SMS star leads upset of top-seeded Duke
Updated: Sunday March 25, 2001 9:03 AM
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Oh, Jackie!
Jackie Stiles, the Pistol Pete Maravich of women's college basketball, scored 41 points, 25 in the second half, as Southwest Missouri State stunned top-seeded Duke 81-71 in the West Regional semifinals Saturday night.
The fifth-seeded Lady Bears (28-5), in a regional final for the first time since their Final Four appearance eight years ago, will play the winner of the Washington-Oklahoma game in the regional final Monday night.
Stiles, a 5-foot-8 guard who this year set the record for most career points in NCAA women's basketball and averaged 30.2 this season, made 15 of 22 field goals with a dazzling repertoire of soft jumpers, spin moves and fearless drives.
"I'm just trying to get the most out of my God-given talents and abilities every day," she said. "I don't want to look back on my career and say 'What if?' I just want to go for it with everything I have."
Blue Devils head coach Gail Goestenkors tried everything she could think of to try to keep the ball out of Stiles' hands, to no avail.
"She's relentless," Goestenkors said. "She's playing at a superior level the entire game. She's in constant motion. ... She's got the most desire to score than anybody I've ever seen, not just to score but to help her team win."
Alana Beard scored 27 for Duke (30-4) but was saddled by foul trouble and fouled out with 59 seconds to go. Iciss Tillis scored 14 and Georgia Schweitzer 10 for the Blue Devils.
Duke was the second No. 1 seed to fall Saturday. Top-ranked Tennessee was knocked off by Xavier in the Mideast Regional semifinals.
"This is March Madness, and we don't want to get beat out," Tara Mitchem of Southwest Missouri State said. "We were sitting in the hotel today watching Tennessee. We thought it was a day of upsets."
Mitchem scored 17 for the Lady Bears, including a 3-pointer to start the second half.
Otherwise, it was the Stiles show.
With the capacity Spokane Arena crowd cheering her on, she scored 16 as Southwest Missouri State outscored Duke 22-10 during the final 8:11.
"We always smile at Southwest Missouri State when we hear people say, 'Well, she just plays in the Missouri Valley Conference,'" head coach Cheryl Burnette said. "We know Jackie Stiles has played like this against the best in the country, and this is another great example of it."
Duke had dreams of a dual national championship with it's men's team.
"This is very difficult to take," Schweitzer said. "It seemed like nothing would go our way."
Goestenkors said her team had nothing to feel sorry about.
"I told them there was no reason to hang their heads," the Duke coach said. "We lost to a great team that was at the top of its game."
Down by as many as 12 points in the first half and trailing 42-36 at the break, the Lady Bears went on a 12-2 run to start the second half.
Stiles' three-point play gave Southwest Missouri State a 46-44 lead with 15:27 to play. Duke starting forward Rochelle Parent drew her fourth foul on the play. Stiles' soft 14-footer capped the run to put the Bears up 48-46.
There were nine lead changes before Stiles gave Southwest Missouri State the lead for good, 66-65, with a 10-footer with 5:47 to play.
Carly Deer sank a 3-pointer and Stiles a 14-footer while the Blue Devils committed three consecutive turnovers in a 7-0 spurt that put the Lady Bears up 71-65 4:31 from the finish.
Duke led throughout the first half after Beard's 3-pointer put the Blue Devils up 12-11, but Stiles kept the Lady Bears close.
Stiles got her second foul with 14:37 to play in the first half and went to the bench. But she came back two minutes later and played the rest of the game with just one more foul.
Beard, who settled down after turnovers on Duke's first two possessions, scored six in a 15-5 run that gave the Blue Devils a 32-20 lead on a 3-pointer by Tillis with 8:05 to go in the half.
But Duke went cold and Stiles kept up the pressure.