broke. We are not trying to change anything up right now.”
Connor Northrup can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org