Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman sounded as stunned as anyone when she let the realization dawn that a season that began 0-5 was going to culminate with the school's second berth in the NCAA tournament.
''I'm just so excited, a chill went through my body when I said we're going to the tournament,'' said the second-year coach after Tulsa defeated Central Florida 75-66 in the championship game of the Conference USA tournament Saturday. ''We've been talking about it, but now it's real.''
It's real because tournament MVP Taleya Mayberry willed the Golden Hurricane to victory, scoring 55 points in the final two games. On Saturday, she had 25 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the championship game.
''The difference is we have Taleya Mayberry,'' Mossman said. ''When you have a senior who wants the ball as badly as she did, who wants to take shots as badly as she did, you're going to win.''
In addition to earning their second berth in the NCAA tournament (the other came in 2006), the...