Colonials Fall in A-10 Title Game, 70-62
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GW (22-8) rallied from 16 points down in the second half, but couldn't overtake #16/16 Temple (27-3) as the Owls clinched their third A-10 title in four years with a 70-62 victory over the Colonials in front of 2,319 fans at the Smith Center on Monday, March 7. The loss ended GW's 22-game home-court winning streak, which had ranked third in the nation.
The Colonials trailed by 16 points three times in the second half, including facing a 49-33 deficit with 10:25 to go in the game then went on a 19-7 scoring spree to pull within four, 56-52, at the 2:43 mark. Senior Jessica Simmonds 14 of GW's 19 points during the stretch and finished the game with 22, including 18 in the second half. A basket Candice Dupree extended Temple's margin to six, 58-52, and the Owls hit 12 of its 14 free-throw attempts in the final 1:24 to seal the win.
It was GW's first loss at the Smith Center since losing to Saint Joseph's, 64-62, on Jan. 10, 2004.
Senior All-America candidate Anna Montañana notched a game-high 26 points versus Temple, pulled down eight rebounds, and was selected to the A-10 All-Tournament Team. She has 518 points this season and ranks ninth on GW's single-season points chart. Freshman Kimberly Beck moved into fifth on the Colonials' single-season assists ledger (159), with seven in the title tilt, but was held without a point for the first time in her career. Sophomore Whitney Allen grabbed a career-best 12 boards in the contest and Simmonds joined Montañana as a member of the all-tournament squad.
The victory extended Temple's winning streak to 24 games, the longest in the country, and the Owls secured the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship.
Dupree, the championship's Most Outstanding Player, led the Owls with 21 points and was one of five Temple players to score in double figures. Kamesha Hairston chipped in 11 points and completed the double-double with 10 boards. Ari Moore tallied 14 points in the win.
The Colonials fell behind 19-9 at the 7:46 mark of the first half. Nine straight points brought GW within one, 19-18, before a free throw by Khadija Bowens at 4:04 snapped Temple's scoring drought. The Owls ended the half on a 9-4 scoring run to take a 28-22 margin at the half. They reeled off five more points to start the second frame and led 37-26 with 15:43 left.
The Owls hit 24 of their 50 field goal tries (.480), while GW shot (.393, 24-61). Temple also held the edge in free-throws, making 18-of-28 (.643), while the Colonials made 11 of their 16 attempts from the foul line (.688).
GW will learn its postseason fate on Sunday, March 13 when the NCAA announces this year's 64-team field for the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship on ESPN at 5:00.