The Owls started the fourth quarter against East Carolina with a nine-point lead.
The Pirates slowly chipped away at their deficit and regained the lead with just more than five minutes remaining. Temple kept within striking distance, tying the game three times in the last few minutes.
With six seconds left in the game, which freshman guard Desiree Oliver tied with 39 seconds left, senior guard Tanaya Atkinson was fouled. She made 1-of-2 attempts to give Temple the lead for good in its 65-64 win on Saturday in North Carolina. The Owls made a stop on the other end to solidify the win.
Temple (11-17, 3-12 the American Athletic Conference) earned a win in its final away game of the season. The win marked just the second for Temple, the last-place team in The American, in its past 14 games.
“I definitely think this game helps our confidence,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “Our next game is home for senior night, and it’s definitely helpful to have a win going into that.”
Atkinson recorded her 15th double-double of the season. She scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. With her final free throw, Atkinson made her 148th of the season to break the 27-year-old Temple record for free throws made in a single season.
Temple shot 39 percent from the field, just higher than East Carolina’s 37.7 percent. Other than Atkinson, the Owls had three players who scored in double digits. Freshman forward Mia Davis added 10 points and led the team in rebounds with 12 to record her fifth double-double of the season.
Freshman guard Emani Mayo and graduate guard Mykia Jones each contributed 10 points to Temple’s total.
“That’s when the team is at its best,” Cardoza said. “We’re good when we have multiple guys making shots and not just one. Those are the games we win because several different people are stepping up for us.”
Temple outrebounded the Pirates 47-41 and scored 16 second-chance points off 15 offensive rebounds. While Temple’s rebounding was successful, the Owls turned the ball over 23 times. East Carolina capitalized off Temple’s mistakes, scoring 18 points off turnovers.
“I thought a lot of guys stepped up, both on offense and defense,” Cardoza said. “Whether it was getting points, rebounds, whatever, I think it was a good team effort.”
The Owls are looking forward to their final game of the regular season on Monday, when they will recognize the team’s seniors. Temple will play Memphis, which is just above the Owls in conference standings.