The Temple Owls women’s basketball team closed out their regular season Monday with a victory over the Golden Knights of UCF.
The win improves Temple to an overall record of 23-6, and it also improves the Owls to 13-3 in conference play. The victory also helps the Owls clinch the second seed in the AAC tournament. It is the highest seed the Owls have ever held in the tournament since the conference was created back in 2013.
Temple was lead by junior Tanaya Atkinson, who led all scorers with 21 points and nine rebounds. The Owls also had solid efforts from junior Aaliyah Butts who notched 20 points and seven steals, and Senior Feyonda Fitzgerald who produced 19 points and nine assist.
After UCF would take a 4-3 lead early, Temple would outscore UCF 19-4 in the first quarter to put the score at 22-8. The Owls during that run would shoot 56% from the field, and did not commit a turnover.
UCF would climb back in the second half, as the Golden Knights would cut the lead to six within the first five minutes of the second half. The last five minutes of the second half would see Temple push the lead back up to nine thanks three point baskets from Aaliyah Butts, and Feyonda Fitzgerald. Butts would end off the period with a buzzer beater that would push the lead to 31-22.
Temple would jump out to an 8-2 run early in the third quarter to push the lead to 14, before UCF would counter with a 9-2 run to cut the lead to just seven. Temple would then respond again with an 8-0 surge that would put the score at 53-38 at the the end of the third.
In the final frame, UCF would go on its largest run yet as the Golden Knights would hit a 17-5 run to cut the Temple lead to just three. The surge would fall short of helping UCF to a victory when Temple’s Aaliyah Butts would score an “and-one” to push the lead to six. The Owls would go on to clinch the victory after Butts would also chime in on two big defensive stops down the stretch to seal the deal.
Temple will be heading to the American Athletic Conference Tournament this weekend in Connecticut, and will play the winner between the Houston/Cincinnati game.