THE GAME at
Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday wasn't just any showdown between hated
rivals, it was the battle of the last two unbeaten teams in college basketball,
the No. 2 Duke and No. 3 North Carolina women's teams. All 9,314 seats were
filled, and the Cameron Crazies were in full throat, jumping up and down and
mangling the name of Tar Heels junior point guard Ivory Latta as they chanted
"Lotta Nothing." They also passed around flyers with pictures of former
UNC star Rashad McCants and his little sister, Rashanda, who is a freshman for
the Tar Heels. "She looks exactly like him with a wig on," says Duke
sophomore Steve Lubin, who lined up at the door seven hours before tipoff.
"We tried to exploit that."
student sections are still a rarity in women's basketball, but just as they do
in the men's game, the Dukies set the standard--at least at the major
showdowns. Last week against then No. 1 Tennessee they rattled the Lady Vols in
a 75-53 Duke rout. On Sunday night the noise level was the same, the results
different. For the fourth straight meeting, the Tar Heels beat Duke with their
exhausting athleticism, their pressing, trapping, switching defenses and their
devastating transition game. Down by 13 at halftime, the Heels got hot on the
offensive end in the second half, scoring on 14 of their last 16 possessions
while simultaneously turning up the defensive pressure to beat Duke 74-70.
"Our defensive intensity in the second half was the difference," said
Tar Heels forward Erlana Larkins, whose game-high 23 points included her second
and third treys of the year. "As always, it feels really good to beat
The Tar Heels are
now No. 1 for the first time in history. But you wouldn't know it back on their
campus, where the women's game is not so passionately followed. A win over Duke
in men's basketball would result in revelers flooding onto Franklin Street in
Chapel Hill to throw toilet paper into the trees. When the Tar Heels women
drove back to campus on Sunday night, however, Franklin Street was quiet. Coach
Sylvia Hatchell asked the bus driver to stop. She and a few players got out,
rolls of TP in hand, and papered the trees themselves.