5:00 PM ET, March 7, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Candice Dupree's secrets are safe with Temple coach Dawn Staley."I know the things that would give her problems, but I'm not going to say," Staley said Monday night after Dupree led the Owls to their second straight Atlantic 10 tournament title with a 70-62 victory over George Washington. "She has a lot of weapons on the block. Her footwork is tremendous and I think that when Candace gets to the next level, she's going to play her best basketball." Dupree hit a jumper in the lane, two insurance free throws and scored 21 points to help Temple (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 15 AP) earn an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. The Owls, who improved to 27-3 with their 24th straight victory, have won three of the last four tournament titles and are the first repeat champion since Xavier in 2000-01. "Candace is a calming influence," teammate Ari Moore said. "Somehow you know she's going to get her's. ... I'd hate to play against her." After trailing by as many as 16, Jessica Simmonds scored 18 of her 22 points in the second half to help the Colonials (22-8) draw to 56-52 with 2:45 left. Temple went back to Dupree in the clutch -- after not scoring for the first 12 minutes of the second half-- and the conference player of the year hit a jumper in the lane and two free throws with 1:24 left to put the Owls back ahead by eight. The Colonials, playing in their fourth tournament final since 2000, never got closer than six the rest of the way. "You can't spot them leads, and then try to make it up. It just takes so much energy," George Washington coach Joe McKeown said. "It's not like you can just come down, turn them over and score. They just make you work so hard." Dupree scored 15 points in the first half, going 7-for-10 from the floor, helping the Owls to a 28-22 halftime lead. Ari Moore finished with 14 points and Cynthia Jordan added 11 for Temple. Anna Montanana led the Colonials with 26 points, scoring 11 of her team's first 13. George Washington made just one field goal in the opening 6:32 of the second half. Kamesha Hairston scored all 11 of her points in the second half, including seven during a 12-1 run that gave the Owls a 45-29 lead with 12:54 left. Although technically the visiting team, the loss was George Washington's first on its home court in 22 games.