Villanova's women's basketball team has turned things around since finishing 8-21 last season. Laura Kurz is a big reason for the upswing.

The junior transfer scored 22 points last night as the Wildcats rolled to a 71-47 Big Five victory over St. Joseph's at the Pavilion.

The former Germantown Academy star, who spent two seasons at Duke, hit all eight of her shots in the first half as Villanova (7-1, 3-0 Big Five) rolled to a 46-26 lead at the break. That was enough to subdue the Hawks (5-3, 1-1).

Kurz knew it was her night when she connected on a wild bank attempt at the end of that shooting streak.

"I can't believe that went in," she said with a smile. "It's a good thing it went in or would have taken me out for taking that shot."

Kurz has scored 20 or more points in four of her last five games as the Wildcats have won six straight.

However, their next Big Five game will be a tougher test. Temple, which has won three straight titles, will host Villanova on Dec. 21 in the Owls' first City Series game of the season.

Junior Lisa Karcic also starred for the Wildcats with 19 points, seven assists and four blocked shots. She also had three steals. Maria Getty added 14 points.

The Hawks, who got 13 points from Amy Gillespie and 12 from Sarah Acker, were forced to play without leading scorer Timisha Gomez, who suffered a concussion in a game Sunday at Brown. Sophomore Brittany Ford continues to recover from minor knee surgery in the preseason.

"It's hard to say how good we are when they don't have all their players," Perretta said.

"The game plan is to not let them shoot threes," Hawks coach Cindy Griffin said. "Kurz came out like gangbusters, and we just never recovered from it. And we're without our leading scorer. What are you going to do? You do the best you can, but once you get down against Villanova, it's tough to get back."

Temple 74, Kent State 34 -

Candice Borrows' 12 points led four Owls (4-5) in double figures in the win over the Flashes (1-6) at the Liacouras Center. Shanea Cotton had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Temple.

Lafayette 71, Penn 56 -

The Quakers (3-6) got 20 points from Carrie Biemer but fell to the visiting Leopards (6-3).

In the top 25

Notre Dame 86, Bowling Green 84 -

Charel Allen's jumper with one second left in overtime gave the No. 16 Irish the nod over the Green Falcons in Bowling Green, Ohio.

After Bowling Green's Kate Achter made two free throws to tie it at 84-84 with 27 seconds remaining, Allen drove the ball down the court and took it the top of the foul line, where she hit a 15-foot jumper for the win.

Allen and Lindsay Schrader scored 17 points apiece to lead Notre Dame (7-1), which has won five straight. Devereaux Peters added 14 points, Brittany Mallory had 12 and Ashley Barlow 10.

Achter led Bowling Green (6-1) with 20 points. Lauren Prochaska scored 18, Crystal Murdaugh had 14 and Tara Breske 10.

Tennessee 83, Old Dominion 51 -

Angie Bjorklund scored 19 points and Candace Parker added 14 as the top-ranked Vols Tennessee beat the No. 24 Monarchs on Knoxville, Tenn.

Nicky Anosicke added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Vols (7-0).

Tiffany Green scored 14 points to lead Old Dominion (6-3), which played without leading scorer T.J. Jordan.

Connecticut 75, Virginia 45 -

Tina Charles scored 18 points and Brittany Hunter added 14 as the second-ranked Huskies beat the Cavaliers in Hartford, Conn.

Charles was 8 for 9 from the field and Hunter was 7 for 9 for UConn (7-0), which dominated the Cavaliers (6-4) in the post.

It was Hunter's best offensive performance since she scored 20 as a freshman for Duke in 2003. She transferred to UConn after that season, had surgery in 2004 to replace the lateral meniscus in her right knee, and had been battling soreness and swelling ever since.

Maryland 74, Middle Tennessee 69 -

Kristi Toliver scored 19 and started a late 11-0 run to help the third-ranked Terps hold off the Blue Raiders in College Park, Md.

Maryland (11-1), which suffered its first loss of the season Monday at Rutgers, was unable to pull away from a Blue Raiders team that had lost consecutive games to Southern Conference opponents.

After Amber Holt banked in a jumper with five minutes remaining, Middle Tennessee (3-4) led, 61-60, but Maryland went on an 11-0 run, sparked by seven points from Toliver, to take a 72-62 lead.

Auburn 99, Colgate 47 -

Freshman Ruth Ketcham scored 26 points to lead the No. 14 Tigers to a win over the Red Raiders (1-8) in Auburn, Ala.

Contact staff writer Mel Greenberg at 215-854-5725 or mgreenberg@phillynews.com. Read his blog at go.philly.com/womhoops.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.