No. 1 Duke rolls past Arkansas 75-54
Updated: Monday March 19, 2001 10:42 PM
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Duke's talented freshmen class won sprints, long distance runs and outworked upperclassmen in the weight room during the preseason.
That group is now leading the Blue Devils deep into the NCAA tournament.
Alana Beard had 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Duke dominated inside to beat Arkansas 75-54 Monday night to advance to the round of 16 for the fourth straight season.
"You just never know with freshmen and how they're going to come into college," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said. "This was a very unique class, that as a group, was the hardest working class we've ever had. Physically, they're strong."
Beard and her four freshmen teammates combined for 40 of Duke's points, going 18-of-33 from the field.
"They are not freshman anymore," Arkansas coach Gary Blair said. "Those freshman grow up in a hurry."
The top-seeded Blue Devils (30-3) set a school record for wins, holding the Lady Razorbacks without a basket for nearly 10 minutes en route to a game-closing 37-19 run.
"Thirty wins -- that's a lot of wins," said two-time Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year Georgia Schweitzer. "That's a great step for our program and hopefully by the time the (freshmen) graduate that will happen on a more regular basis."
Sixth-seeded Arkansas (20-13) knocked Duke out of a trip to the Final Four in 1998, but got outscored 44-14 in the paint this time in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"Their post defense was exceptional," Blair said. "That was the difference in the game. Our players were catching the ball 4 feet from the basket and we were shooting it from 8 feet."
Duke will play Southwest Missouri State, a 60-53 winner over Rutgers, in the West Regional semifinals in Spokane, Wash., on Saturday.
The women joined the Duke men's team in the NCAA round of 16. Nate James, Jason Williams, Chris Duhon and Casey Sanders watched their counterparts advance.
Amy Wright and Dana Cherry led Arkansas with 11 points each.
Duke led by seven at the break, and the Lady Razorbacks closed within three twice before the Blue Devils broke it open with a 12-0 run to go up 50-35.
Arkansas closed to 54-44, but could get no closer and managed just 10 points during the final 11 minutes.
"Our confidence was kind of busted, our momentum just wasn't there," Wright said. "We couldn't get anything going and you've got to score points to make you feel like you're doing something out there."
The Blue Devils missed 13 of their first 17 shots and fell behind by six before going on a 20-6 run near the end of the half. Rometra Craig, a freshman, scored seven points during the spurt, while Beard closed the run with a pair of short baseline jumpers from each side of the lane.
"Duke is a very good team," Blair said. "They can make a long
run because they've got a lot of players that do a lot of things
very well. That's one thing as a basketball team we're going to go
back and work on."