9:00 PM ET, March 18, 2007
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Temple found a way to hang around the NCAA Tournament a little longer.Lady Comfort scored the go-ahead basket in the final two minutes and Fatima Maddox hit four clinching free throws to help the Owls rally past Nebraska 64-61 on Sunday night, earning a first-round victory for the second time in three seasons.Maddox scored 18 points for the eighth-seeded Owls (25-7), who advanced to play top-seeded Duke in the Greensboro Regional on Tuesday. Comfort added 15 points, while Kamesha Hairston shook off a bad first half and finished with 12.It was Temple's second NCAA victory in five appearances under coach Dawn Staley. The Owls certainly had to earn this year's trip to the second round by rallying from a four-point deficit in the final 2 1/2 minutes against the ninth-seeded Cornhuskers (22-10), who led almost the entire second half."For us we just try to make stops when we need them and try to get scores when we needed them," Staley said. "We were really resilient. There were a lot of things that didn't go our way. But at the same time, I felt we just kept our composure. We took the hits that we were given to us and we just kept moving."On this night, that meant weathering a 23-point performance from Nebraska's Kiera Hardy -- including stopping her from knocking down a tying 3-pointer on the final play.After Chelsea Aubry's stickback gave Nebraska a 59-55 lead with 2:46 left, the Owls answered with Ashley Morris' double-pump layup and a foul on the next possession that cut the deficit to one. Then, after a missed 3-pointer from Ashley Ford, Comfort scored inside after an offensive rebound by Shenita Landry for the 60-59 lead with 1:40 to play.Maddox pushed the lead to 62-59 on two free throws with 56.8 seconds left. Then, after a layup from Kelsey Griffin with the shot clock winding down, Maddox drained two more to push the margin back to three with 20 seconds left.Nebraska had a last chance to tie it, but Hardy's desperation heave under pressure was nowhere near the mark and came after the horn sounded -- sending Temple's players spilling onto the court in celebration."It's a really huge win for the program," said Hairston, who shot just 1-for-8 in the first half. "Every other year we've lost in the first round. No one thought coming into this year we'd have the success we've been having."It was a frustrating end to the season for the Cornhuskers, who were making their first NCAA appearance in seven years. Nebraska coach Connie Yori had led the program to the WNIT in each of the past three seasons, but the Cornhuskers couldn't quite put away the Owls down the stretch.Nebraska closed the season with six losses in seven games, though four came by a combined 10 points."We had our chances as we have in a lot of games here recently," Yori said. "We let that one get away."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||21-53 (.396)||24-59 (.407)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-17 (.294)||0-1 (.000)|
|FT Made-Attempted||14-18 (.778)||16-23 (.696)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||19 (0/0)||18 (0/0)|