Women's Basketball Loses an OT Heartbreaker to #5/5 Xavier in A-10 Championship

Women's Basketball Loses an OT Heartbreaker to #5/5 Xavier in A-10 Championship

Box Score (PDF)
Postgame press conference (video)

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – In heartbreaking fashion, the Temple women's basketball team lost to #5/5 Xavier (27-3) in overtime in the Atlantic 10 Championship game, 57-55. The Owls (24-8) came back from a 12-point halftime deficit, battling throughout the second half and overtime.

The emotional loss came after an emotional win the night before, a game in which third-seeded Temple defeated second-seeded Dayton in overtime of the semifinals. The Owls are projected to earn a NCAA Tournament at-large berth, and will await that decision for one week. The NCAA Women's Selection Show will air on Monday, March 15 at 7:00 p.m.

“Our guys left everything out there on the floor,” said Temple head coach Tonya Cardoza. “They played with passion, with fire, and they took their time when we were down. They deserved to win. Xavier is an extremely tough team, and we showed a lot of heart and character in how we fought against them.”

Kristen McCarthy scored 17 points while LaKeisha Eaddy added 11 including three treys, and both were named to the A-10 All-Tournament Team.

“How hard we played,” is what McCarthy said the team would take away from the loss. “We proved we can hang with anybody. We were picked fifth in the A-10 and no one expected us to be here. It hurts, but we proved a lot.”

Qwedia Wallace came off the bench to lead TU with 18 points and five assists. Wallace hit huge back-to-back three-pointers at the end of regulation to force overtime. Jasmine Stone led the Owls with 17 rebounds.

Xavier made six of its first eight shots including two three-pointers, while Temple went 0-for-8 as the Musketeers took a 14-0 lead.

Eaddy finally got the ball rolling for the Owls with back-to-back shots from behind the arc, narrowing the margin to eight, 14-6 at 13:11. Temple came within six near the eight-minute mark, but a 7-0 Xavier run stopped the Owls from coming any closer.

The A-10 Player of the Year, Xavier's Amber Harris, scored 14 points in the first half on 6-of-9 shooting to lead all players. Harris scored the final bucket with eight seconds remaining in the half to give the Musketeers a 32-20 lead at the break.

Temple's Qwedia Wallace had seven points at halftime on 2-of-3 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 from the charity stripe.

The Owls forced eight turnovers by Xavier in the first eight minutes of the second half while the Musketeers shot just 1-of-7 from the field.

After grabbing a steal, Marli Bennett pulled Temple within three by coming down and hitting a trey, and Eaddy completed the comeback by tying the score at 33-33 with another three on TU's next possession.

Harris continued to throw daggers, scoring eight points including two three's over the next six minutes of play to put the Musketeers back up by six, but the Owls battled back to narrow the margin to two, 46-44 at 7:06.

After Xavier went back up by seven with less than four minutes remaining, the Owls proved they had no quit in them. Wallace hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions in the final two minutes to tie the score at 53-53, and it stood as neither team was able to hit a shot in the final minute of regulation.

Temple took a lead on a jumper by Bennett just over a minute into overtime, but the Owls could not get another shot to go the rest of the way. Down 57-55, TU had a final possession to tie or take the lead, but a floating jumper by Wallace just missed the mark.

Harris finished with a game-high 23 points for Xavier, while teammate Ta'Shia Phillips was unstoppable on the boards with 21 rebounds. Xavier completed its perfect A-10 run, starting with a win vs. Temple in the A-10 opener back in January and continuing through its tournament title.
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