Women's Basketball Drops Heartbreaker To Temple In Overtime, 67-61
March 3, 2002
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Temple University made some key free throws in overtime as it downed the University of Massachusetts in the semifinal of the Verizon Atlantic 10 Championship, tonight at the Liacouras Center. The Minutewomen finish the 2002 campaign with a 12-18 record.
Down by two points with 2:41 remaining, junior forward Nekole Smith (Ann Arbor, Mich.) hit a clutch basket as the shot clock was expiring to tie the game at 52. Temple converted on two out of its final four free throws to give the Minutewomen a chance for the win or tie at the end of regulation. With seven seconds showing on the clock freshman guard Monique Govan (Chicago, Ill.) drove the length of the floor and hit a layup as time expired, sending the Minutewomen to their seventh overtime game this season, a school record.
The Owls scored the first two baskets of the extra frame to build a four-point lead, but freshman guard Katie Nelson (Ellicott City, Md.) drained a three-pointer bringing the Minutewomen within a point at the 2:45 mark. The next possession proved to be a big one as Temple was able to get the fifth foul on junior center Jennifer Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y.). The Owls converted on both free throws and held a three-point lead.
After two Nelson free throws and one by Temple on the ensuing possession, the Owls held a slim two-point advantage with just over a minute remaining. Junior guard Amber Sneed (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored a basket to tie the game, but it was the last point for the Minutewomen. Up but two points with 19 seconds remaining, Temple's Stacey Smalls missed the back end of her two free throws, but the Minutewomen could not come up with the rebound. Temple went on to make the next two and secure their spot in the championship game.
The Minutewomen trailed by 11 points at the 11:42 mark of the second half, but used a 16-4 run to get back in the game. Butler's free throw at the 10:09 mark was the 1,000th point of her career. She becomes just the 11th Minutewoman to reach this milestone and the first since Kathy Coyner. Junior Ebony Pegues (Columbus, Ohio) drained a three-pointer at the 5:58 mark from the top of the key tieing the game at 46 apiece. After two Temple free throws, Nelson made a shot and got fouled. Her free throw gave Massachusetts its first lead since the 1:49 mark of the first half.
The Minutewomen were plagued by free throw shooting as they shot just 59 percent. Temple shot 71 percent for the game. UMass committed 25 turnovers, while the Owls turned the ball over just 13 times.
Down 5-0 in the first half, the Minutewomen went on a 12-2 run to take a 12-7 lead. The two teams exchanged baskets for the next few minutes, but UMass could not get a lead bigger than five points. Temple clawed back to take the lead, but UMass kept it close and trailed 29-27 at the break.
Nelson led the Minutewomen with 15 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Smith poured in 11 points and grabbed five boards. Pegues chipped in with 10 points, while dishing out five assists. Natalia Isaac and Stacey Smalls led all scorers for Temple with 17 points apiece.
This was just the third time that Butler failed to reach double-figures in either points or rebounds and first since Dec. 12 at Vermont.
The Owls will meet St. Joseph's in the A-10 championship game tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.