<
>

Surging Owls notch 24th straight victory

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.