Temple's women's basketball team opened up its Big 5 campaign with a 54-46 win over Villanova yesterday at the Liacouras Center that was fueled by the hot hand of point guard Ashley Morris, who finished with 13 points.

Owls junior Shenita Landry scored a season-best 12 points, shooting 6-for-6 from the line. Senior Lady Comfort grabbed 13 boards, also a season high.

"We want to win the Big 5," said Temple coach Dawn Staley, whose team is 6-6 overall. "To do that, we are going to have to go after all of them."

The Wildcats (9-3) were led by junior Lisa Karcic and Duke University junior transfer Laura Kurz, who scored 14 points each. However, the loss marked Villanova's first in Big 5 play, as it dropped to 3-1.

The Owls' next Big 5 test comes Thursday, when they host Penn. The Wildcats will look to rebound when they visit Manhattan Sunday.

In another game:

* At Seton Hall, unable to earn a point for more than 10 minutes in the second half, Saint Joseph's fell, 59-42, despite leading by double figures in the first half and taking a 26-25 edge into intermission.

Senior guard Timisha Gomez led the way with 13 points, and sophomore guard Amy Gillespie added 10.

However, the Hawks came no closer than 55-42 in the waning minutes as a 17-0 Pirates run midway through the second was all it took to drop St. Joe's to 5-6.

The Hawks are off until Friday, when they play New Jersey Institute of Technology in the opener of the annual Hawk Classic. *