Temple women's basketball finally has been recognized by the NCAA selection committee.
After back-to-back seasons of falling short of the NCAA Tournament and making the NIT, the Owls on Monday were awarded a 7-seed in this year's Big Dance and are set to play 10th-seeded Oregon on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. It's Temple's first tournament bid since 2011.
Each player and head coach Tonya Cardoza either clapped or rose to their feet inside the third floor of McGonigle Hall in excitement to see their hard work rewarded.
"At this point, you're just happy to see your name come across the screen," Cardoza said. "The last time I sat in on one of these, we didn't see our name.
"Everybody's trying to bring their A-game, and trying to upset people if you have to, but right now, you're just happy to be a part of the field of 64."
Cardoza added that she doesn't know much about Oregon. Temple (24-7) didn't face any opponents in the Pac-12 this season.
The Owls will travel south to Durham, North Carolina, for the first and potentially second round of the tournament. With a win over Oregon (20-13), Temple would play the winner of 2-seed Duke vs. 15-seed Hampton in the second round.
But senior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald isn't worried about the others teams in the Owls' Bridgeport Region just yet.
"We're just going to take it one game at a time," she said.
For Fitzgerald and the rest of the senior class, a bid to the NCAA Tournament has been a long time coming.
As a freshman, Fitzgerald was part of an Owls team that went 14-16 -- the worst record under Cardoza.
Temple put up 20-plus wins during her sophomore and junior seasons but fell short of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament each year. It finished in the Final Four of the NIT in the 2014-15 season and the quarterfinals in the 2015-16 season.
"We were always good enough to make it into the NCAA Tournament, but there were always things that stopped us because of something we did," Fitzgerald said. "So this year, we just made sure we did what we had to do, so we wouldn't have to be in the same position."
Last season, the Owls lost four games by three points or fewer. This year, they had a similar problem and lost four games by six points or fewer, but they were much more dominant throughout the season.
"Let's go dancing," Fitzgerald said.