RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- After getting off to a slow start and letting a 13-point second-half lead slip away, Duke kept alive its championship hopes.
Alana Beard scored 14 of her 24 points in the first half and Monique Currie added 15 as top-seeded Duke advanced to its second Final Four with a 77-68 victory over No. 3 South Carolina in the East Region finals.
The Blue Devils also reached the Final Four in 1999. They will play Colorado on Friday in San Antonio, Texas.
After breezing through the first three rounds, Duke survive its matchup with South Carolina.
The Lady Gamecocks looked like they were ripe for an upset after scoring the game's first eight points, but the Blue Devils responded with seven in a row. South Carolina had a 16-13 lead before Duke (31-3) scored 14 consecutive points.
Sheana Mosch scored six of her seven points during the burst and capped it with a layup for a 27-16 lead with 4:21 left in the first half.
The Blue Devils had a 37-24 cushion just 93 seconds into the second half, but the Lady Gamecocks scored 18 of the next 24 points. Jocelyn Penn scored half of her 14 during the run and forged a 42-42 tie with a layup at 12:37.
South Carolina (25-7) had its only lead of the second half, 46-45 on Penn's layup with 9:57 remaining. But Beard converted a three-point play to put the Blue Devils ahead for good 32 seconds later.
Shaunzinski Gortman nailed a 3-pointer to bring the Lady Gamecocks within 59-57 with 5:11 left, but Krista Gingrich answered from beyond the arc to spark a 9-2 clinching spurt.
Michele Matyasovsky scored 12 points and Gingrich finished with 10 as Duke extended its school-record winning streak to 22 games and set another mark with its 31st victory.
Beard collected seven rebounds, five assists and five steals and was named the region's Most Outstanding Player.
Gortman scored 17 points and Penn had 14 and nine rebounds for the Lady Gamecocks, who shot 44 percent (30-of-68) and went to the line just six times.
Kelly Morrone added 11 points and Teresa Geter and Cristina Ciocan chipped in 10 apiece for South Carolina.