Duke stuns three-time defending champion Tennessee
Posted: Wednesday March 24, 1999 09:59 PM
GREENSBORO, N.C. (CNN/SI) -- It was easily the biggest upset of the NCAA Tournament.
Third-seeded Duke defeated three-time defending national champion Tennessee 69-63 Monday night to advance to the Final Four for the first time in school history.
Duke, the ACC regular season champions, held Lady Vol star Chamique Holdsclaw to just eight points -- tying her lowest point total of the seaon.
"The pressure was really on them," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said.
"It has been a long time since we've been the underdog. We were picked to win the ACC, so we kind of relished being underdog. They had everything to lose and we had respect to gain."
The Blue Devils (28-6) joined their men's team in the Final Four with the stunning victory over the top-seeded Lady Volunteers, who were held to 38 percent shooting.
Holdsclaw, the top women's player in the game, missed her first 10 shots and finished 2-for-18 from the field.
She fouled out with 25.4 seconds left to end her stellar career, receiving a standing ovation.
Coach Pat Summitt, Holdsclaw and fellow senior Kellie Jolly were in tears in the postgame interviews.
"I think it's obvious we're in a lot of pain," said Summitt, who saw her team's 21-game NCAA tournament winning streak snapped. "Our seniors are champions, three out of four is not bad."
Georgia Schweitzer matched her career high with 22 points as third-seeded Duke became the first program to place both its men's and women's basketball teams in the Final Four since Georgia did it in 1983.
"We don't want to take anything away from [the men], the spotlight is now on both of us," said Goestenkors. "It's a little larger light than it was."
Duke, which lost to Tennessee by 14 points in December, will face Georgia in the national semifinals in San Jose, Calif.
The women did it in front of male counterparts Trajan Langdon, Chris Carrawell and Shane Battier, who had driven an hour from the Duke campus to the Greensboro Coliseum to cheer the women on.
"We know, they asked for comp tickets, as if they needed to," said Goestenkors.
Semeka Randall led Tennessee (31-3) with 18 points.
Tennessee fans outnumbered the Duke contingent by thousands, but the Lady Volunteers came out uninspired and soon found themselves down by 13 in the first half.
"I thought Duke played loose, they played with great intensity and confidence, and I think we came out tight, shots didn't fall for us," said Summitt. "If you look at the stat sheet they beat us in all the categories that in order to win a regional championship you have to win."
The Lady Volunteers then made their first four shots of the second half, including the opening bucket of the period by Holdsclaw, to close to 38-34.
But Duke withstood a 5 1/2-minute span without a basket as Tennessee got as close as 46-45 with 6:52 left.
The Blue Devils were limited to three second-half baskets before Nicole Erickson, who was saddled with first-half foul trouble, made a 12-footer. She added a running banker 50 seconds later for a 55-50 lead.
Tennessee never got closer than five down the stretch as Duke sank 12 free throws over the final 1:31 to clinch it as Erickson added 17 points.
Both teams started slowly, but none slower than Holdsclaw, who was averaging 29 points in three NCAA tournament games this season. The senior forward couldn't find her range from anywhere on the floor and her superior jumping ability didn't seem to be there on this night.
Duke led 21-18 before going on a 12-2 run as Lauren Rice and Schweitzer each sank 3-pointers as the Blue Devils led 35-24 at intermission.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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