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Devils You Don't Know
Kelli Anderson
February 06, 2006
Duke basketball fans have gotten behind their women's team in typically rabid fashion
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February 06, 2006

Devils You Don't Know

Duke basketball fans have gotten behind their women's team in typically rabid fashion

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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."

Big, raucous 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 Duke."

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.

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