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Temple women fall to West Virginia in WNIT semifinals

Owls can't hold on to halftime lead, and lose to the Mountaineers in overtime.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia toppled the Temple women's basketball team last night, 66-58, in overtime, to end the Owls' run in the women's NIT.

The Mountaineers got 22 points from Bria Holmes and 20 from Averee Fields to reach the final, where they will host UCLA, a 69-65 winner over Michigan.

Lanay Montgomery finished with a game-high 24 rebounds, just two shy of tying the WNIT single-game record for West Virginia. Montgomery also managed eight blocks.

Tyonna Williams led the Owls with 15 points and Tanaya Atkinson had with 10. Temple hit nine three-pointers on the night and held West Virginia to only one.

"I'm proud of my team, I'm proud of the way they fought tonight in a hostile environment," Owls coach Tonya Cardoza said. "We have some young [players] and we let the game slip away, but I know this whole experience will help this program in the future."

Both teams struggled at times from the field, with WVU finishing 22-for-64 and Temple hitting only 21 of 71.

Temple (20-17) led by 31-26 at halftime, and increased its lead to 38-30 with 15:36 remaining. However, West Virginia went on a 6-0 run triggered by a Holmes jumper and free throws from Bre McDonald and Fields.

The Owls took a 51-50 lead with 1:45 to play, before another Williams bucket pushed it to 53-50 with 1:26 remaining. West Virginia, however, hit a free throw to make it 53-51, and forced a Temple turnover with 26 seconds on the clock. The Mountaineers (23-14) then tied it up with a pair of Holmes free throws with 12 seconds to play.

Temple had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but a pair of contested attempts under the basket missed the mark.

In overtime, the Mountaineers took the early lead and pushed it to 62-55 before a three from Williams brought it to 62-58 with 33 seconds to play. West Virginia made both sets of free throws in the final 30 seconds, while the Owls missed their last-ditch attempts, giving the Mountaineers the win.