6:00 PM ET, January 24, 2004
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Tennessee walked into one of college basketball's most hostile environments and came out as the top team in the women's game again.Coach Pat Summitt won in her first trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium, leading the second-ranked Lady Vols past No. 1 Duke 72-69 Saturday in front of a screaming, sellout crowd.Shyra Ely and Shanna Zolman each scored 15 points for Tennessee (16-1) in its ninth straight win.The victory was sure to put the Lady Vols back atop the upcoming Associated Press poll for the first time since the week of Feb. 25, 2001."Coming into Cameron Indoor Stadium, we were all looking forward to it," Zolman said. "That compounded on playing an excellent Duke team, it forced us to have to focus that much more, to have to communicate by using more than just our voices because of the level of noise."Ely said the 9,314 fans probably made for the loudest crowd the Lady Vols have heard.Alana Beard and Monique Currie both scored 18 for the Blue Devils (15-2), who had won 15 in a row."I just thought they did what was necessary to come away with a win on the road," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said.Tennessee had not fared well in these No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups, losing five straight as the second-ranked team.The Lady Vols, who defeated Duke in last season's Final Four, have won six national championships under Summitt, with the last coming in 1998. Since then, Connecticut has won three titles and been the talk of the women's game.After watching her team shoot 26 percent in the first half, Summitt told her players to take the ball right at Duke.Loree Moore scored 11 points for the Lady Vols, who shot 58 percent in the second half."We talked at halftime that we had to be much more aggressive offensively and get the ball inside ... either by getting it to the post players or taking it off the dribble," Summitt said. "I thought we managed to do both."The teams combined to shoot 29 percent in the first half, with Duke taking a 26-22 lead, but Tennessee found room to operate after the break.Trailing 45-44, the Lady Vols went ahead to stay with a 7-2 run. Ely had four points in the spurt, ending with her inside basket off a feed from Zolman for a 51-47 lead with 7:02 to play. They pushed the lead to 60-51 on a 3-pointer from Moore with 4:06 left, but Duke rallied.The Blue Devils clawed to 68-66 on a spinning layup from Beard with 23.9 seconds left. Zolman and Brittany Jackson then combined to go 4-for-4 at the line in the final 13.5 seconds to seal it.Tennessee didn't shoot a free throw in the first half, but went 18-for-24 from the line in the second half. Zolman, who came in shooting 93 percent, went 8-for-8 at the line."It was really a hard-nosed game and it was a battle," Goestenkors said. "I thought they played a very smart basketball game and hit their free throws when they needed to."Before the game, Duke retired Beard's jersey, making the All-American the first woman in school history to receive the honor. But Beard had to battle all day against a Lady Vols defense that held Duke to 36 percent shooting.While Tennessee played tough defense throughout, Duke didn't help itself by missing several open shots in the second half."Anytime you come out of a game with a loss, it's always going to be a bitter loss," Beard said. "It's early in the season, but we wanted to win. We should've won, but we didn't do the things necessary to win."This was the 38th time that the top two ranked teams in the women's poll have met, and Tennessee has been involved in 21 of those games, going 10-11.Duke fell to 1-2 in matchups between the top-ranked teams. Its only win came in a 76-55 victory against Tennessee in Raleigh last season.Last season, Duke was No. 1 in the nation when it lost at home to second-ranked Connecticut 77-65 in front of the first sellout crowd in program history.One year later, the Blue Devils again failed to protect the No. 1 ranking, as the Lady Vols turned away a program emerging as one of the superpowers of women's college basketball.
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