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"Purdue played physical, pressure defense," said Wojciechowski. "We wanted to show our team what happens when you do that." What happened in Indianapolis was an unexpected blowout. Duke stretched an eight-point halftime lead to 14 midway through the second half and never allowed the Big East champions to make a run. And when the game was nearly finished, Krzyzewski emptied his bench and brought his regulars to the sideline. They hugged and raised fists to the sky and then sat on the Duke bench, full of joy and celebration.
Only then did Krzyzewski turn to his players and admonish them, and for a moment it was 1991 again. It was then, after the stunning victory over UNLV, that Krzyzewski had walked onto the floor, scowling, pushing his palms toward the floor to quell the celebration. "It was a similar thought," said Krzyzewski later. "You can't think about what you just did, even though you just did it. Because there's one more game." And sometimes there is a little value in history, after all.
Forty-eight hours later the Duke players climbed atop the ceremonial platform on the floor of the stadium, wearing gray championship T-shirts and blue hats. Confetti lay strewn around them. It is a place that Blue Devils have stood before, but this team is richer for its struggles and the drama of the season's final weekend.
If this were a movie, Hayward's shot falls. "Good thing this isn't a movie," said Scheyer. One team's fairy tale ends. Another's mission is fulfilled.
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The women's NCAA championship game between Stanford and Connecticut was played after this issue went to press. Find complete postgame analysis from San Antonio and predictions for next season by Richard Deitsch and Ann Killion at SI.com