Saturday, January 7, 2012

Temple stuns Richmond on last-second shot

Temple 56, Richmond 55: The Owls snatched victory from near-certain defeat at the Robins Center, rallying from a 55-47 deficit over the final 3:50 and nailing the game-winner on a Kristen McCarthy baseline jumper with two-tenths of a second remaining to spoil Richmond coach Michael Shafer's birthday and notch their seventh straight victory in the series. McCarthy's shot brought a heartbreaking end to a game the Spiders controlled throughout, as the home team led by as many as 14 points in the second half and by 12 in the second. They then fought off a couple of Temple runs to forge the ill-fated 8-point advantage heading into the final media timeout. From there, however, the Owls showed why they were picked co-No. 1 in the A-10. Not only did Temple get clutch shots from McCarthy and Shay Peddy, but they also excelled defensively down the stretch. Richmond star Abby Oliver finished with a game-high 21 points, but she did not attempt a shot over the final 3:22. Now the Spiders know full well to get the ball in Oliver's hands at money time, so credit the Owls for denying Richmond's best player the ball in those crucial final possessions. The Spiders (12-3, 0-1 Atlantic 10) also made just 11 of 17 free throws (64.7 percent), an off night for a team that has led the nation in free throw shooting much of the year. But this wasn't about what Richmond didn't do but about what the talented and experiened Owls (7-7, 1-0) were able to make happen with the game on the line. And while this was certainly a stinging loss, the Spiders still served notice they're capable of being serious factors in the A-10 title race - not next season, when the young players grow up - but right now.

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