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Towering

Duke relies on height advantage to defeat St. Joseph's

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Posted: Monday March 15, 1999 11:51 PM

  Nicole Erickson's 14 points helped Duke keep Jennifer Greenwell and St. Joseph's winless in second-round NCAA games. AP

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- The second half of Duke's 66-60 win over St. Joseph's in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Monday night seemed to take forever for Blue Devils coach Gail Goestenkors.

Duke played much of the half with a significant height advantage, but Goestenkors watched St. Joseph's trim a 14-point deficit to five with the help of a full-court pressure defense.

Duke hung on despite scoring just one field goal in the final 8:17.

"They are one of those teams that makes you play ugly, and that's the type of game it was -- very ugly," Goestenkors said.

Michele VanGorp scored 20 points and Peppi Browne added 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists as Duke advanced to the round of 16 for the second straight season.

"We're happy we're moving on, but I expected us to be playing next weekend," said VanGorp. "There was no reason we should've lost. I'm not surprised we're moving on, but now we have to really buckle down because the next two rounds aren't going to be easy at all."

Nicole Erickson added 14 points for Duke (26-6), the third seed in the East Regional. The Blue Devils will play second-seeded Old Dominion (28-3) in the regional semifinals in Greensboro on Saturday.

Susan Moran scored 16 and Angela Zampella added 15 for the Hawks (23-8), who had a 12-game winning streak snapped and fell to 0-5 in second-round NCAA tournament games.

St. Joseph's trimmed a double-digit first-half deficit to two points by halftime.

But Jana Lichnerova, St. Joseph's tallest player at 6-foot-4, picked up four fouls in the first 4:19 of the second half and left the game. The Hawks' lineup had no one taller than the 6-1 Moran at that point, and the 6-6 VanGorp led a 13-3 Duke run with six points over the next three minutes.

"Once she finally got that fourth foul and had to sit down, that took away all the height they had," said VanGorp. "They were shorter to begin with and you take away her and it's like playing all guards."

Lichnerova returned with 8:33 left, but the Hawks didn't threaten again until they went to a full-court pressure defense in the final three minutes.

"This game not only showed what we're capable of doing, taking Duke to the limit on its home court, but it set the tone for us for the program," said St. Joseph's coach Stephanie Gaitley. "There's a sense of confidence right now that's going to carry us for the future."

Duke dashed out to a 10-2 lead in the opening 51/2 minutes as the Hawks missed seven of their first eight shots.

Duke's lead swelled to 13, but as they did in an 83-72 win over Tulane on Saturday, the Hawks climbed back into the game in the final minutes of the first half.

St. Joseph's outscored Duke 16-6 after Browne's driving left-hander gave Duke a 23-11 lead with 6:28 remaining.

Melissa Coursey hit two 3-pointers and scored on a drive during the spurt, and Moran, who missed her first five shots, added two lay-ups.

Duke shot 46 percent (12-of-26) in the first half but committed nine turnovers that led to 10 St. Joseph's points.

 
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