Work in Sports
Duke beats UNC, claims ACC's automatic bid
Posted: Tuesday March 07, 2000 12:38 AM
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Same floor. Different event. Same result for Duke's Blue Devils.
Lauren Rice and Georgia Schweitzer scored 16 points apiece and No. 11 Duke won its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship by surviving a late North Carolina rally for a 79-76 victory Monday night.
The victory came at the Greensboro Coliseum, the building where Duke won the NCAA East Region championship last year, sending the Blue Devils to their first-ever berth in the Final Four.
"I love this place," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said after the Blue Devils' latest victory improved them to 5-0 in the Coliseum. "It's great to cut down the nets here again."
The title is especially rewarding for Duke's veteran players, who have endured plenty of frustration at the ACC tournament. The Blue Devils have been seeded either first or second in the each of the last three ACC tournaments.
"This is a good win for our program. This gets us over the hump since we haven't won this tournament," said Rice, a senior forward. "This is something that we have had a goal to win for our four years, and it's kind of special."
Five players scored in double figures to help Duke (26-5) defeat North Carolina for the first time in five tries in the ACC tournament.
The second-seeded Blue Devils needed the balance and production on a night when North Carolina (18-12) rallied from nine points down in the final seven minutes, only to come up short in its bid for its sixth ACC crown.
"We gave it all we had. I think we just got a little fatigued since this was the third game we've had to play in a row," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "But I think it shows what type of team we have that we came in as the fifth seed and made it this far."
The Tar Heels' Nikki Teasley had 31 points, including 7-for-11 showing from three-point range. But she also figured prominently in several plays that hurt North Carolina, including a five-point play in the first half that put Duke ahead for most of the game.
Teasley's final 3-pointer, a 23-footer from the left wing, made it 72-71 with 1:52 left, North Carolina's first lead since 2-0.
Schweitzer's layup with 71 seconds put Duke back on top and after a missed 3-pointer by Teasley sailed out of bounds, Missy West sank a foul shot that made Duke's lead 74-72 at the 39-second mark.
After Teasley missed another 3-pointer, the Tar Heels were called for a loose ball foul in the scramble for the rebound. Duke sealed it by making three of four free throws in the closing seconds and getting a fast-break layup from Michele Matyasovsky.
West added 14 points for Duke, Krista Gingrich had 11 and Sheana Mosch 10.
North Carolina also got 15 points from Juana Brown, 14 from Jackie Higgins and 12 from LaQuanda Barksdale.
The rare five-point play started when Gingrich broke a 25-all tie with a 3-pointer. Teasley, trying to get through a pick to try to block the shot, slapped Duke's Rochelle Parent and was called for a foul. Parent made both free throws.
The Blue Devils pushed their lead to eight points twice in the second half, the last time at 59-51 on a 3-pointer by Rice before Teasley led the rally.
The Tar Heels cut it to 59-55 when Teasley banked in a jumper in the lane, but she was called for a blocking foul on Schweitzer's driving layup on the other end.
Schweitzer made the free throw, and West hit a short jumper on Duke's next possession to make it 64-55 with 7:01 remaining.