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Temple Athletics | December 16, 2016

Fitzgerald's 25 fuels Temple upset of No. 17 DePaul

  Feyonda Fitzgerald (2) had 25 points to lead a Temple upset over DePaul.

PHILADELPHIA — With a complete team effort, Temple upset No. 17 DePaul 84-74 at McGonigle Hall on Thursday night. The victory marked the team's first win over a ranked opponent since Feb. 6 when the Owls took down conference foe and No. 19 USF 68-66. It also sits as Temple's first victory against a ranked non-conference opponent since November 24, 2007 when the Owls upset No. 22 Purdue 61-47.

Temple improves to 6-3 on the season and a perfect 4-0 at home, while the Blue Demons drop to 6-4 on the year.

Temple's scoring efforts saw three players in double figures as senior Feyonda Fitzgerald paved the way with 25 points, three assists and four rebounds. Juniors Alliya Butts and Donnaizha Fountain joined Fitzgerald in double figures on the night. Butts finished the game with 20 points and six assists, while Fountain added a double-double in her second consecutive outing (13 points, 13 rebounds) with five assists.

As a team, Temple outrebounded DePaul 51-37. Seniors Ruth Sherrill (11 rebounds) and Safiya Martin (eight rebounds) helped lead the Owl effort on the glass, with Sherrill also adding eight points.

Juniors Khadijah Berger and Tanaya Atkinson put in great efforts off the bench. Berger added nine points, two assists, and two rebounds, while Atkinson added seven points and eight rebounds. Atkinson played 30 minutes in her first game back from injury.

Temple shot 40.9 percent from the floor and 44 percent from long distance. Both numbers topped DePaul as the Temple defense held the Blue Demons to just 12 percent from beyond the arc and 39 percent from the field.

In the first quarter, Temple started quickly, as Butts scored the first five points on the game to give the Owls a 5-0 lead. The teams went back and forth into the first media timeout with Temple keeping the edge 13-8. The Owls saw a large contributions out of Berger who hit two threes in a row. Butts followed with another three to extend her first quarter total to 10. Temple ended the quarter on a 9-5 run and leading 24-16. The Owls were also able to outrebound DePaul 16-8.

In the second, the Blue Demons had the hot hand and started on a 5-0 run until Martin added her first bucket of the contest. At the end of the half, the Blue Demons held the lead 35-34.

Butts led all scorers at the midway point with 13 points, adding three assists and a steal. Berger was perfect from long distance with nine points. The combination of Martin, Atkinson, and Sherrill had 17 first-half rebounds, with Martin leading the pack with seven.

Temple used a 14-5 run to open up the third quarter, with Sherrill scoring the Owls' first four points of the frame, the second of which gave the Owls the lead for good. Temple finished the quarter outscoring DePaul 21-15, to carry a five-point advantage (55-50) heading into the final stanza.

The Owls scored the first four points of the fourth, to open up a 59-50 lead, forcing the Blue Demons to call a timeout with 7:49 remaining. Despite the timeout, Temple didn't slow down. Fitzgerald drove the lane immediately following and converted the and-one opportunity. As the quarter hit the halfway mark, the Owls extended their lead to 66-55 with an 11-5 run. The drive was highlighted with five points from Fountain. Following another DePaul TO, Fitzgerald hit a 3-pointer to give the team a 14-point lead.

DePaul was able to close the gap slightly over the final minutes, using a furious full-court press to get the lead to just seven points at 79-72. However, Temple was rock solid from the free-throw line, going 9-of-9 in the final two minutes of play to seal the upset win.