Temple coach Dawn Staley started her four seniors in Saturday’s game against Massachusetts, knowing the group has combined to go 95-31 over their four years with the Owls.
Point guard Ashley Morris, guard Candice Borrows, forward Nicole Pittman, and center Lady Comfort extended that record to 96 wins with a 64-46 victory over visiting Massachusetts (13-6, 5-9 Atlantic Ten Conference) Saturday at the Liacouras Center. With the win, Temple (19-11, 12-2) finished atop the conference and will enter next weekend’s A-10 Tournament as a No. 1 seed.
Comfort led the seniors, scoring 12 points to go along with three blocks and 13 rebounds. She tops the team in rebounding this season, pulling down 8.2 boards per game.
And despite scoring only eight points, down from her team-leading season average of 15.3, Morris dished out a game-high 11 assists.
“I don’t what was wrong with me today, actually,” Morris said. “Coach said I was kind of pressed. I was really just trying to distribute the ball today. I knew that I wasn’t hitting shots.”
Morris’s lack of scoring opened the door for sophomore guard LaKeisha Eaddy, who notched a game-high 16 points. She was the only non-senior to start the game.
“It just shows that coach has a lot of faith in me by allowing me to be the only one on the floor with the seniors,” Eaddy said. “They know the system and they know how coach wants to play. They let us [underclassmen] know what we need to do to be mentally and physically prepared.”
Comfort and Morris said they hope they can continue to pass on that knowledge for the rest of the season.
“We just try to be disciplined and do all the little things we can [for the underclassmen],” Morris said. “I’m sure there’s been several times when all four of us seniors wanted to leave or transfer, but we’ve kept each other here and we’ve held each other up.”
The Owls will need senior leadership as they head into the A-10 Tournament at Saint Joseph’s Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. As a No. 1 seed, the Owls receive a bye in the first round and will play either Richmond or Duquesne in the quarterfinals.
At the tournament, Morris, Borrows, Pittman, and Comfort will look to extend another streak.
In their four years at Temple, they’ve won two A-10 titles and made three straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
HOME SWEET HOME
With today’s victory over UMass, Temple ended the season with a 12-2 record at home. During coach Dawn Staley’s tenure at Temple, the Owls have never finished below .500 at the Liacouras Center. On the opposite side, UMass didn’t fair as well on the road this season. The Minutewomen finished 2-13 away from home.
Jennifer Reardon can be reached at email@example.com