Scarlet Knights advance to sixth round of 16

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- Temple senior Ari Moore sobbed as she buried her face in a towel.

Her fifth foul landed her on the bench with under four minutes to play and she could do little but watch as her season and the nation's longest winning streak came to an end.

Cappie Pondexter had 25 points and five steals Tuesday night to lead third-seeded Rutgers into the round of 16 with a 61-54 win over the Owls, snapping Temple's streak of 25 straight wins.

"I knew it was the end. I didn't want to go out like this. But I'm not going to let just this one loss define the season," Moore said.

The Owls' winning streak included a 71-60 win over Rutgers on Dec. 13, but that game didn't include Pondexter. The senior guard missed the early part of the season for undisclosed reasons. The Owls saw plenty of her this time.

"I don't think anybody in the country wonders who Cappie Pondexter is now," Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said.

Pondexter was coming off a 22-point effort in Rutgers' first-round victory over Hartford. It was more of the same against Temple.

"I had it in me all along," Pondexter said. "It's tournament time. I wasn't ready to go home."

Pondexter was 7-of-14 from the field and hit all three of her 3-point attempts. She also had five of Rutgers' 13 steals.

Chelsea Newton added 11 points for Rutgers (27-6), which advanced to the round of 16 for the sixth time. The Scarlet Knights will face Ohio State on Sunday in the Philadelphia Regional semifinals at the Liacouras Center, Temple's home court.

The Owls had hoped to return with the streak still intact, but Pondexter and the Scarlet Knights derailed those plans.

"I think our kids can hold their heads up proudly when they walk through our arena with other teams playing," Temple coach Dawn Staley said. "We don't have anything to be afraid of. I know that although we lost a game we gained some respect from the nation, from Rutgers, from anybody that tuned in."

Rutgers led by as many as 14 at the break, but the Owls (27-6) cut the lead to six at 58-52 with 1:24 left on Cynthia Jordan's 3-pointer and Candice Dupree's layup.

Jordan led Temple with 15 points and Moore had 13 before fouling out in the closing minutes.

Stringer, who helped coach Staley on the U.S. Olympic team last summer, had high praise for the program Staley has built.

"They never gave up. That's a real tribute to Dawn Staley," Stringer said. "They should be respected."